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RICK WAKEMAN

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Rick Wakeman biography
Richard Christopher Wakeman - Born May 18, 1949 (Perivale, Middlesex, UK)

Rick WAKEMAN is one of the best known progressive musicians and a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards in rock music. He's also been extremely prolific: in addition to his work as a member of The STRAWBS * (folk-rock band), YES * (post-psychedelic hard rock band), and YES offshoot ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE*, he has a huge number of session credits, including work with David Bowie, Elton John, BLACK SABBATH, Al Stewart, and Lou Reed. And he's released more solo albums than anyone this side of FRANK ZAPPA. The list below includes 100 titles, including a best-of anthology, a CD EP, and six albums Rick did in collaboration with his son Adam (WwW)*. He also remained associated with YES into the '90s.


YES*: - Fragile, 1972 (expanded and remastered, 2003) / Close to the Edge, 1972 / Yessongs, 1973 / Tales from Topographic Oceans, 1973 / Yesterdays, 1974 / Going for the One, 1977 / Tormato, 1978 / Yesshows, 1980 / Classic Yes, 1981 / Union, 1991 / YesYears, 1991 / Yesstory, 1992 / Highlights - The Very Best of Yes, 1993 / Keys to Ascension, 1996 / Keys to Ascension 2, 1997 / Keys to Ascension Volume 1 & 2, 1997 / Keystudio, 2001 / In a Word: Yes (1969 - ...), 2002
(ABWH)* Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe: - (ABWH) Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, 1989 / (ABWH) An Evening of Yes Music Plus, 1993
The STRAWBS*: - Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios, 1970 / From the Witchwood, 1971 / 30 Years in Rock, 2001 / Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird, 2002
(WwW)* Wakeman with Wakeman: - Wakeman with Wakeman, 1993 / No Expense Shared, 1993 / Wakeman with Wakeman Live, The Official Bootleg, 1994 / Romance of the Victorian Age, 1994 / Tapestries, 1995 / Vignettes, 1996 / Yes, Friends and Relatives, 1998

"THE BEST" & "THE NEXT BEST" (12 CDs):
Reaction to WAKEMAN's music is mixed: his catalog represents the best and worst aspects of progressive rock, but there's no denying that more than a few gems exist in his massive catalog. And, of course, everything is just in y humble opinion - yours may differ.

"THE BEST" : His earliest recordings are generally regarded his best, both commercially and artistically.
1- The Six Wives of Henry VIII - 1973
During the making of "Clo...
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RICK WAKEMAN discography


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RICK WAKEMAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 870 ratings
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
1973
3.61 | 527 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
1975
2.57 | 139 ratings
Lisztomania (OST)
1975
3.74 | 264 ratings
No Earthly Connection
1976
3.27 | 155 ratings
White Rock
1977
3.79 | 276 ratings
Criminal Record
1977
2.53 | 138 ratings
Rhapsodies
1979
3.37 | 152 ratings
1984
1981
2.58 | 42 ratings
The Burning (OST)
1981
1.46 | 49 ratings
Rock N' Roll Prophet
1982
2.59 | 47 ratings
G'Olé ! (OST)
1983
2.58 | 53 ratings
Cost Of Living
1983
2.55 | 33 ratings
Crimes Of Passion (OST)
1984
2.88 | 28 ratings
Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond the Planets
1984
2.35 | 43 ratings
Silent Nights
1985
3.24 | 45 ratings
Country Airs - Piano Solos
1986
3.19 | 30 ratings
The Gospels
1987
1.77 | 24 ratings
The Family Album
1987
3.37 | 49 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Ramon Remedios: A Suite Of Gods
1988
2.18 | 37 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Tony Fernandez: Zodiaque
1988
2.58 | 42 ratings
Time Machine
1988
3.47 | 30 ratings
Sea Airs
1989
2.68 | 38 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV
1989
3.11 | 29 ratings
Night Airs
1990
2.13 | 21 ratings
In The Beginning
1990
2.54 | 22 ratings
Phantom Power (OST)
1990
2.57 | 25 ratings
Aspirant Sunrise
1990
2.61 | 26 ratings
African Bach
1990
2.50 | 8 ratings
A World Of Wisdom
1991
2.00 | 31 ratings
Aspirant Sunset
1991
3.29 | 24 ratings
Aspirant Sunshadows
1991
3.25 | 35 ratings
Softsword
1991
2.41 | 36 ratings
2000 A.D. Into The Future
1991
3.06 | 21 ratings
The Classical Connection 2
1991
3.46 | 24 ratings
The Classical Connection
1991
3.45 | 29 ratings
Country Airs (1992)
1992
2.87 | 37 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.75 | 18 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.74 | 25 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: No Expense Spared
1993
2.93 | 23 ratings
Heritage Suite
1993
3.69 | 20 ratings
Prayers
1993
3.56 | 25 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: Romance Of The Victorian Age
1994
3.11 | 27 ratings
Cirque Surreal
1995
3.23 | 37 ratings
The Seven Wonders Of The World
1995
2.20 | 16 ratings
Visions [Aka: Visions Of Paradise]
1995
2.99 | 26 ratings
Fields Of Green
1996
1.27 | 13 ratings
The Word And Music
1996
2.59 | 13 ratings
Orisons
1996
3.48 | 22 ratings
Can You Hear Me ?
1996
3.06 | 21 ratings
The New Gospels
1996
2.47 | 15 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Vignettes
1996
3.18 | 17 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Tapestries
1996
2.94 | 17 ratings
The Natural World Trilogy
1997
2.69 | 29 ratings
Tribute To The Beatles
1997
3.35 | 20 ratings
Themes
1998
3.54 | 166 ratings
Return To The Centre Of The Earth
1999
3.65 | 34 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Stella Bianca Alla Corte Di Re Ferdinando
1999
2.79 | 15 ratings
Art in Music Trilogy
1999
2.36 | 28 ratings
White Rock II
1999
3.77 | 25 ratings
Preludes To A Century
2000
3.35 | 17 ratings
Chronicles Of Man
2000
3.30 | 19 ratings
Christmas Variations
2000
2.96 | 16 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2000
3.21 | 15 ratings
Classical Variations
2001
3.62 | 52 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes
2001
3.25 | 17 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lisztomania
2002
3.59 | 34 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes, Volume II
2002
2.63 | 22 ratings
Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird
2002
3.66 | 20 ratings
The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams
2002
3.83 | 119 ratings
Out There
2003
3.09 | 59 ratings
Retro
2006
3.33 | 35 ratings
Retro 2
2007
2.96 | 24 ratings
Always With You
2010
3.77 | 111 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2012
3.85 | 55 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
2016
1.80 | 5 ratings
The Rainbow Suite
2016
3.25 | 11 ratings
The Phantom Of The Opera (OST)
2017
3.42 | 31 ratings
Piano Portraits
2017
3.54 | 13 ratings
Piano Odyssey
2018
3.81 | 196 ratings
The Red Planet
2020

RICK WAKEMAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 388 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
1974
4.09 | 23 ratings
"The King Arthur" Concert
1976
3.63 | 33 ratings
Live at Hammersmith
1985
2.67 | 12 ratings
Unleashing the Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour
1994
3.00 | 12 ratings
Live on the Test (1976)
1994
3.14 | 10 ratings
Wakeman with Wakeman Live
1994
3.95 | 20 ratings
Rick Wakeman In Concert KBFH
1995
2.16 | 6 ratings
Almost Live in Europe
1995
3.89 | 15 ratings
The Piano Album - Live
1995
3.88 | 5 ratings
Rock & Pop Legends
1995
3.67 | 12 ratings
Simply Acoustic - The Music
1997
2.57 | 7 ratings
The Best Of Rick Wakeman (original live recordings/ 1998 Wise Buy)
1998
3.64 | 8 ratings
Live in Buenos Aires. Official Live Bootleg
1999
3.67 | 15 ratings
The Legend - Live in Concert 2000
2000
4.48 | 28 ratings
Out Of The Blue
2001
3.94 | 8 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert
2002
2.44 | 9 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half
2002
4.00 | 11 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical
2002
2.57 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture
2002
3.38 | 8 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare
2002
3.20 | 10 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey to the Centre of the Earth +
2002
1.43 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories
2002
3.50 | 6 ratings
Banda Sinfonica Jovem Do Estado De São Paulo
2004
3.76 | 15 ratings
Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral
2005
3.75 | 11 ratings
Live At The BBC
2007
4.20 | 58 ratings
The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Live at Hampton Court Palace
2009
4.21 | 16 ratings
In The Nick of Time - Live In 2003
2012
3.92 | 6 ratings
Access All Areas
2015

RICK WAKEMAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 4 ratings
Simply Acoustic (VHS)
1996
3.69 | 14 ratings
The Legend Live in Concert 2000 [Aka: An Evening with Rick Wakeman] (DVD)
2000
3.96 | 21 ratings
Rick Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble: Live in Buenos Aires (DVD)
2001
3.17 | 5 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
3.46 | 29 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (DVD)
2002
3.03 | 18 ratings
Out There (DVD)
2004
4.04 | 16 ratings
Made In Cuba (DVD)
2005
3.21 | 5 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Otherside of Rick Wakeman
2007
4.32 | 9 ratings
Swedish Television Special 1980
2008
3.06 | 8 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show
2008
3.85 | 61 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD)
2009
4.75 | 4 ratings
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano
2010

RICK WAKEMAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.21 | 34 ratings
Piano Vibrations
1971
5.00 | 4 ratings
20th Anniversary Limited Edition
1989
1.09 | 4 ratings
Chronicles - The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman
1992
2.50 | 3 ratings
Best Works Collection
1992
3.35 | 11 ratings
The Classic Tracks
1993
2.14 | 19 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits
1994
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Stage Collection
1994
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Private Collection
1995
4.37 | 11 ratings
Voyage: The Very Best of Rick Wakeman
1996
3.33 | 4 ratings
Master Series
1998
2.59 | 6 ratings
The Masters
1999
3.78 | 9 ratings
Recollections: The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Caped Collection
2000
3.06 | 15 ratings
Tales of Future and Past
2001
3.09 | 4 ratings
My Inspiration
2001
2.03 | 11 ratings
Frost In Space
2001
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Music of Rick Wakeman
2001
2.63 | 38 ratings
Songs of Middle Earth
2002
2.69 | 14 ratings
Revisited
2004
4.00 | 6 ratings
Journey To The Center Of The Earth (2CD compilation)
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
After The Ball - The Collection
2015
4.08 | 13 ratings
Starship Trooper
2016

RICK WAKEMAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Catherine
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love's Dream (with Roger Daltrey)
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
After The Ball
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Animal Showdown
1979
3.00 | 1 ratings
Birdman Of Alcatraz
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Swan Lager
1979
1.46 | 11 ratings
I'm So Straight I'm A Weirdo
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spider
1980
5.00 | 1 ratings
Julia
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Glory Boys
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Theme From Lytton's Diary
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Waterfalls
1986
2.16 | 7 ratings
Custers Last Stand / Ocean City
1988
5.00 | 6 ratings
Don't Fly Away/After Prayers
1991
4.00 | 2 ratings
Special Sampler
1991
3.00 | 4 ratings
Light Up The Sky
1994
5.00 | 3 ratings
Welcome a Star
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fields of Green
1997
4.50 | 2 ratings
Buried Alive feat. Ozzy Osbourne
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Welcome A Star
2015
2.40 | 6 ratings
Life on Mars
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2017

RICK WAKEMAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.81 | 196 ratings

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The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Yet another Rick Wakeman album (it has become quite impossible to track down how many solo releases the keyboard wizard has, but this one would around the eightieth, I believe). What is there to say about it? A seasoned veteran who has achieved everything, and has really done everything in his career, is desiring to have some fun, releasing a collection of grandiose keyboard compositions, with the help of other very well-rounded and experienced musicians (billed as the English Rock Ensemble). All fine, as Wakeman is proposing a fiesta of the full possibilities of modern technology, adopting a myriad of sounds, and playing around with his set of innumerable keyboards to deliver these songs that are said to make up a concept album about 'The Red Planet'.

I consider this record a great and enjoyable sit-down listen, if you will to have a slice of keyboard wizardry, or just get that retro 70s feel, when the instrumental prog rock album was a thing, and people loved it - but 'The Red Planet' could not and does not bring much to the table. Rick Wakeman is doing what he does best in creating explosive and mind-blowing pieces on his keys, but we have all heard that in full bloom four decades ago (and he has not stopped doing it ever since!) Some do consider this a masterpiece, and I also consider it a must-listen for prog rock and especially Rick Wakeman fans, but this is not universally compelling, or a genre-bending masterpiece, it is simply a very good instrumental album that is fun, well-written and perfectly well-performed.

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.81 | 196 ratings

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The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Andis

4 stars This album has to be rated in two different scales, first there is the Rick Wakeman scale, on how this album stands among his other 3000 albums. Then there is the general progressive rock scale, how this album stands against all other progressive rock being produced. Let's start with the Rick Wakeman scale: Let's be honest here, this is among the best albums the big guy has ever done. If you like his best albums from the 70s like Six wives, The myths and legends, No earthly connection and Criminal record, this album is for you. This would have been a worthy successor to No earthly connection, let's imagine we could squeeze this album into 1977 and it would have been a perfect fit. I really didn't think he had it in him if I would be frank. A 5-star album in the Rick Wakeman scale!

On the general progressive rock scale this album should be considered as one of the better albums of 2020, it really holds up well against the competition.

What I love is the sound, it's a timeless sound, it's got that classic 70s sound with analog keyboards and drums that actually sounds like drums, but it's all made and recorded in 2020 with a fresh and punchy sound.

I'ts also an instrumental album, and thanks to that! I cannot really say that I found the singers that Wakeman has hired before had been the best, mostly rather weak. An instrumental album is be the best choice for Wakeman. Also, an instrumental album, the songs and their structure needs to hold the right quality to be able to deliver on the whole album, it's hard to write an album without a singer and still keep the listener satisfied. It's like they say: if it got vocals, get a better guitarist! Or keyboard player in this case. Well, no problem with that on this album since Wakeman really delivers on those keys. A very enjoyable album in the general progressive rock scale. A masterpice on the Rick Wakeman scale.

 Birdman Of Alcatraz by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Birdman Of Alcatraz
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Rick Wakeman, like almost any other prog musician, is not exactly a pop artist tailored for single markets, but in fact his vast discography has quite a lot of singles, too (to my surprise). The release of 'Birdman of Alcatraz' as a single was motivated by its appearance as a theme in a miniseries. Here's what All Movie Guide says: "Previously adapted as a Hollywood film in 1940, Howard Spring's best-selling novel 'My Son My Son' was given the miniseries treatment by Britain's BBC in 1978. Set in the period between the two world wars, the story concerned a self-made millionaire who was determined that his son would never suffer the same hardships that he himself experienced. In consequence, the son was spoiled rotten, resulting in tragedy."

'Birdman of Alcatraz' was taken from Rick's conceptual album Criminal Record (1977) which I had as a used vinyl long ago. I didn't enjoy the album enough to keep it permanently, but if I remember right, this piece was among its better tracks. It's a sparkling, highly decorative and shamelessly romantic piano piece. Enjoyable, why not, although a bit too kitschy à la Liberace for repeated listenings. I can imagine it must have sounded nice as a series theme, presuming that the series shared the sentimental approach.

The B side has 'Flacons de Neige' from Wakeman's next album Rhapsodies (1979), a double vinyl with a poor reception. I haven't listened to it entirely, but at least it has some beautiful pieces such as 'Sea Horses' that I know from a compilation. I don't think 'Flacons' would be among my biggest faves on it. The mellower parts with airy melodicism are enjoyable, but to me the composition tries too much and feels too excessive here and there, in a similar way as Keith Emerson. I also sense some SKY in the sound. Without the sharper parts I'd like it more.

 Live at Hammersmith by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 1985
3.63 | 33 ratings

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Live at Hammersmith
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by fenman

4 stars I first encountered this album some years ago and have enjoyed it ever since. I seem to recall that, in the mid 80's, Rick joked that progressive rock was so out of fashion that he couldn't even get a job as a piano tuner, let alone a performer. It's now 2022 and I'm glad that Capital radio broadcast this concert and it eventually saw a good quality CD release. MIxer John Acock and masterer Denis Blackham are names that appear many times in my record collection and have excellent reputations.

A good decade after his mid 1970's successes Rick has assembled a great band who perform well. The set includes collections of music from his first three solo albums presented with the clarity of 1980's technology.

Writing this in 2022, I noticed this afternoon that you can buy a CD quality download from at least two online retailers for less than £4. What is there not to like? At that price it has got to be four stars, at least.

 The Phantom Of The Opera (OST) by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.25 | 11 ratings

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The Phantom Of The Opera (OST)
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Profh0011

4 stars How do you screw something up like this?

Great Rick Wakeman music from start to finish, I've loved the soundtrack since the early 90s and the videotape for over 20 years now. But somebody at Rick's end screwed this DVD over. It's in black & white (no color tints), the Christopher Lee intro is a "special feature" accessible via the loud noisy menu (rather than at the beginning of the film where it belongs). While the print is clearer without the damage seen on the earlier video version, the last reel is so dark it's imposssible to see the action climax. What--the-- ??? I've contacted several video companies suggesting they could do better, since the guy running Rick's website informed me there's "no plans" for them to do more with this project. My favorite version of my favorite silent, and the videotape is better than the DVD? That's just not right.

 Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.77 | 111 ratings

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Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

5 stars In recent memory, Yes has been one of the more respected Prog bands, with some of the greatest albums I have heard like Close To The Edge, Fragile, and Tales From Topographic Oceans, heck even their pop stuff isn't half bad (not including Open Your Eyes obviously). They have some great musicians in the band too with some respectable careers of their own. Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, and of course the focal point of this review, Rick Wakeman.

Out of any member of Yes, Rick has the biggest discography, of 80 albums, not including compilations or live albums, that is more albums than the entire discography of all the members of Yes, which is approximately 63 albums. It is a discography that is very formidable with some amazing albums, some not so good albums, and some albums that seem otherworldly. One album that feels beyond this world is 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth'. This album is actually a re-recording of a live show in 1974 by the same name, however this is considerably longer than that album, and for clarity's sake, I listened to the old live show to get a grasp on what was improved and what was lacking from this new version of this journey, and I did notice a few things, but we'll get to that later, for now let's talk about the album.

So I like to preferably listen to the full 54 minute song version of the album, usually seen in streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music. This is so I can fully gather my thoughts on this album without making a track by track analysis, especially since with the sections sometimes being very short, sometimes being just a few seconds long. With that in mind, oh my god I love this giant suite. You can tell Rick was having a blast making this. From start to finish this is a blast to get through, with twists, turns, beauty, profoundness, and adventure.

The start of the song we get a short introductory sentence that starts to journey out, not with a bang, but with a couple of words to fully captivate the listener to see what is in store with this tale. After this introduction ends we get to a bang with an orchestral moment. Lots of violins, horns, very bombastic and classical. So far this starts the whole album off almost perfectly, almost since I am not a fan of classical music so when I first heard this I was fearing I might've started a listen with a classical album instead of a rock album, and was a bit turned off, though that doesn't persist when it shifts away to a new part of the journey.

The song takes a turn to a more acoustic Prog sound with acoustics and flutes, but with a bit of Rick's electronic piano playing to tie things together. Not only that but towards the end it starts to get a bit poppy, but it doesn't go to a new wave or an unsustainable pop sound, it feels in place and it feels indulgent in itself, which I really like. Furthermore, after a few more monologues and orchestral bits and pieces, we get a bombastic guitar, drum, and electronic piano session with lots of verbose playing that leads to a new section of orchestration and narrative driven monologues. This is what I feel like is the album's biggest strong points, how it is able to smoothly blend the eclectic Prog rock with symphonic orchestra plus the more pop like approach with some of these sections, it's melting with a beauty and grace that I love, and this perfectly shows why progressive rock is so good on how it can blend many styles and make it work.

I don't wanna spoil too much of the album so I'll skip a few bits and pieces, but I do wanna talk about two more parts on this album that being the section coined as The Battle and the two ending sections of In The Hall Of The Mountain King and Mount Etna. Let's start with The Battle, which is my favorite section of this suite. I am always a sucker for more punchy, weird-like sections in my suites like with Supper's Ready's Willow Farm or Tarkus' Mass. It blends the more eclectic Prog rock with the orchestration super well to where it gives a sense of epicness, but also mixes with the wobbly sounding piano Rick plays with, it gives a sort of odd ball feeling with the song and Rick's singing fits this track perfectly, especially with his more older voice, giving the track an older and more grander feel. Now let's talk about Mountain King and Mount Etna, so Mountain King, personally is not that special but within the context of all that happened with this suite, it gives a whole flurry of meaning and awesomeness, and it leads to that grand closer most Prog epics have. However it's not grand in a sense where it's a part that goes beyond, but it rather builds upon itself with Orchestration that leads into the magnificent part of the song where the beauty of Rick's playing mashes together with the symphonics to create a compact and masterful work of art that gushes with beauty, to where I cannot begin to describe it, and after such a long stretch of music, it just adds onto that. I cannot recommend this entire suite to any Prog fan enough, it's just so amazing that the 54 minute run time makes it all the more worthwhile.

But now we have a question, obviously, how does this fare against the old 1974 version? Is it better or worse? Well, this may be my young mind talking and my whole first listening bias talking but this is way better than the original live composition. The 1974 version definitely gets the job done, and I love the more olden and almost rustic feel this version has compared to the slicker and modern version, but this feels more complete and just brimming with more flare and transcendent sounds to where it's way better in my mind compared to the old 1974 version, though I do see why people would prefer the old version more whether it's for its older sound or it's more nostalgic reasons, whatever it is I can definitely see the appeal of the OG album.

So, overall this album and this suite as a whole is so good. It's a masterpiece of Progressive Rock music and I'd totally recommend this to any Prog fan, whether they like classic Prog or modern Prog, whatever, it's brimming with some amazing symphonies, amazing music, and above all one of the best closings to an epic I have heard in the past few weeks. Do not be afraid of its run time, you'll not be disappointed.

 White Rock by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.27 | 155 ratings

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White Rock
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Wakeman's second soundtrack album was knocked out with just Wakeman, his regular drummer/percussionmeister Tony Fernandez, and a choir here and there - a comparatively austere effort by Wakeman's standards, if you overlook his usual vast array of keyboards and synthesisers. This would be Wakeman's last solo record before he came back to Yes for Going For the One, and whilst it's competent enough, like No Earthly Connection it provides more evidence that Wakeman's compositional toolkit and well of creativity was beginning to run dry at this point in time.

At its best, it offers decent material of the sort we've largely heard before on Six Wives of Henry VIII and subsequent albums; at other points, it finds Wakeman's efforts to fuse funk and prog (an ongoing thing going back to Six Wives) beginning to wear thin. There's even a bit where he recycles portions of Anne of Cleves from Six Wives (as part of Ice Run). I think it's rather charming - and benefits somewhat from being instrumental (the choir is here to add texture, not coherent vocals) - but would say it's three and a half stars, four for keen prog enthusiasts, and it's in retrospect no surprise that he went back to a stint in Yes to recharge his creative batteries after this.

Whilst Wakeman would remain a highly productive solo artist, it's his run from Six Wives to here which remains the foundation of that solo career, and White Rock pretty much represents the end of that era - a technically proficiently- executed album which nonetheless doesn't contain any creative breakthroughs over and above the blueprint established by his Henry VIII-themed masterpiece.

 No Earthly Connection by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 264 ratings

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No Earthly Connection
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was Rick's second non-soundtrack solo album following his departure from Yes, but finds him and his English Rock Ensemble backing group in somewhat constrained circumstances due, in part, to the financial disaster of the infamous "King Arthur on ice" shows. Whilst Lisztomania, as a job-for-hire soundtrack job, allowed him to keep working with an orchestra, for this release he had to do without the orchestral backing he'd enjoyed on Lisztomania, King Arthur, and Journey To the Centre of the Earth; nor does he have the support of the English Chamber Choir, who'd provided a welcome touch of gravitas to Journey and King Arthur.

As a result, No Earthly Connection is just Rick and his backing band - but that's not such a bad thing, he managed just fine like that on Six Wives of Henry VIII. And, indeed, this very much resembles "Six Wives with lyrics" - complete with Rick's regular attempts to inject a little more funk into prog than many of his peers had done. It's all pleasant enough, and delivered to a fine standard, but as on King Arthur it does feel like Wakeman's compositional bag of tricks is wearing a little thin at this point. Prog purists might bemoan his gear shift into churning out New Age albums in subsequent decades, but arguably it was a necessity - because on the prog side of things Wakeman was getting into a creative rut. No Earthly Collection is a decent prog album in its own right, but between and King Arthur the red flags indicating trouble ahead can be spotted.

 Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 1974
3.75 | 388 ratings

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Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rick Wakeman's musical adaptation of Jules Verne's novel for orchestra, choir, rock band, synthesiser array, and narrator was recorded when he was still - barely - a member of Yes. He'd been unhappy during the recording of Tales From Topographic Oceans, but even so he kept up his role in the band and mounted this concert series during a break on Yes's touring schedule. However, with The Six Wives of Henry VIII having been a massive commercial success (to the extent that selections from it ended up on the Yes live repertoire) and this one also becoming a hit, it was very apparent that Rick could viably go solo full-time, and so it was that he'd leave Yes by the middle of the year.

Whereas Six Wives was all-instrumental, this one has vocals, and the emphasis on telling a coherent, condensed version of the Jules Verne narrative is certainly a contrast with the abstract explorations that Yes was more interested in at this point in time.

It's all rather fun, though Wakeman's synthesisers are at points rather shrill and in general the quality of the live recording feels a little murky at points even by the standards of the era. Still, you can't fault Rick for his ambition, and he certainly in his own way manages a skilled fusion of orchestral music, rock, and synthesiser which perhaps only Camel on The Snow Goose could rival at the time.

 Rhapsodies by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.53 | 138 ratings

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Rhapsodies
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars As a follow up to the brilliant "Criminal Record", Wakeman decided to release a double album of shorter tracks. The music is quite accessible, bright, cheerful and happy, for the most part. Wakeman calls this album his most confusing album he has ever made. I do get that because of the different styles that Rick incorporates here. Usually, I like hearing a lot of variey. The problem here is, there just isn't a lot of variety except for in the style. Each song goes by quickly. They are cheerful and fun tracks that do quite well when listened to separately. But when you listen to them one after another, they start to sound too similar. Sure Rick throws in a lot of surprises and what not, but it seems almost like he is making music for the sake of getting another album out there.

I remember when this album came out, I really loved it. But now when I listen to it, it seems to lack a lot of substance. Through the entire album, Rick constantly borrows from several different classical themes until it almost gets to the point that it starts sound like a "Hooked on Classics" album, though it does manage to stay a couple of steps above the tackiness of that. "Rhapsodies" is not a terrible album, and there are some great moments on it such as his interpretation of "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess and "Sea Horses". There are even a few times when you might catch your booty moving in your chair a little bit, especially if you have it playing as background music. It is quite upbeat for the most part. But if you are expecting some huge orchestra or choir accompanying Wakeman, or even guest singers, you'll be disappointed. Like "Criminal Record", this is a band album and Rick made it in the same vein as that album with his keyboards taking center stage and the instruments mostly supporting his keyboards. That's a good thing. However, there is only one song with vocals ("Pedra de Gavea") and they are very heavily treated. All of the songs are quite short and a bit "all over the place" with not enough development. Even with so few vocals, it just seems like there are very few solos as it all seems way too structured with little room to explore or improvise. Thus you get a bunch of tracks that are nice, but they have very little to distinguish them from each other. Yes, he does a version of "Rhapsody in Blue" by Gerswin, but it's so poppy and trimmed down to the basic melodies that it does just like I mentioned earlier; sounds like something from "Hooked on Classics". We all know RW can do much better than that.

So, this is a good album, but not a great one. It's way below what RW is capable of. And it has that "manufactured" feel to it, like the music was made for accessibility and sales. I don't love it at all like I used to, but, if each song is taken individually, then they are not so bad. Put all together in one double album type of listening experience can get rather tiring.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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