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RICK WAKEMAN

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Rick Wakeman biography
Richard Christopher Wakeman (May 18, 1949 in 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 (ABWH)*, 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 "Close to the Edge" in 1972, WAKEMAN als...
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Rick Wakeman official website

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Buy RICK WAKEMAN Music


Piano PortraitsPiano Portraits
UMe 2017
Audio CD$7.10
$5.43 (used)
Journey to the Centre of the EarthJourney to the Centre of the Earth
A&M Records 1988
Audio CD$8.18
$2.97 (used)
Rick Wakeman - 5 Classic AlbumsRick Wakeman - 5 Classic Albums
Box set · Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$12.45
$13.28 (used)
Christmas VariationsChristmas Variations
Music Fusion 2011
Audio CD$15.99
$23.99 (used)
The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round TableThe Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table
A&M 1988
Audio CD$5.83
$1.21 (used)
Softsword (King John & The Magna Carta)Softsword (King John & The Magna Carta)
Import
President 2006
Audio CD$8.20
$6.95 (used)
The Six Wives of Henry VIIIThe Six Wives of Henry VIII
A&M Records 1987
Audio CD$8.18
$3.58 (used)
New Gospels - A Modern OratioNew Gospels - A Modern Oratio
Import
Hope Recordings 2008
Audio CD$50.95
$18.99 (used)
1984 LP1984 LP
CHARISMA
Vinyl$10.49 (used)
Simply AccousticSimply Accoustic
Import
Hope 2017
Audio CD$11.24
$11.23 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Rick Wakeman - Out There - Official Remastered Edition (NEW CD) USD $15.09 Buy It Now
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Rick Wakeman - Journey to The Centre of the Earth - Gatefold LP Vinyl Record EX USD $9.95 Buy It Now
1984 Rick Wakeman Vinyl Record USD $18.73 Buy It Now
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USD $4.00 Buy It Now
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RICK WAKEMAN-"THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII" 1973 USA VINYL LP, SP-4361, Yes, PROG USD $2.50 [0 bids]
USD $4.00 Buy It Now
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36m 53s
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1h 29m
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1h 30m
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2h 33m
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3h 6m
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3h 11m
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4h 8m
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RICK WAKEMAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

4.08 | 720 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
1973
3.56 | 447 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
1975
2.60 | 114 ratings
Lisztomania (OST)
1975
3.73 | 205 ratings
No Earthly Connection
1976
3.14 | 129 ratings
White Rock
1977
3.76 | 228 ratings
Criminal Record
1977
2.39 | 117 ratings
Rhapsodies
1979
3.35 | 122 ratings
1984
1981
2.56 | 31 ratings
The Burning (OST)
1981
1.45 | 41 ratings
Rock N' Roll Prophet
1982
2.54 | 35 ratings
G'Olé ! (OST)
1983
2.58 | 43 ratings
Cost Of Living
1983
2.56 | 25 ratings
Crimes Of Passion (OST)
1984
3.02 | 18 ratings
Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond The Planets
1984
2.34 | 37 ratings
Silent Nights
1985
3.23 | 33 ratings
Country Airs - Piano Solos
1986
3.26 | 25 ratings
The Gospels
1987
1.69 | 20 ratings
The Family Album
1987
3.36 | 39 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Ramon Remedios: A Suite Of Gods
1988
2.16 | 30 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Tony Fernandez: Zodiaque
1988
2.59 | 35 ratings
Time Machine
1988
3.58 | 24 ratings
Sea Airs
1989
2.70 | 32 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV
1989
3.22 | 23 ratings
Night Airs
1990
2.20 | 16 ratings
In The Beginning
1990
2.41 | 15 ratings
Phantom Power (OST)
1990
2.44 | 17 ratings
Aspirant Sunrise
1990
2.50 | 20 ratings
African Bach
1990
2.75 | 4 ratings
A World Of Wisdom
1991
1.88 | 22 ratings
Aspirant Sunset
1991
3.27 | 15 ratings
Aspirant Sunshadows
1991
3.19 | 26 ratings
Softsword
1991
2.37 | 29 ratings
2000 A.D. Into The Future
1991
3.00 | 13 ratings
The Classical Connection 2
1991
3.44 | 16 ratings
The Classical Connection
1991
3.57 | 21 ratings
Country Airs (1992)
1992
2.79 | 29 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.68 | 12 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.52 | 16 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: No Expense Spared
1993
2.89 | 17 ratings
Heritage Suite
1993
3.72 | 16 ratings
Prayers
1993
3.69 | 20 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: Romance Of The Victorian Age
1994
3.10 | 21 ratings
Cirque Surreal
1995
3.24 | 29 ratings
The Seven Wonders Of The World
1995
2.24 | 10 ratings
Visions [Aka: Visions Of Paradise]
1995
2.95 | 18 ratings
Fields Of Green
1996
1.27 | 9 ratings
The Word And Music
1996
2.83 | 9 ratings
Orisons
1996
3.43 | 18 ratings
Can You Hear Me ?
1996
2.00 | 10 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Vignettes
1996
3.18 | 11 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Tapestries
1996
3.07 | 15 ratings
The New Gospels
1996
3.00 | 13 ratings
The Natural World Trilogy
1997
2.67 | 25 ratings
Tribute To The Beatles
1997
3.43 | 14 ratings
Themes
1998
3.53 | 141 ratings
Return To The Centre Of The Earth
1999
3.68 | 25 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Stella Bianca Alla Corte Di Re Ferdinando
1999
2.79 | 10 ratings
Art In Music Trilogy
1999
2.29 | 22 ratings
White Rock II
1999
3.93 | 18 ratings
Preludes To A Century
2000
3.69 | 13 ratings
Chronicles Of Man
2000
3.30 | 13 ratings
Christmas Variations
2000
3.05 | 12 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2000
3.27 | 11 ratings
Classical Variations
2001
3.65 | 42 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes
2001
3.16 | 13 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lisztomania
2002
3.73 | 26 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes, Volume II
2002
2.60 | 17 ratings
Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird
2002
3.71 | 15 ratings
The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams
2002
3.83 | 99 ratings
Out There
2003
3.05 | 50 ratings
Retro
2006
3.24 | 26 ratings
Retro 2
2007
3.00 | 20 ratings
Always With You
2010
3.68 | 82 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2012
3.77 | 39 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
2016
3.48 | 21 ratings
Piano Portraits
2017
1.00 | 1 ratings
The Rainbow Suite
2017
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Phantom Of The Opera (OST)
2017

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

3.72 | 326 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
1974
4.24 | 17 ratings
"The King Arthur" Concert
1976
3.53 | 29 ratings
Live At Hammersmith
1985
2.75 | 8 ratings
Unleashing the Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour
1994
2.63 | 8 ratings
Live on the Test (1976)
1994
3.08 | 6 ratings
Wakeman with Wakeman Live
1994
3.94 | 16 ratings
Rick Wakeman In Concert KBFH
1995
2.14 | 3 ratings
Almost Live in Europe
1995
3.94 | 12 ratings
The Piano Album - Live
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock & Pop Legends
1995
4.10 | 10 ratings
Simply Acoustic - The Music
1997
2.80 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Rick Wakeman (original live recordings/ 1998 Wise Buy)
1998
3.71 | 6 ratings
Live in Buenos Aires. Official Live Bootleg
1999
3.77 | 13 ratings
The Legend - Live in Concert 2000
2000
4.49 | 21 ratings
Out Of The Blue
2001
3.97 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert
2002
2.50 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half
2002
4.09 | 11 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical
2002
3.14 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture
2002
3.88 | 8 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare
2002
3.60 | 10 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey to the Centre of the Earth +
2002
2.17 | 6 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories
2002
4.00 | 5 ratings
Banda Sinfonica Jovem Do Estado De São Paulo
2004
3.90 | 12 ratings
Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral
2005
3.89 | 10 ratings
Live At The BBC
2007
4.18 | 46 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace
2009
4.25 | 15 ratings
In The Nick of Time - Live In 2003
2012
4.05 | 3 ratings
Access All Areas
2015

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

4.04 | 4 ratings
Simply Acoustic (VHS)
1996
3.67 | 13 ratings
The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (aka An Evening With Rick Wakeman) (DVD)
2000
3.97 | 18 ratings
Rick Wakeman And The English Rock Ensemble: Live in Buenos Aires (DVD)
2001
3.18 | 3 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
3.45 | 28 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (DVD)
2002
3.00 | 14 ratings
Out There (DVD)
2004
3.98 | 12 ratings
Made In Cuba (DVD)
2005
3.29 | 5 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Otherside of Rick Wakeman
2007
4.34 | 7 ratings
Swedish Television Special 1980
2008
3.06 | 8 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show
2008
3.84 | 54 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD)
2009
5.00 | 4 ratings
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano
2010

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

2.17 | 32 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
3.33 | 3 ratings
Best Works Collection
1992
3.08 | 8 ratings
The Classic Tracks
1993
2.09 | 17 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Stage Collection
1994
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Private Collection
1995
4.21 | 16 ratings
Voyage: the Very Best of Rick Wakeman
1996
3.00 | 4 ratings
Master Series
1998
2.60 | 5 ratings
The Masters
1999
3.78 | 9 ratings
Recollections: The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Caped Collection
2000
3.06 | 12 ratings
Tales Of Future And Past
2001
3.09 | 3 ratings
My Inspiration
2001
2.33 | 11 ratings
Frost In Space
2001
3.10 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Music of Rick Wakeman
2001
2.63 | 34 ratings
Songs Of Middle Earth
2002
2.78 | 14 ratings
Revisited
2004
4.00 | 5 ratings
Journey To The Center Of The Earth (2CD compilation)
2005
4.17 | 12 ratings
Starship Trooper
2016

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

0.00 | 0 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
0.00 | 0 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Theme From Lytton's Diary
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Waterfalls
1986
2.40 | 7 ratings
Custers Last Stand / Ocean City
1988
4.33 | 6 ratings
Don't Fly Away/After Prayers
1991
3.50 | 2 ratings
Special Sampler
1991
2.75 | 4 ratings
Light Up The Sky
1994
5.00 | 3 ratings
Welcome a Star
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fields of Green
1997
5.00 | 1 ratings
Buried Alive feat. Ozzy Osbourne
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Welcome A Star
2015
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RICK WAKEMAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Two Sides Of Yes by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.65 | 42 ratings

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Two Sides Of Yes
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars Originally released as two separate volumes in 2001 and 2002, 2016 saw a reissue of both sets as a double CD set (missing only a 'bonus' video which was originally on Volume 1). The reason it is indicated as 'Two Sides' is not for the number of discs, but rather there are two totally different approaches to the music contained within. Some of the interpretations feature just Rick on piano, while others feature Alan Thomson on bass and long-time collaborator Tony Fernandez on drums. Now, I have been a fan of both Wakeman and Yes for well over forty years and have managed to see both in concert twice, although unfortunately not on the same stage at the same time. To me this is a lost opportunity, in that the band versions don't always add a great deal to the original, and sometimes are less. The first time I played Rick's version of 'Going For The One' I straight afterwards went to the original and played them back to back, with Rick's sadly lacking in comparison.

But, they are pleasant enough even if they're not essential, but the piano pieces are a revelation. Here classic numbers have been stripped, and then provided with totally new arrangements yet still staying true to the original. These are superb, and if these two discs were comprised solely of Rick providing piano variations of classic Yes numbers that this would be essential. As it stands, it is interesting to those like me who have followed both careers with interest for longer than they would really like to admit, but not as important as it could be.

 Christmas Variations by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.30 | 13 ratings

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Christmas Variations
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Having already released an album of variations on hymns, it was suggested to Rick that he record variations on Christmas carols. Originally, he deferred, but finally relented and the end result is an album of variations on ten classic carols. When I say "classic" I mean exactly that, as everyone in the Western world will recognise these, and even sing along (even if it is just inside their head). I have long felt that Rick is often at his very best when he allows himself to go deep inside the music and let his hands do the talking through his piano, and that is definitely the case here. It's not all piano-led, there are plenty of synths as well, but they tend to be played as if Rick was still sat at a harpsichord or piano.

The only word to truly describe this album is "beautiful", and at this time of year I can't imagine a more tranquil and wonderful way of getting into the Christmas spirit. This isn't an album that will be played in shops with all the plastic razzmatazz where they attempt to persuade everyone that the true spirit of Christmas is how much you spend on gifts, but rather is a thoughtful and contemplative approach to the season. There has been a great deal of thought and care put into these variations, and I can "see" Rick with his eyes closed (as normal) falling deeper and deeper into the music, taking the simplicity and giving it more meaning and love. If I have to suffer carols at Christmas, then truly this is the only way to do it.

 Can You Hear Me ? by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.43 | 18 ratings

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Can You Hear Me ?
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars 'Can You Hear Me' was released in 1996, and was one of a series of Christian albums released by Rick. The album itself contains some recordings that had appeared previously, although now with additional instrumentation and choir, as well as some new songs. "Hymn of Hope" was originally called "The Battle Hymn" and appeared on 1991's 'Softsword', and it then had additional guitars and keyboards added in 1992 and it then showed up on 1992's 'Prayers' before the guitars were replaced and a choir added and it here made its third appearance! The album featured a few Wakeman regulars such as David Paton and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, while Chrissie Hammond provides the vocals, but sadly Tony Fernandez wasn't utilised for some reason so the drumming is programmed, and it shows.

Although this isn't classic Wakeman, the use of Chrissie and the English Chamber Choir was quite inspired. While some numbers are reflective, they still contain more dominance and direction that the 'Aspirant' series, and Chrissie shows that while many think of her a straight rock singer she can easily handle those of a more religious and almost hymn-like nature. This is a Christian album, and one can imagine many of these songs being well suited to a church or cathedral setting. It doesn't really fit into either his more progressive or more rocky ventures, as that wasn't the intention, and for me this is solid, and one that I am pleased I have heard and to have on the shelf, but whether I will return to it often is another matter altogether as this just isn't my style.

 Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild] by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.68 | 12 ratings

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Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars The father, the son, and the holy ghost

As Rick tells on his official website, this album was almost completely finished before Adam Wakeman came on board. It was decided at the last minute that this would be released as a "Wakeman with Wakeman" album to go with the already planned tour featuring Rick and his youngest son. I can only assume that the two compositions credited to Adam - Megalomania and Past And Present - where pasted onto to the album during its final stages.

This album is completely instrumental and it features only the dual keyboards of Rick and Adam and programmed drums by Stuart Sawney. There is however a live album from the following tour which featured also bass and drums by Alan Thompson and Tony Fernandez respectively. Personally, I much prefer the live album where the music really comes alive. This is evident when comparing the studio version of the best track here by far, the opening track Lure Of The Wild, with its live counterpart on the Wakeman With Wakeman Live album (aka The Official Bootleg). While the studio version is very good, the live version of the same is amazing! Also Past And Present and the Rolling Stones cover Paint It Black were performed live and included on the live album.

The rest of the tunes here are a mixed bag, covering a variety of styles. While it is better than many other albums in Rick's vast discography and definitely an enjoyable and pleasant listen in it own right, it never really takes off. I can recommend this album to fans and collectors, but my advice is to start with the aforementioned live album which offers a better introduction to the Wakeman With Wakeman project and hold the ultimate version of the great Lure Of The Wild.

 The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.56 | 447 ratings

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The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by winterwizard1987

3 stars This album seems to have inspired very polarizing reactions on this site, with some hailing it as a masterpiece and others calling it an overly bombastic and cheesy album that fails to inspire. I fall somewhere in between these two extremes. The music on this album, while certainly bombastic, is quite good, conjuring up heroic images of fantastic landscapes and brave knights. However, what would otherwise be at least a four star album is held back by some production problems and often lackluster vocals.

As to the nature of the music on this album, it is generally orchestra-driven symphonic prog with a great deal of keyboard and synthesizer work, as is to be expected from Rick Wakeman. For those who dislike overly bombastic, "epic" music, this album will likely be a chore to endure. However, for others such as myself who enjoy these kinds of compositions, the music on the album is a real treat. The orchestra and choir work well with Wakeman's choice of keyboards and instrumentation, creating a truly enjoyable sound. However, there are issues.

First off, it may just be the digital copy of the album I purchased, but some songs (the beginning of "Guinevere" in particular) seem to suffer from fuzzy audio quality which obscures the music. This is a fairly rare problem, however. A bigger issue is the vocal quality on this album. Some songs, such as the final track, "The Last Battle," have vocal performances that are quite good. On other tracks, such as "Arthur," the singer sounds as if he is audibly struggling to hit the notes. This can make the vocals occasionally painful to listen to. However, it is not a constant problem, and if one is able to overlook these flawed vocal performances, the music is generally quite good.

Overall, I would recommend this release to anyone who is a fan of epic, orchestral music and is willing to overlook some occasional issues with vocals and recording quality. A good album overall with some flaws that cause it to fall a bit short of four stars.

 The Six Wives Of Henry VIII by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.08 | 720 ratings

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The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 125

"The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" is the debut studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1973. This is true, if we don't consider "Piano Vibrations" released in 1971 as his debut studio album. However, his contributions on that album were limited to performing as a session musician and he didn't compose any of the tracks on it. "The Six Wives Of Hery VIII" is a very ambitious and risky conceptual album about the six wives of Henry VIII. It's an album with six tracks, each one inspired by one of Henry VIII's wives. As Wakeman said, this album is based around his interpretation of the musical characteristics of the wives of Henry VIII. Although, the style may not always be in keeping with their individual history, because it represents his personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments. However, always was a mystery to me, why Wakeman doesn't treats the ladies in the chronologically correct order on the album.

Wakeman chose to participate on the recordings of the album the presence of some of the members of his current band Yes at the time and also some members of his previous band the Strawbs. So, we can see on the album the presence of the bassists Chris Squire of Yes and Chas Cronk of the Strawbs, the guitarists Steve Howe of Yes and Dave Lambert of the Strawbs, the drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White of Yes and the leader of the Strawbs, Dave Cousins, on electric banjo. Beyond these musicians, many other artists participate on this working too. However and despite the presence of several Yes and the Strawbs' members, it doesn't recall the work of any of those bands, in direct sense.

"The six Wives Of Henry VIII" has six tracks, as we can expect, and all the songs were written by Wakeman except "Anne Boleyn 'The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended'". "Anne Boleyn" incorporates the hymn "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended" written by Rev. Clement Cotteril Scholefield, arranged by Wakeman. The first track "Catherine Of Aragon" is one of the best and most easily recognized musical pieces of the album. It's the song most close to classic Yes' sound, with some complexity and at the same time catchy, and where the music flows with passages of varying speed, mood and intensity. It's the demonstration of a perfect marriage between a keyboardist and an orchestra. The second track "Anne Of Cleves" is a song more in the jazz/rock style and where the sound is predominantly of keyboards and drums. It's the most strong and energetic song of the album, making it the most exciting song to listen. Despite be an intricate song with some complexity it's a very simple song to listen to especially for those who aren't so familiar with progressive rock. The third track "Catherine Howard" is on the contrary a more complex and difficult song to hear. It's one of my favourite compositions created by Wakeman. It's the most calm, relaxing and melodic song of the album. It's a song with musical changes and rhythms that moves gracefully and wonderfully through several short musical pieces. This is really a great track. The fourth track "Jane Seymour" is a classical symphonic piece of music composed for a church organ. It's a fantastic musical piece where Wakeman demonstrates how great his virtuosity as a keyboardist. Here we can see clearly the influences of Johan Sebastian Bach, the master composer of the classical music of the Baroque period. The church organ was recorded at St Giles-without-Cripplegate church, in London. The fifth track "Anne Boleyn" is another fantastic and brilliant melancholic song with a mixture of many keyboard styles, played by several keyboard instruments, with lots of changes and a splendid choir work, and where the music flows beautifully. This is a lovely and soft song especially performed by acoustic piano that gives it a more sophisticated feel and a certain type of class. In the end, Wakeman plays a lovely piano rendition of the hymn "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended". The sixth track "Catherine Parr" is the song that completes perfectly and wonderfully this album. It's a very dynamic song combining magnificently the keyboard working with an excellent drum working. I also want to highlight the presence of the mellotron with its majestic sound which gives an ambient of a choir all over the song.

Conclusion: "The six Wives Of Henry VIII" is a classic progressive album and an unavoidable evergreen presence of the progressive rock of the 70's. It's usually accepted that this is his better and most fine musical work in his huge and prolific solo career. It's also one of my first contacts, in the 70's, with his music, together with "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table", "Lisztomania" and "No Earthly Connection". As I said before, this is Wakeman's personal interpretation of the musical characteristics of the six wives of Henry VIII. As I don't know exactly the personality traits of those historical figures, I'm not sure if he could interpret them well or not, with the keyboard instruments. So, the only thing I can say is that "The six Wives Of Henry VIII" is a completely instrumental musical work of the highest quality and an indispensable album especially for those, like me, who love the superb analogue keyboard workings. This is really an album with a very impressive set of tracks.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 2005
3.90 | 12 ratings

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Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

It is safe to say that I am a fan of Rick Wakeman, and listen to his solo albums far more than I do of any of the bands or projects he has been involved with during his long career. Of course, even with his solo works there are many different versions, and I have seen him play live with a full-on rock band as well as seeing him just sat at a grand piano. This is far closer to the latter than the former, as in 2001 he was given the opportunity to spend a day at Lincoln Cathedral playing their organ, and this is the result. The music was written specifically for the instrument itself, and apparently "is based around a combination of fixed notation and improvisation fuelled by pure emotion".

For anyone who was brought up in a traditional church as I was, there is just something about the sound and power of a pipe organ which is quite awe-inspiring. This is a long way removed from his New Age series of albums, yet is also very different from much of his canon as well, as he has brought into this quite a hymnal approach to the music. More Handel, than Mozart or Ravel. This isn't an album that is going to appeal to many progheads, but for someone like me who was raised listening to religious organ and piano music, then this is wonderful. Rick isn't a master of this type of instrument, and I can hear him struggling at times, especially when he trying to bring the pedals to bear, but that adds to the joy of this for me. I can see Rick in my mind, with his eyes closed, at one with the music he is performing, and this is an album to which I will often be returning.

 The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD) by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover DVD/Video, 2009
3.84 | 54 ratings

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The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD)
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Andre the Aeropagite

5 stars When I bought both DVD and the CD I was a little skeptic at the time. I must admit that usually I am not keen on new releases. I rather prefer the old stuff, but certainly was a surprise when I Watched and realised the masterful performance put by Wakeman with his guests. What a superb show! The DVD/CD sound, the production, the recording, the presentation about the wives by Brian Blessed, the band, the orchestra...everything is excellent. Some songs really stand out, such as "Jane Seymour", "Catherine Parr" and "Anne of Cleves"... they sound stronger than the studio recordings. I strongely recomend not only to Wakeman fans, but also to any fan of classical music or rock.

Ratings: 1. Henry's Fanfare 2. Tudorture "1485" *- 7/10 3. Catherine Of Aragon - 9,5/10 - the orchestra make a nice adiction to the song. 4. Kathryn Howard - 8/10 5. Jane's Prelude 6. Jane Seymour - 9,5/10 - Beautiful work by wakeman in the church organ, better than the studio version. 7. Defender Of The Faith - 8,0 /10 8. Katherine Parr - 9,5/10 - better than the studio version, with a great performance by drummer Tony Fernandez. 9. Anne Of Cleves - 9,5/10 - also better than the studio recording, the keyboard in this track is awesome. I really like the percussion in this music... Kudos to the great Ray Cooper! 10. Anne Boleyn 8/10 11. Tudorock * 12. Tudorture "1485" Reprise * - 7/10

 The Six Wives Of Henry VIII by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.08 | 720 ratings

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The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Andre the Aeropagite

5 stars According to most fans, this is Rick Wakeman best work in his solo carreer. In fact, there is not a single weak track in this masterpiece. I can only imagine if Wakeman had recorded this with Jon Anderson as a Yes album... could it be even better? Anyway, the team he assmbled to this recording is great, with a bunch of yes members: Chris squire, Alan white, Bill Bruford and Steve Howe all join the keyboard wizard in this legendary album. I also strongely recomend to check out the 2005 live album "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace".It is awesome.

Individual scores: 1. Catherine of Aragon - 9,5/10 - the opening track is also my favourite one. Wakeman plays with a spanish style and squire with his usual class in the bass guitar. The moog is simply awesome. 2. Anne of Cleves - 9,0/10 - starts with a somewhat disturbing keyboard line and change to a fast track with drums. Second best song in my opinion. 3. Catherine Howard - 7,0,/10 4. Jane Seymour - 8,5/10 - beautiful work by wakeman in a church organ. 5. Anne Boleyn (Incl. 'The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended') - 7/10 - my least favourite track 6. Catherine Parr - 8,5 /10 - excelent drumming with a killer performance by wakeman make this song a classic.

 Return To The Centre Of The Earth by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.53 | 141 ratings

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Return To The Centre Of The Earth
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 89

"Return To The Centre Of The Earth" is the fifty-sixth studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1999. The line up on the album is Rick Wakeman, Justin Hayward, Katrina Leskanich, Tony Mitchell, Ozzy Osbourne, Trevor Rabin, Bonnie Tyler, Fraser Thornrycroft-Smith, Phil Williams, Simon Hanson, Patrick Stewart, the London Symphonic Orchestra conducted by David Snell and the English Chamber Choir conducted by Guy Protheroe.

For almost 30 years, Wakeman has been slogging it out as one of the preeminent keyboardists in rock, notably as an off and on member of Yes. Along with ELP's Keith Emerson and Deep Purple's Jon Lord, Wakeman brought the keyboards to the frontline of the band. Emerson and Lord barely strayed away from the confines of their respective group situations, but Wakeman has continually forged ahead, composing full conceptual pieces in which his keyboard navigates makeshift ensembles of rock players around full blown orchestras and choirs. During the early 70's, Wakeman lodged these musical experimentations with classic allegory. With historical accuracy, he boldly released "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" and "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur and The Knights Of The Round Table".

But, perhaps his most well received album, however, was based and titled after the classic Jules Verne tale, "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth". As you can recall, "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" is a conceptual album based on Verne's eponymous science fiction novel with the same name. "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" tells us the story of professor Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans. As the music is dotted by telling the story based on Verne's novel, there was need to have a narrator in a prominent position. Wakeman performed "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" with the London Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Choir and a hand full of musicians.

"Return To The Centre Of The Earth" apparently took three years to plan and tells the story of three explorers seeking the retrace the steps of Verne's intrepid voyager, professor Lidenbrock. He got into trouble trying to follow the path, after read the manuscript by Arne Saknussemm. These three guys, two centuries forward from that discovery, coming back to the path of the original expedition and embark on another fantastic adventure. As with "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", the music is also endowed with a narrator in a very prominent position, by telling the story based on Verne's novel. Wakeman also performs "Return To The Centre Of The Earth" with the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir, beyond a handful of musicians and singers, "The Dream Team" as he called it.

Despite "Return To The Centre Of The Earth" be a sequel of "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", it doesn't completely follow the same structure of it. This time we are in presence of a studio recording instead of a live album. It features a large number of separate songs performed by several guest vocalists. The original "Journey" took about thirty-six minutes and the "Return" take more than the twice of that. While on "Journey" the narration was brief, on "Return" the narration is present on the tracks to explain the adventure as if we were hearing a talking book.

"Return To The Centre Of The Earth" isn't an effort on Wakeman's part to become a classical composer. He is here with what he has been all along. Although, I will say that Wakeman's personal playing on "Return" is a bit less over the top than his 70's work. Some people will appreciate this, and others will be marginally disappointed. I found that the blending of all the elements here are different than what Wakeman achieved in the 70's, primarily because his playing is slightly less grandiose and less of a focal point. Maybe he blends it a bit better. There are plenty of grand flourishes and rising crescendos that are part of the symphonic rock oeuvre. The story is very cinematic and the music matches the excitement and drama much as you would expect from a movie score, only here there is no movie to distract you from the scenes your mind creates, as you hear the narration and listen to the music. But, I like it anyway a lot. I always had a soft spot for grandiose combinations of rock and symphony. Throw in a choir and things get even better.

Conclusion: "Return To The Centre Of The Earth", is a great achievement. Together with other gifted musicians, Rick has proven the world that good quality music will never die. EMI gave Rick the possibility to do this project. With a visualizing and breathtaking narration, this album takes you all the way to the "centre of the earth". Every song is very well balanced between the relaxed and heavy rock songs. The solos are pure ecstasy and Rick plays the good old Moog like no one. This album is a great blend between classical and rock music, the melodies are complex, the recording is of the best quality and the singers are all great. Let's all hope that he will from now on get more opportunities to do projects like these. If you don't own this album you're missing a big part of Rick's best working.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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

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