Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rick Wakeman - Songs of Middle Earth CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

2.63 | 38 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Don't blame Rick, but this is a sham

We need to approach this album from two completely different angles; the actions of the record company, and the music of Rick Wakeman.

Let's get the record company out of the way first. The statement on the front cover of this album that these tracks were "Inspired by the (book) The Lord of the Rings" is, to put it bluntly, false. How do we know this? Well because they tell us so themselves. If you look carefully at the small print on the reverse, you will see a notation stating that "The titles on this CD have been selected from, and previously released on "The seven wonders of the world" and "Heritage suite" by Rick Wakeman".

If you check Wakeman's official website, you will not find this album listed anywhere in his discography. You will however find a notation in the FAQs section explaining that "(This) is simply a licensed reissue of tracks .. which were renamed by the issuing company". Clearly, the record company felt that they would sell more copies of the album if they associated it with the Tolkien books which at the time were enjoying significant success through the blockbuster films based upon them.

Such slight of hand is surely sufficient to warrant proceeding no further, but out of respect for Rick, I shall continue to review the music contained herein, without any further reference to Tolkien's books (other than the titles allocated by the record company).

There are two distinct types of sound here. The assorted synth and keyboards used by Wakeman during the 90's on many of his one man albums, and the solo grand piano he used throughout a handful of releases. The four tracks which contain the latter are thus those selected from "Heritage suite". They are reflective, classically orientated pieces which offer a relaxed atmosphere while never challenging the listener. These tracks account for about a quarter of this compilation.

All the tracks from "Seven wonders" are here with the exception of "Colossus of Rhodes". Garfield Morgan's narratives are also omitted, as these of course would not make sense in this context! The pairings between the original titles and those used on this album can be easily identified through the track lengths. The tracks retain the same order, "Pharos of Alexandria" thus becoming "The shire" etc.

The "Seven wonders" compositions are reasonably strong in New Age terms, although the sounds are entirely predictable if you have heard any of Wakeman's new age releases from around this time.

In view of the deceit used in marketing this album, I am reluctant to recommend it at all. If the music interests you, it would be far more appropriate to go for the two albums which originally contained it.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this RICK WAKEMAN review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.