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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)

4.13 | 924 ratings
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
1973
3.62 | 569 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
1975
2.58 | 149 ratings
Lisztomania (OST)
1975
3.75 | 290 ratings
No Earthly Connection
1976
3.29 | 171 ratings
White Rock
1977
3.79 | 301 ratings
Criminal Record
1977
2.55 | 152 ratings
Rhapsodies
1979
3.41 | 170 ratings
1984
1981
2.61 | 48 ratings
The Burning (OST)
1981
1.65 | 58 ratings
Rock N' Roll Prophet
1982
2.60 | 50 ratings
G'Olé ! (OST)
1983
2.58 | 56 ratings
Cost Of Living
1983
2.56 | 34 ratings
Crimes Of Passion (OST)
1984
2.88 | 28 ratings
Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond the Planets
1984
2.39 | 50 ratings
Silent Nights
1985
3.24 | 48 ratings
Country Airs - Piano Solos
1986
3.18 | 34 ratings
The Gospels
1987
1.77 | 25 ratings
The Family Album
1987
3.36 | 51 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Ramon Remedios: A Suite Of Gods
1988
2.18 | 39 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Tony Fernandez: Zodiaque
1988
2.60 | 43 ratings
Time Machine
1988
3.42 | 33 ratings
Sea Airs
1989
2.73 | 42 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV
1989
3.12 | 32 ratings
Night Airs
1990
2.13 | 21 ratings
In The Beginning
1990
2.55 | 23 ratings
Phantom Power (OST)
1990
2.51 | 30 ratings
Aspirant Sunrise
1990
2.58 | 29 ratings
African Bach
1990
2.27 | 11 ratings
A World Of Wisdom
1991
2.01 | 35 ratings
Aspirant Sunset
1991
3.22 | 27 ratings
Aspirant Sunshadows
1991
3.26 | 39 ratings
Softsword
1991
2.43 | 40 ratings
2000 A.D. Into The Future
1991
3.06 | 22 ratings
The Classical Connection 2
1991
3.40 | 25 ratings
The Classical Connection
1991
3.45 | 31 ratings
Country Airs (1992)
1992
2.89 | 38 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.76 | 20 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.75 | 27 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: No Expense Spared
1993
2.95 | 27 ratings
Heritage Suite
1993
3.74 | 22 ratings
Prayers
1993
3.59 | 28 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: Romance Of The Victorian Age
1994
3.09 | 29 ratings
Cirque Surreal
1995
3.21 | 40 ratings
The Seven Wonders Of The World
1995
2.20 | 16 ratings
Visions [Aka: Visions Of Paradise]
1995
3.00 | 28 ratings
Fields Of Green
1996
1.27 | 13 ratings
The Word And Music
1996
2.59 | 13 ratings
Orisons
1996
3.43 | 23 ratings
Can You Hear Me ?
1996
3.10 | 22 ratings
The New Gospels
1996
2.47 | 17 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Vignettes
1996
3.20 | 20 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Tapestries
1996
2.94 | 17 ratings
The Natural World Trilogy
1997
2.71 | 30 ratings
Tribute To The Beatles
1997
3.23 | 22 ratings
Themes
1998
3.54 | 170 ratings
Return To The Centre Of The Earth
1999
3.66 | 37 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Stella Bianca Alla Corte Di Re Ferdinando
1999
2.79 | 15 ratings
Art in Music Trilogy
1999
2.46 | 31 ratings
White Rock II
1999
3.79 | 28 ratings
Preludes To A Century
2000
3.28 | 18 ratings
Chronicles Of Man
2000
3.27 | 20 ratings
Christmas Variations
2000
2.96 | 16 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2000
3.21 | 15 ratings
Classical Variations
2001
3.60 | 54 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes
2001
3.24 | 19 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lisztomania
2002
3.53 | 36 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes, Volume II
2002
2.62 | 25 ratings
Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird
2002
3.72 | 20 ratings
The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams
2002
3.83 | 127 ratings
Out There
2003
3.09 | 63 ratings
Retro
2006
3.33 | 38 ratings
Retro 2
2007
2.94 | 25 ratings
Always With You
2010
3.82 | 119 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2012
4.00 | 64 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
2016
1.80 | 5 ratings
The Rainbow Suite
2016
3.19 | 12 ratings
The Phantom Of The Opera (OST)
2017
3.42 | 36 ratings
Piano Portraits
2017
3.33 | 15 ratings
Piano Odyssey
2018
3.81 | 216 ratings
The Red Planet
2020
3.43 | 42 ratings
Rick Wakeman & the English Rock Ensemble: A Gallery of the Imagination
2022

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

3.76 | 419 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
1974
4.26 | 23 ratings
"The King Arthur" Concert
1976
3.65 | 35 ratings
Live at Hammersmith
1985
2.83 | 12 ratings
Unleashing the Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour
1994
3.00 | 13 ratings
Live on the Test (1976)
1994
3.10 | 11 ratings
Wakeman with Wakeman Live
1994
3.95 | 21 ratings
Rick Wakeman In Concert KBFH
1995
2.16 | 6 ratings
Almost Live in Europe
1995
3.91 | 16 ratings
The Piano Album - Live
1995
3.88 | 5 ratings
Rock & Pop Legends
1995
3.67 | 12 ratings
Simply Acoustic - The Music
1997
2.86 | 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
3.75 | 16 ratings
The Legend - Live in Concert 2000
2000
4.46 | 29 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
4.00 | 8 ratings
Banda Sinfonica Jovem Do Estado De São Paulo
2004
3.74 | 16 ratings
Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral
2005
3.85 | 11 ratings
Live At The BBC
2007
4.17 | 60 ratings
The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Live at Hampton Court Palace
2009
4.25 | 16 ratings
In The Nick of Time - Live In 2003
2012
3.92 | 6 ratings
Access All Areas
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fear of Love
2023
4.47 | 7 ratings
Live at the London Palladium 2023
2024

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

4.04 | 4 ratings
Simply Acoustic (VHS)
1996
3.68 | 15 ratings
The Legend Live in Concert 2000 [Aka: An Evening with Rick Wakeman] (DVD)
2000
3.97 | 22 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 | 17 ratings
Made In Cuba (DVD)
2005
3.21 | 5 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
1.86 | 5 ratings
The Otherside of Rick Wakeman
2007
4.32 | 10 ratings
Swedish Television Special 1980
2008
3.06 | 8 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show
2008
3.84 | 63 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD)
2009
4.80 | 5 ratings
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano
2010

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

2.20 | 36 ratings
Piano Vibrations
1971
5.00 | 4 ratings
20th Anniversary (Limited Edition)
1988
1.12 | 6 ratings
Chronicles - The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman
1992
2.33 | 3 ratings
Best Works Collection
1992
3.33 | 12 ratings
The Classic Tracks
1993
2.13 | 20 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
2.58 | 7 ratings
The Masters
1999
3.79 | 10 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
2.00 | 4 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
3.76 | 17 ratings
Starship Trooper
2016

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

3.80 | 5 ratings
Catherine
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Love's Dream (with Roger Daltrey)
1975
3.00 | 1 ratings
After The Ball
1977
2.50 | 2 ratings
Animal Showdown
1979
3.10 | 2 ratings
Birdman Of Alcatraz
1979
1.00 | 1 ratings
Swan Lager
1979
1.47 | 12 ratings
I'm So Straight I'm A Weirdo
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Spider
1980
4.00 | 2 ratings
Julia
1981
3.00 | 1 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 | 3 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
4.00 | 1 ratings
Fields of Green
1997
4.00 | 3 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
 Live at the London Palladium 2023 by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 2024
4.47 | 7 ratings

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Live at the London Palladium 2023
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For once all that praise seems justified: this is one hell of a live album! Hate Rick Wakeman? Then don't bother. Like his best albums? Then by all means give this a spin, since Rick really takes his old tunes to a higher level. Admittedly, his new approach does not ALWAYS work. In THE SIX WIVES, there's the odd passage where the original studio recording sounded subtle and moving while the new one merely sounds brash. Nevertheless, most of the new interpretations happily carried me along. On the CLASSIC YES disc, 'Starship Trooper' is drawn out too long - but don't let that deter you: 'And You and I' gets played so beautifully it brought tears to my eyes. To a large extent, the success of that Yes disc (and of this 4-CD set as a whole) is due to the vocal talents of Hayley Sanderson, a very soulful singer whose voice reminded me a little of Tina Turner's. Take JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH, for example. In its original 1970s incarnation the album always seemed amateurish to me, partly because the two male vocalists were so melodramatic. Hayley Sanderson, on the other hand, sounds wonderfully earthy, and it's bizarre-but-highly-exciting to hear her against the background of the (sometimes eerie, sometimes rather churchy) English Chamber Choir. (Together with that same choir, she also gives a wonderfully rousing performance of 'Lancelot and the Black Knight'.) Another thing that makes the new JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH so special is the fact that Mr Wakeman's 'English Rock Ensemble' rocks harder than ever! Lee Pomeroy is probably the most gifted bassist Rick ever used, Dave Colquhoun delivers the most amazing power chords throughout (he also gets a chance to deliver some blistering solos) and because there are TWO virtuoso keyboard players in the band, there's no need for the strings or brass of an old-fashioned symphony orchestra. You could even say this new JOURNEY sounds proggier than ever, since an entire orchestra is expertly 'realised' by a five man rock band.
 Live at the London Palladium 2023 by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 2024
4.47 | 7 ratings

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Live at the London Palladium 2023
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This is brilliant!

It's been quite a road, a tremendous, unique, prolific career from a man who this year (2024) is turning 75 years old, a man who has created fantasy through the years, with over 100 album releases, several tours, some books, seems we are witnessing the ending of an extraordinary story.

Rick Wakeman is not only a musician to me, nor the keyboard wizard, his importance is beyond my own comprehension, and I am really grateful I chose his art, his music, his persona, as a crucial source of inspiration.

Well, last year (2023) he offered two amazing and memorable concerts at the London Palladium, a place with a special meaning to him, and I am sure, to a lot of his fans. These shows were divided in two sets, where he, his band and a choir delivered outstanding performances of three of Wakeman's most iconic albums, as well as some legendary Yes tunes. Though one could think this is not new, I was impressed with the result, because no matter the extension of his career, he is still capable of reimagine and recreate his own works with such a remarkable audacity, so the attendees and the listeners can have a unique experience.

For this event Mr. Wakeman gathered low-profile but top-notch musicians who have been working with him in the last few years, a great group named The English Rock Ensemble where we can appreciate the talent of Hayley Sanderson on vocals, Dave Colquhoun on guitars, Lee Pomeroy on bass, Adam Falkner on drums, and last but not least, his son, great musician and long-time collaborator, Adam Wakeman on keyboards and guitar. But this is not it, because this time he wanted to boost the experience with a choir, and though we might be used to hear an orchestra in several of his studio and live works, what The English Chamber Choir, conducted by Guy Protheroe add here is amazing, colorful, extraordinary.

This live release consists of 4 discs, each one representing one of the albums / eras performed. The first night delivered The Six Wives of Henry VIII (disc 1) and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (disc 2), while the second brought some Yes tunes (disc 3) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (disc 4).

Yeah, those songs have been played by him for ages, however, here they sound amazing because of its unique arrangements, the choir, the musicians, the emotions. While listening to it I felt a connection not only to my own memories or fantasies, but also to the band and even to the attendants. The sound is magical, of course Rick is still a monster and a wizard, but every single member of the ensemble adds their quite valuable grain of sand, and we can notice it in different passages. The concerts are emotional, fantastic, just like Wakeman's career.

I'd like to invite you to listen to it because this is just a brief and not detailed review, but let me tell you that despite having listened to these songs thousands times, these performances surprised me in a very, very positive way, and when a musician this old and legendary still surprises you, wow, you just have to smile and embrace the emotions.

Amazing!

 Fields Of Green by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.00 | 28 ratings

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Fields Of Green
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Progressive Heart

3 stars Rick Wakeman is indeed an iconic figure in the music scene, known both for his prolific output and creative genius. His remarkable ability to release such a vast number of albums over the years is truly noteworthy and demonstrates his unwavering commitment to music. In the 1990s, specifically, his prolific output of 37 studio albums and 9 live albums is an extraordinary achievement in itself. Among this extensive discography, "Fields Of Green" stands out as one of Wakeman's finest works during that period, being an album that encapsulates not only Wakeman's exceptional technical skill as a keyboardist and composer but also his ability to create emotive and immersive soundscapes that resonate with the listener on a deep level.

Fields Of Green does not have influences from the New Age genre like some other albums from the same period, although at many points it also isn't far from it. After all, at many moments the album presents elements that echo some of the qualities found in New Age music, such as ethereal atmospheres, serene textures, and a sense of tranquil contemplation. It's remarkable how Wakeman shows incredible dynamics and skill on his keyboards throughout all the tracks of "Fields Of Green." His ability to create intricate and emotive arrangements adds an extra layer of depth and richness to the compositions, elevating the album to an even higher level of musical excellence.

"Starship Trooper," this version of a Yes classic brings a special spotlight to Wakeman's unparalleled keyboard skills, offering a fresh perspective on the track. Purists may argue that the original version of "Starship Trooper" carries an irreplaceable magic, however, this reinterpretation has opened a new portal, especially for those who crave an extra dose of Wakeman's musical mastery. In summary, it's an invitation for both long-time Yes devotees and newcomers to the progressive rock universe to explore a different facet of a classic.

"The Promise Of Love" begins with an atmosphere of suspense and anticipation that gradually transforms into a powerful and deeply emotional rock ballad. The female vocals add a layer of sweetness and vulnerability to the piece, skillfully contrasting with the intensity of the guitars and the strength of the melody. It wasn't a song that caught me initially, but after a few listens, it became a charming track. As always, Wakeman's keyboards add moments of brilliance and depth that further elevate the listening experience.

"The Spanish Wizard" is a track that delivers an intriguing fusion of elements from dramatic hard rock and some fine and catchy textures. The guitar lines are great, conveying intensity that establishes a solid foundation for the musical narrative. It doesn't have any kind of intricate arrangement or virtuosic instrumental maneuver, but it works well.

'The Never Ending Road' tt's undeniable that the solos and instrumental segments performed by Rick Wakeman are skillful and technically solid. However, the composition as a whole seems not to reach the expected potential. The lack of originality and the feeling that the music is dragging on without a clear purpose for almost 9 minutes is one of its main issues. Perhaps it would work better if it were half its length.

'The Fighter its first second of guitar, there's a possibility to relate a Rick Wakeman song to 'Alive' by Pearl Jam ' remember, I'm just talking about the very first second of music, okay? Unlike the previous track, "The Fighter" represents a step forward in terms of energy and dynamism. Rick Wakeman's solos, as usual, are the highlight of the song, it's through these solos that some progressive essence can be felt along with its hard rock atmosphere.

'Tell Me Why' emerges as a ballad that aligns with catchy melody AOR. At first, it might seem like it will fall into the same generic field as 'The Never Ending Road", but it goes beyond that, delivering good guitar lines and keyboards that add a layer of sophistication and texture to the music, complementing the melodic vibe.

"The Rope Trick" stands out as a track that strongly evokes the characteristic sound of 80s rock, even reminiscent of the band Survivor. The guitar line adds a dose of energy and intensity to the track, while an engaging mix of catchy melodies and very good chord progressions gives it plenty of dynamics. A song that captures the essence of 80s rock very well.

"The Niceman" begins with an atmospheric texture that immediately captures the listener's attention, quickly transitioning to a more playful and energetic line, marking a shift from the initial ambiance to something more dynamic and vibrant. Asserting that this song leans more towards hard rock than progressive rock isn't surprising, given the trend observed in previous tracks. Excellent guitar and keyboard lines give the track a special flavor.

"Fields of Green" is the closing track of the album, marking a smooth transition into more progressive territory, distinguishing itself from the previous tracks with its more reflective and emotional approach. It's very beautiful and has excellent moments, but, although I don't usually - with few exceptions - take issue with the track order of an album, I'm not sure if this one is in the right place, making it somewhat disappointing in terms of concluding an album.

While not the ideal starting point for those venturing into Rick Wakeman's vast musical universe for the first time, "Fields of Green" represents a less explored yet valuable aspect of the keyboardist's career. For fans already familiar with Wakeman's most acclaimed works, here lies an opportunity to delve deeper and discover new facets of his artistic expression. For music aficionados seeking a more comprehensive understanding of Wakeman's art, "Fields of Green" serves as a reminder that beyond the grand peaks, there are serene and beautiful valleys to be explored. This album invites the listener to appreciate the subtle details and depth that reside in these less prominent works.

In summary, while "Fields of Green" may not boast the audacity of Wakeman's other albums, it offers an interesting musical experience in its own way. For those willing to dive beyond the recognized classics, there are valuable rewards to be discovered in this and other lesser-known "worlds" of Wakeman.

 The Otherside of Rick Wakeman by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover DVD/Video, 2007
1.86 | 5 ratings

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The Otherside of Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Ash Charlton

1 stars It's alright I suppose. I would say this is for completists only: it's part playing old Yes/Wakeman favourites on the piano, part chat with a pub-type audience. The chat is great, Rick is an amazing raconteur and always worth listening to (though, be warned, he loves to be seen as a bit of a lad and non-PC which isn't to everyone's taste), but the music is the same Easy Listening versions of stuff he's been touting for ages.

Rick is capable or creating magnificent and inspiring music, but I never find these 'piano only' versions work well, not even for pieces written for piano like 'Birdman'. On the original album this is one of my favourite pieces of music ever (and I listen to and love a LOT of classical piano music, so there's stiff competition!) but this version is very New Age Piano music, which is lovely in its place, but not what I come to Rick Wakeman for. The songs are just disappointment after disappointment for me.

I find the more conventional songs like 'Morning Has Broken' and 'Life on Mars' particularly disappointing. Rick's accompaniment to Cat Stevens and David Bowie is amazing, but stripped of the voices and lyrics of those distinctive singers you've just got a couple of melodies repeated for three minutes each.

 Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 1974
3.76 | 419 ratings

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Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rick Wakeman was at a stellar moment when he embarked on the ambitious challenge of musically recreating Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864). With the successful "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" under his belt and his decisive contribution to Yes still resonating, and, like his music, habitually passing along the paths of grandiloquence and virtuosity, Wakeman sumptuously approaches this project, summoning the prestigious "The London Symphony Orchestra" and "The English Chamber Choir", accompanied by a rock band conceived for the occasion. Divided into two major segments, the album is narrated by the actor David Hemmings as the main thread of the fantastic adventures of the German professor Lindbrook, his nephew Alex and the guide Hans on their way to the centre of the earth.

The departure of the adventurous trio from Hamburg to the summit of the extinct volcano Sneffels Yokul (Iceland) and their perilous descent is described in "The Journey", where after an orchestral introduction accompanied by a heavenly choir (as in most of the work), Wakeman's moog opens the way for the peaceful singing of Garry Pickford- Hopkins; and all the landscapes inside the volcano and the anguish of the uncertain return are represented in "Recollection" by a machine-gunned opening synthesizer, an intense rock section crowned by Mike Egan's very good guitar solo, and the dramatic orchestration that closes the first segment.

The best moments are in the second half, with the melodic opening notes of Wakeman's harpsichord accompanied by the band in the excellent rendition of the fierce battle of two huge sea monsters in "The Battle" to the terrified presence of the adventurers, and with the revelatory discovery of a remote civilisation in "The Forest" and Ashley Holt's demanding singing underpinned by Wakeman's misty, splendid keyboard and a choir more celestial and dramatic than ever. One of the best passages on the album, if not the best. The last few minutes of the work run in a smooth ambience that exchanges the protagonism of the orchestration with the keyboards and the moog, at times overused, until its epic ending.

"Journey to the Centre of the Earth", loved by fans of the genre and not so much by its detractors, is one of the high points in the discography of the English musician, and reaffirmed him as one of the pioneers in the use of synthesizers for symphonic rock.

3.5/4 stars

 Criminal Record by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.79 | 301 ratings

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Criminal Record
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Returning to the musical and conceptual path of "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", Rick Wakeman uses the dark theme of crime and villainy, combining real and not so real stories, to release his sixth studio album, "Criminal Record". Pressed by a complicated financial situation related to tax issues and the costly staging of pompous live tours that hardly left any income, Wakeman didn't have much budgetary leeway for this new adventure, which is why the album is generally perceived as a less ambitious and more earthy proposal in relation to his previous works.

The six pieces that make up "Criminal Record" attempt to describe sordid situations, without transmitting them instrumentally with all the rawness that they imply. But there are some very good passages to highlight, such as the epic beginning that Wakeman makes with keyboards and synthesizers in "Chamber of Horrors", seconded in the development by Chris Squire's bass and Alan White's characteristic drums, or also the melancholic notes overlaid on classical piano in "Birdman of Alcatraz", one of the Englishman's most delicate and beautiful melodies, or the anecdotal detail that the comedian Bill Oddie contributes in exaggerated and satirical soul mode in the foggy "The Breathalyser" or, above all, the extensive "Judas Iscariot", the most complex piece on the album, where Wakeman makes use of the pipe organ of St. Martin's Church (Vevey) and the choirs of the Ars Laeta Choir of Lausanne to generate a piercing and dramatic atmosphere that the moog amplifies and accompanies, closing the album.

"Criminal Record" shows that Wakeman's keyboard skills were intact, but this time in a quieter and less grandiloquent way, and is probably one of the last works to be included in his most representative discography.

3/3.5 stars

 No Earthly Connection by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 290 ratings

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No Earthly Connection
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Without being a full-fledged conceptual work, "No Earthly Connection", Rick Wakeman's third studio album without counting the soundtrack "Lisztomania", reflects on the human being and the myth of his existence based on music and the possibility of extraterrestrial life referenced through a fictitious spaceman. The futuristic cover that shows the distorted image of the musician and an imperceptible keyboard corrected in the reflection of an aluminised paper, serves as a starting point to enter into the spirit of the work.

Composed of five sections, the suite "Music Reincarnate" is the backbone of the album, featuring the initial and innumerable overlapping layers of Wakeman's infallible moog in the choppy "The Warning", the beautiful and splendid "The Maker" with the classical piano and the curtain of mellotrons caressed by Ashley Holt's voice, the sorrowful "The Realisation" and its theatrical performance with the trumpets and trombones of Martyn Shields and Reg Brooks, and the verses sung by Holt on the hypnotic and astral journey of "The Reaper" (a gem in Wakeman's discography), including flashes taken from the previous pieces. "Music Reincarnate" concludes circularly, with the same moog layers with which it began.

And without carrying the pomposity and grandiloquence of "Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight" from the predecessor "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table", the album's fantastic second piece "The Prisoner" features a similar structure, less orchestrated but just as dizzying, where Roger Newell's energetic bass, Tony Fernandez's consistent drumming and John Dunsterville's acoustic guitars underpin the dynamic melody for Wakeman's virtuosic display of crystalline clavinet sounds. The lilting "The Lost Circle" closes the work by rounding off the idea of the probable existence of life outside this planet.

The 2016 40th anniversary reissue brings with it a concert at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1976 recorded by the BBC, with a very good sound and a rich selection of songs, highly recommended.

Despite not having achieved greater popularity or widespread recognition, "No Earthly Connection" is one of Wakeman's finest creations and an inescapable classic in his discography.

4 stars

 The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.62 | 569 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 Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For his second studio album as a solo artist, "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table", which captures events and characters from the life of the legendary king from his fabled ascent to the throne until his death, Rick Wakeman fuses his usual artillery of keyboards and rock instruments with orchestral grandiloquence, generating that epic, medieval atmosphere that accompanies the work as it unfolds; And, unlike the instrumental debut album "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", this time it is accompanied by a loquacious narrative in the powerful voices of Ashley Holt and Gary Pickford Hopkins.

The orchestration takes on special relevance in pieces such as the opening and descriptive "Arthur", the vertiginous and remarkable "Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight" (the best track on the album), or the choral "Sir Galahad", where Wakeman masterfully incorporates classical pianos and the exuberance of the moog, instrument that also takes a leading role along with the harpsichord and Roger Newell's defiant bass in the mesmerising "Merlin the Magician", a piece that also adds unexpected and contrasting elements taken from the Charleston. And amidst the stories of the knights and their fierce battles, the delicate "Guinevere" pauses to introduce Arthur's wife with a beautiful and accessible melody guided by classical piano, synthesizers and the melancholy effect of mellotrons, supported by a gentle chorus, acoustic chords and Jeffrey Crampton's guitar solo.

The concluding, languid "The Last Battle" takes elements from all the previous tracks and harmonises them into an unhurried finale, which indulges in a prolonged instrumental build-up, sadly reviews the final days of Arthur's reign at the hands of the Saxons and orchestrally closes the album.

"The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table is one of Wakeman's most ambitious conceptual works. Although it is blamed for the overflowing virtuosity that the musician can sometimes use and abuse, it is one of the indispensable albums of his discography.

3.5/4 stars

 The Six Wives of Henry VIII by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 924 ratings

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The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With a reputation built up as a session musician, former member of The Strawbs, but above all for his fundamental contribution to the sound of the legendary Yes, Rick Wakeman decided to release his first solo album, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", in 1973. Taking the story of the wives of the controversial king at a time of reforms and profound political and religious transformations in 16th century England as a source of inspiration, the Englishman uses his excellent virtuosity to evoke each of the wives with his countless keyboards and the support of a large and renowned group of guest musicians.

From the chords of the melodic "Catherine of Aragon", Wakeman draws on instruments such as classical piano, hammonds, mellotrons and moogs, accompanied by a female choir that brings a halo of drama to the track, and continues more aggressively with the long, linear "Anne of Cleves" backed by Alan White and Frank Ricotti's relentless, pounding percussion. The album's finest moments come with the piano tunes of the beautiful, shifting "Catherine Howard" and the celestial solemnity of the baroque "Jane Seymour" and the soulful sonority of the organ of London's St. Gilles Cathedral, which Wakeman masterfully combines with the moog.

And after the volatile contrasts and instrumental variations that portray the most famous of the wives, the temperamental "Anne Boleyn" including a short hymn attributed by Wakeman to the 19th century composer Edward J. Hopkins, the album concludes with another great track a must in Wakeman's live repertoire, the intense "Catherine Parr" and its lilting back and forth keyboards, with a brief chorus and the melodramatic effect of the moogs underpinning the closing.

It's worth noting that fragments of the work are compiled in the six and a half minute superlative medley "Excerpts from The Six Wives...", contained on Yes' live album "Yessongs".

"The Six Wives of Henry VIII" is one of the best albums, if not the best, in Wakeman's vast discography, and conveys the luminous state of grace he was in at the time.

4/4.5 stars

 Glory Boys by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Glory Boys
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by MellotronBoy37

— First review of this album —
3 stars This is a prequel from Silent Nights from 1985.

I have the entire album on my cellphone and honestly, i like that album.

Right... About the songs, Glory Boys have a power Rock with a slow segment. The singer is not so bad, but nothing surpass Ashley Holt and your works on Journey, Arthur and Earthly. The opening is shining and melancholic.

Ghost of A Rock'n'Roll Star (Jethro Tull aspires the thematic of this song) is from a Phantom of Rock get to wish to return to the stages. The melody is interesting and the musical references (like a Jimi Hendrix) is so cool.

Elgin Mansions is a piano training. I feel this song should stay in one of the Airs Trilogy, but, the "rickrock" album have a necessity to have a different things...

Well, i never known a one single album have a differences from the integral album, but i think this don't have differences... (I need to check...)

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

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