Where are they now? - Rick Wakeman
This page last updated: 28 Apr 2016
On this page: Solo projects - Collaborations - Re-releases/archival releases - Media appearances, charity work etc.
On other pages: The
Anderson Wakeman Project - Anderson Rabin
Rick Wakeman's official
site: Rick Wakeman's
Communication Centre; Official
In his Jan 2016 GORR,
Wakeman talked of a new year's resolution "to actually finish off
as much as I can as regards projects that I had started and were
lying half completed", spurred on by the recent deaths of several
New solo releases
Wakeman is re-recording The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as a crowdfunded venture, including 5-6 new pieces ("Camelot", "The Holy Grail", "Morgan Le Fay", "Percival", "Princess Eleane" and, in a mid-Feb update, Wakeman said "It looks very likely that there will now be a 6th new piece as well"). Wakeman has also said that there will be no additional narration compared to the original album. This will make the new album 80 min.s in total, to be released as 2CD or 2LP. You can support the project on PledgeMusic. On the recording will be the English Rock Ensemble (the same line-up as on the Journey to the Centre of the Earth re-recording, except Lee Pomeroy is replaced by Matt Pegg on bass), the Orion Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir, with Guy Protheroe conducting (choral arrangements by Wakeman). Vocalists are Hayley Sanderson and Ashley Holt. The planned release date is 19 Jun 2016, the date of a planned live performance of the album: see below. The album with have new artwork by Roger Dean. Erik Jordan and Toby Wood are engineering. Fernandez, Pegg and Colquhon recorded parts in circa Mar 2016, with Sanderson and Holt to record vocals over the weekend of 9 Apr, followed by finishing parts by Wakeman, and then the English Chamber Choir record on 17 Apr. There will then be 3 days for recording the orchestra, final touches and then 3 weeks for mixing.
Emporium is his new online shop selling a range of
hard-to-find items, including CDs, DVDs and memorabilia. It will
also carry exclusive content, the "Exclusive Emporium Collection",
consisting of 2 new solo albums (a reduction
from the original plan of 6 albums). Due Apr 2016 is Movements,
a synth album. The second is due Nov 2016.
Wakeman has talked most recently of working an instrumental prog
album along similar lines to The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
He has also talked of a new piano album with son Adam.
In his Apr 2011 GORR, Wakeman said:
I am finishing off writing the music for a double CD of piano which we will be recording at The Granary on my favourite piano. 70% of the music has been recorded so we’re on the last stages now. Hopefully this will see the light of day around summertime.
He continued in his May 2011 GORR: "Quite a bit of recording
going on as well in May with Erik Jordan engineering for me as
always, whilst we finish off two piano albums that we have been
working on, (off and on), for nearly two years now. These will be
recorded at The Granary on my all time favourite Steinway concert
grand piano." In the Jun 2011 GORR, describing activity for that
month: "Jordan and myself will be finishing off the piano
recordings we have been doing at The Granary with my favourite
piano." And in the Aug GORR, Wakeman described finishing recording
on what is now three
piano albums, saying, "It’s possible they will be released in time
Another piano album of Yes music performed in a classical manner
was also announced as forthcoming but has yet to appear.
Following medical advice, Wakeman has again had to scale back live activity. He wrote in his Sep 2015 GORR:
I had quite a serious health scare just after Easter which necessitated my “culling” my diary quite drastically and although my health has improved and blood pressure heading the right way etc etc, it’s meant, that on advice, I have had to take a really close look at what is currently in for the rest of this year  and doing quite a lot more culling.
This includes postponing the planned WAKEmanFest to
2016. Plans had been for a 2.5-day event in Oct/Nov 2015 in
Lincolnshire, UK, organised by Rob Ayling (Gonzo
Multimedia, formerly Voiceprint). The current line up
had been to include: The
Cadbury Sisters (who supported Wakeman on recent touring),
Wakeman Cubed (Rick playing with two or more of his children), The Electric Strawbs
(with Wakeman guesting), Sir Henry of Rawlinson's End (with
Wakeman guesting), The London
Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra, Kevin Orkian, and Rick Wakeman
& The English Rock Ensemble (with Chrissie Hammond guesting).
All participants are expected to make the re-scheduled event, as
is Adam Wakeman.
Following Jan-Apr 2015 UK dates, the 'Yet another evening with
Rick Wakeman part 2' tour continues
with 18 UK dates 6
Feb-4 Jun 2016. The 9 Apr Hunstaton
show has sold out. Support will be by Prash. Wakeman also has
some upcoming benefit shows, one for children with Down's
syndrome and one in aid of autism. Rick and Adam Wakeman are
performing 4 shows
in London at the Steinway Festival, London, 11-12 Mar. Rick is
also playing at the Mick
Abrahams benefit show on 9 May 2016.
Wakeman is headlining the second day of the Stone Free Festival,
London, 19 Jun 2016, playing a 90 min. set including all of The
Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round
Table (and coinciding with the release of a new recording of
the album: see above), with support from
Marillion and Steve Hackett. Before then,
Wakeman and Brian May (Queen) guested on "a couple of pieces"
with Russ Ballard on
20 Jan in London.
There were 2 Wakeman with Wakeman shows 7-8 Dec 2015 in Beccles,
Norfolk, with Rick, Oliver
Wakeman, plus Emmie
Beckett. The 2016 shows are scheduled
for 16-7 Dec.
On 27 Sep 2015, Rick & Adam Wakeman were among those
performing at a Water
Rats Variety Show for charity in Margate. On 8 Oct 2015,
Rick performed at a concert by Tim Rice and Friends in Gateshead;
Emmie Beckett also sang "The Hymn" by
Wakeman and Rice (originally from Wakeman's 1984) at the
He played a solo piano concert in Vicenza, Italy on 24 Apr 2015. He returned to Italy for another solo concert on 8 Jul in Asti.Retiring from some touring and a new focus
After 40 years of concert tours
[...] he has called it quits.
Don't panic! Wakeman simply means no more touring, no more traipsing from gig to gig, giving the same concert night after night, sometimes as many as 140 in a year. He is not retiring.
"I wanted to do a lot more (musically). I want to be more (diverse) in the concerts I do," he told Reuters [...]
What that means is cutting back
to maybe 40 appearances a year.
His Sep 2011 GORR had this: "Although I have set a date of May
2014 to cut right back and not work 18 hours a day minimum 7 days
a week anymore, (It'll be 4/5 days a week instead), the next two
years are going to be more manic than ever, especially if most of
what's in the pipeline comes to fruition." And the Oct GORR began:
I’m about to head into one of
the busiest travelling periods I’ve had for years and it is
highly unlikely ever to happen again either! Much as I love
performing on stage, my love of hotel rooms and airplanes
dissipated about five years ago, but sometimes things happen
that means that personal rules have to be broken and the next
couple of months are such a period.
Other solo work
In memory of David Bowie, Wakeman performed a piano arrangement of "Life on Mars" for the BBC. He has now released "Life on Mars" b/w "Space Oddity" as a digital single in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support (out 22 Jan 2016; available in multiple countries). On 13 Feb, this was #3 in MP3 Albums on Amazon.co.uk. A CD release followed 16 Feb on RRAW (UK only), with a third track, "Always Together". This made #1 in the UK physical sales singles chart (19 & 26 Feb) and #33 in the singles sales chart (19 Feb). On 13 Feb, the CD single was #10 in Music on Amazon.co.uk (#4 in Rock, #7 in Pop), and it maintained #2 in Alternative Rock 13-18 Feb. David Bowie compilations with tracks with Wakeman have sold well in 2016: see details under Levin.
Wakeman was scheduled to do the score for "Hawk
the Hunter", a planned sequel to the 1980 fantasy film "Hawk
the Slayer", if the film secured funding through a planned
Kickstarter that started 30 Aug 2015. That Kickstarter was
unsuccessful and the project team are looking at possible next
In an Aug 2007 interview, he said, "I'm currently involved in a stage musical, two other films and a stage juggling show!" In a May 2005 report, Wakeman says that after ending live work in 2006, he "will concentrate on recording and writing for films wherever and whenever possible." In recent years, Wakeman has been doing some soundtrack work. He has been director of the music division at Write Good Films. IMDB.com report that Wakeman is doing the music for a UK film currently in production called "Out of Reach". In an Apr 2004 interview, he says, "I've got this soundtrack thing coming up", but no details were given. In his Christmas 2004 Newsletter, he says he hopes to do more film and TV work. In Apr 2005, Wakeman said he was doing music for an animated children's feature about Noah. He had previously said that he would finish recording of his "Noah" project (performed live with the English Chamber Choir in 1997), but I am unclear whether this is connected or not. In the Nov interview, he said he would like "to do more work with orchestras and choirs and also some more film scoring which I really enjoy."
In a Jan
interview, Wakeman said that there is a good chance that his
album The Wizard and the Forest of All Dreams will be
turned into a ballet. Early in 2001, Wakeman's newsletter
said: "[2001-2] will see Rick concentrating hard on getting major
projects off of the ground." This may include a new version of his
ballet "Killing Grounds", a.k.a. "Triumph of Death". In
Innerview, he says, "I'm also halfway through a ballet I've
been writing the music for off and on for four years." Wakeman has
been working on a follow-up to Hopesongs with music for
weddings and funerals, presumably again with Howard Prior. He was
planning some pieces with vocals from daughter Jemma;
and a keyboard concerto. He expressed the hope to record a "major
themed work" in conjunction with Italian television. In a Jul 2004
interview in Switzerland, Wakeman said: "I have a dream to have a
year off to do solo work and DVDs etc. However people ask me to do
TV shows, concerts, so the dream never happens." While touring
Cuba in Apr 2005, Wakeman said he hoped to return to Cuba several
times to work with local artists. He expanded on these comments in
"There were three or four very unique musicians [in Cuba] that I
have to say I would love to collaborate with in a recording. Very
unique styles and forms of writing that I think would fuse well
with my orchestral rock way of working, but only time will tell if
this is likely to happen."
Wakeman has been recording music for Starmus.
Collaborations & guest appearances
Wakeman guests on Billy Sherwood's forthcoming Citizen album—details on the main page. He has appeared on multiple other projects organised by Sherwood: see under Sherwood. Wakeman guests on a forthcoming project by Leon Alvarado: see main page for details (Sherwood also guests).
In Aug/Sep 2015, Wakeman was recording with
young soprano Emmie Beckett. This has included a version of
"Welcome a Star" (originally on Wakeman's The New Gospels),
released 4 Dec on CD and digitally by Hope Records via Nova
Distribution, with subsequent additional recording of orchestral
strings from the Orion Orchestra, acoustic guitar and the English
Chamber Choir. Tracks: "Welcome a Star", "Away in a Manger",
"Angels from the Realms of Glory". A percentage of profits is
being donated to Kids'n'
Cancer, that Wakeman and Beckett both support—indeed, they
first met at a Kids'n' Cancer fundraiser. The single peaked at #17
on the UK physical singles chart.
From 21 Sep 2015 onwards, Wakeman (with Erik Jordan engineering) was recording piano and organ on tracks for Armando Peralta (Twitter).
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In his Feb 2012 GORR, Wakeman said
that, "There is so much other stuff in the pipeline that I
will be trying to bring to fruition this month which
include a possible trio album with Tony Levin and Ian
Paice. Early stages of discussions with all concerned, but
looking very promising." Levin,
of course, played bass in ABWH and on Yes's Union, among many,
many other projects, while drummer Paice is in Deep Purple.
Wakeman is playing on all the tracks of La Bambola di Pezza,
the debut full studio album from Italian singer Valentina Blanca.
The album is largely written by Bruno Rubino (Fiaba) and
arranged by Wakeman. Two digital singles have been
released so far, both as by Valentina Blanca and Rick
Wakeman (written by Rubino, arranged by Wakeman). Title
track "La Bambola di Pezza" (4:30; with Blanca on vocals
and Wakeman on piano) was released in Jan 2013, while
"Volano le Farfalle" (4:32) followed Aug 2013. An album sampler
is on her
website and a video
for "La Bambola di Pezza" is on YouTube (filmed
& edited by Pierluigi
Cavarra; directed by Cavarra & Rubino). Wakeman
described working on a track for the project in Jan 2012
with engineer Erik Jordan. Cavarra said in Jan 2013 that a
number of tracks had been recorded, but he did not know
when the album was due.
Wakeman guests on piano on a forthcoming album by Kilty Town, consisting of Daniel Engle (octave mandolin, mandolin, guitar, fiddle) and well-known Yes fan Nic Caciappo (bodhran, percussion); the album is produced and recorded by another well-known Yes fan, Tim Morse (author of "Yes Stories", in Yes tribute band Parallels). Also performaing are Morse (keys, MIDI), Michael Martin Murphey (vocals), Ray Frank (guitar), Bret Bingham (vocal on "Norwegian Wood"), Annbjørg Lien (Hardanger fiddle) and her husband, Bjorn Ole Rasch (ex-Secret Garden; pump organ).
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Wakeman's 8 albums with A&M from the 1970s—The Six Wives of Henry VIII,
Journey to the Centre of
the Earth, The Myths and Legends of King
Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Lisztomania,
No Earthly Connection,
White Rock, Criminal Record and Rhapsodies—are being
remastered by Universal Records for a staggered
re-release, probably with bonus material. In the Apr 2014
issue of Prog, Wakeman said, "They've found some
additional stuff and it's a possibility the 'missing'
music from each might feature. [...] they're looking at
ideas for three-CD box sets, maybe eventually in vinyl."
Wakeman has been seeking a re-release for some years and
has previously talked of "lots of enhancements and
additions" and "additional bonus material". Six
Wives... and King Arthur... were first, out
Feb 2015. They are available on CD, CD/DVD, LP and
digitally. Six Wives... comes with three bonus
tracks: "Catherine of Aragon (First Mix 14/02/1973)",
"Anne Boleyn 'The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended' (Single
Edit)" and "Catherine Parr (Single Edit)". King
Arthur... doesn't have any bonus tracks. The DVDs
have new quadrophonic mixes of the albums, with that for Six
Wives... additionally having a 16 Jan 1973 Old
Grey Whistle Test performance of "Catherine Howard".
Journey follows 6 May 2016
in the UK, including a deluxe 2CD version and a
super-deluxe 3CD/1DVD box.
Esoteric Recordings are remastering some of Wakeman's
more recent back catalogue, with 2003's Out There
and the 2009 DVD "Live in Lugano" already out. Softsword
and Out of the Blue follow in Jun 2014. Two more
albums will follow every 2 months, with the complete list
of albums due being 2000AD—Into the Future,
Always with You, Almost Live in Europe, the
Art in Music trilogy, Fields of Green, In
the Nick of Time—Live in 2003 (this was previously
re-released in Mar 2012 by Music Fusion (Gonzo) as
MFVP128CD), Past, Present & Future, Phantom
Power, The Natural World trilogy, Tribute,
Wakeman with Wakeman (with Adam Wakeman), and White
Rock 2. Re-releases of Wakeman's 1980s solo albums
are also being considered, but require a separate deal.
Catalogue label Phoenix Music, in alliance with digital
rights company One Media, are planning a number of digital
compilations based on their recently acquired rights to
the Gut Records and Jet Star back catalogues, including
material by Wakeman.
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Wakeman presented ITV's Perspectives
on Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" in May 2015.
"Grumpy Old Rockstar", by Wakeman in collaboration with Martin Roach, was a collection of stories from his life. A second volume, "Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rock Star", followed. He has been working on a third volume, initially tentatively entitled "Even More Adventures from a Grumpy Old Rockstar". In his Jul 2011 GORR, he said he was close to finalising a deal for this third volume; and in the Oct 2011 GORR, this: "Whilst away on all overseas trips [solo shows in Slovakia, Anderson/Wakeman in North America, solo shows in South America] I like to keep myself occupied as I loathe hotel rooms and so the plan is to finish the third book in the Grumpy series which has a working title of "Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old RockStar Rants". I've been working on it for most of this year , (and some of last year  too), and, like the first two, contains ludicrous stories but with added rants along the way!" In Nov 2012, he tweeted about the need to finish writing the book. In the Jul 2005 interview, he said that he is going to write a book about Yes ("Grumpy Old Rockstar" only has a small amount of Yes content)—see details here.
Wakeman is a columnist for Prog. He was 8th in the
magazine's 2015 Readers' Poll in the Keyboards category (won by
Robert John Godfrey), while the cancellation of Wakemanfest was
7th in the 'Non-Event' category (topped by Chris Squire's
death). He continues with various speaking engagements. He also
said to Classic Rock that, "thanks to the television
exposure, I do a considerable amount of after-dinner speeches". In
the RWCC Winter Newsletter 2007, Wakeman said, "I'm very much
looking forward to producing various music books with duets for
piano as well as music for other instruments accompanied by piano.
This is very much a long-term project and hopefully by Easter ,
the first books will be available."
Wakeman has two record companies, Ambient Records and Hope
Records. Fintage Music have
announced a publishing and neighbouring rights administration deal
with Wakeman covering the administration of his rights outside of
North America, among other services.
Wakeman has been managed since approx. 2013
by Brian Lane (previously managed Yes, ABWH).
Lane is also now managing the Anderson, Rabin
& Wakeman band: see main page for details. Roger DeCourcey is
Wakeman's agent for TV, radio and corporate work (but not music).
Wakeman sits on the executive board of the Bob Moog
Memorial Fund, set up in Bob Moog's memory. He is
also an honorary director at Melling Sports Cars.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.