Where are they now? - Rick Wakeman
This page last updated: 15 Oct 2018
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; Twitter;
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
After the success of Piano Portraits, Wakeman has recorded two more piano albums, Live Portraits, now out, and Piano Odyssey (Sony Classical Records; formerly known as Piano Portraits Plus), out 12 Oct 2018 on CD (delayed from Sep) or 2LP. Tracks:
The album is with a string section and choir (who are mostly doing wordless vocals, although they do sing a few lyrics on "Roundabout" and "Bohemian Rhapsody"). Wakeman played a Steinway Model D grand piano throughout and shared conducting with Guy Protheroe. Engineering was by Erik Jordan and Toby Wood.
In his Jan 2018 GORR,
Wakeman wrote that, "The first part of the year is very much one
of preparation for recording of a new album, more details of which
will be in the next GORR as arrangements are currently being
finalised. [...] I am going to be spending much of January and
February locked in my music room and studio every day, writing and
recording as well as doing some orchestrations." Wakeman then said
in the Feb 2018 GORR:
I’m also spending quite a bit of time deciding on what pieces of music will be on the new piano and strings album, Piano Portraits Plus, to give it its working title. I already have half a dozen pretty firm choices and it’s just a matter of sifting through the shortlist of others.In his Mar 2018 GORR, he talked of work in the second half of Mar, "making preparations for a new solo album". He continued, "more work in the studio [...] will spill over into April", referring to both this and work for a Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman album. The Apr 2018 GORR then brought more:
as March came to a close [...] my manager completed an agreement with Sony Classical / Masterworks for a new album [...]By his May 2018 GORR, he was able to report the album was being mixed. Here he described, "whittling down the short list of 40 potential pieces to the final chosen 12, I set about preparing the piano arrangements at home over a 2 week period followed by one month of doing the orchestrations. [...] I created variations of the selected pieces, hopefully keeping all the flavours of the originals". He recorded piano parts over a week at the Granary, with Erik Jordan as the recording engineer. Wakeman "then spent a further week "tweaking" the orchestrations and talking to Guy Protheroe who would be sharing the conducting with me. We then spent three solid days in Angel Studios with the Orion Strings and the English Chamber Choir with Toby Wood engineering." Piano Odyssey has now been mixed by Toby Wood and is to go for mastering soon. He doing some filming for album promo on 13 Jul 2018.
untitled as yet, the album will be piano pieces of variations on some classically inspired music, some contemporary music and some original music [...] some will simply be piano, whilst others will have just choir or strings and a few will have both.
I have already started on the choice of music and have made a short list of 60 pieces which I will whittle down to 20 and then record them all, choosing the 14 that I feel work the best. It is very possible that 2 of the original compositions will be 2 that I have written for 2 wonderful Moon Bears [see below for more on Wakeman's bear work]. [...] The piano will all be recorded at the Granary on my favourite piano and the orchestra in a London Studio.
Then next month [i.e. May] it’s into the studio for a few days to record the strings and choir before the music is mixed and delivered for mastering.
Piano Portraits (UMC) was Wakeman's 100th solo album, an instrumental piano album of covers, released early 2017 on CD. Details in Yescography. The album peaked at #6 in the UK (27 Jan). It was #2 in the Progressive album chart in the UK for Jan 2017, and #10 in the Sep 2017 chart; it was back to #7 for the Nov 2017 chart, then to #9 for Dec 2017 and #15 in Jan 2018. The album made Silver in the UK, i.e. 60,000 sales.
Wakeman did an 11-date English tour in support
May/Jul 2017 (a 7 Jul show included some material from the album,
but was billed separately). Most of this leg sold out. The set
included 10 pieces from the album and some additional music. A
second leg saw 19 UK dates 23 Oct-27 Nov. On 24 Mar 2018, Wakeman
played a piano concert at the Sala della Meridiana in Naples,
Italy, billed also as part of the Piano Portraits tour.
Wakeman recorded a special 7 Mar 2018 show at Lincoln Cathedral
for a live CD/DVD, Live Portraits (trailer),
backed by a crowdfunding
campaign on PledgeMusic. Erik Jordan was the recording
engineer. This appears to have begun shipping in Jun 2018.
On 1-3 Mar 2018, Wakeman played 3 concerts with orchestra and
choir (Guy Protheroe conducting) in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The 2
Mar show was almost sold out, while the 3 Mar show was a free
event. Wakeman announced his planned set (subject to change) as
"Life on Mars" (solo piano), "Suite from Myths and Legends of King
Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table", "After the Ball",
"Cathering of Aragon" (solo piano)/"Catherine Howard", "Gone But
Not Forgotten", "And You and I/Wonderous Stories" (solo piano),
"Help/Eleanor Rigby", "Dance of a Thousand Lights", "Sea Horses",
"Suite from Journey to the Centre of the Earth", encore: "Merlin
the Magician", "The Jig". The show in the Teatro Colón opera house
was recorded. Wakeman said in his Apr 2018 GORR that "hopefully it
should see the light of day in the not too distant future as part
of a special limited edition collection." It was mixed in Jun 2018
and is due out around mid-2019.
Wakeman appeared with his Green Dolphin Trio at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 29 Apr 2017, tickets selling out. Wakeman formed The Green Dolphin Trio in 1966 for club work; the band lasted about a year. He revived the name for this performance, a line-up with Dave Colquhoun and Matt Pegg. The set included "Merlin the Magician", "Eleanor Rigby", excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII, "Georgia on My Mind", "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Baby Face" (with a 50 strong audience choir). Edited highlights are to be released on CD: this was expected late 2017, but has yet to appear.
Previously, Wakeman has talked 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
for Xmas." It is unclear what has happened to these.
Another piano album of Yes music performed in a classical manner
was also announced as forthcoming but has yet to appear.
Sound & Vision
Sound & Vision is the name of a live event at The Queen's House, Greenwich, London, UK that teams Wakeman with artist Maria Rud, in aid of Animal Asia and their work with the Asian black bear (or moon bear). Originally scheduled for 10 Dec 2017, this date has been cancelled and the event is now planned for near Xmas 2018. Wakeman was due to be performing with son Adam, Ed Scull (Orion Symphony Orchestra) with a "mass of percussion", and a "very large" choir. Rudd will be painting live to the music, her work being projected on to the buildings. Wakeman will be playing new arrangements of existing material and some new material for the show. The event is not seated: the audience will be able to move around to watch the performers and the art. There will be further activities connected to the charity.
Wakeman's re-recorded The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, with new pieces, is 88 minutes long. On the recording are 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 (orchestral scores by Protheroe and Ann Manly; choral arrangements by Wakeman). Vocalists are Hayley Sanderson and Ashley Holt. The album has new artwork by Roger Dean. The release is out via PledgeMusic as 2CD, 2LP or digital download; release through Wakeman's Music Emporium followed. In a Jan 2017 interview, Wakeman said they were "hoping" a general release in the US will come in 2017, although that does not seem to have happened yet. Jun 2016 saw a live performance of the album: Wakeman headlined 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. The band included son Oliver Wakeman.
He is now planning a performance of the album in Tintagel, UK.
This was to be in Sep 2018, again involving Oliver, and (according
to an interview
conducted Mar 2017) a large orchestra and choir. Plans have
now shifted to Sep 2019.
Further live shows
5 Nov 2018 sees An Evening with Rick Wakeman in Reading, compered by Peter Egan, in aid of Animals Asia.
Two shows at the Old Granary
Studio, Suffolk were announced for Dec 2018, with Dave
Colquhoun, Matt Pegg and a choir, but have now been put back to
Jan 2019 and will celebrate the new year.
29-30 Jul, Wakeman played at Ronnie Scott's in London with his
Trio with Colquhoun (guitars) and Pegg (bass). Both shows sold
out. They next play Devizes on 19 Jan 2019.
He was then to play two piano shows in Italy: 3 Aug in Treviso,
and 4 Aug in Trieste. He may possibly also have a piano show 5 Aug
in Faro, Portugal.
Wakeman toured South America in Jul 2018:
at the 2018 Marylebone Music Festival on 23 Jun 2018, in aid
of a homelessness charity. The evening saw Rick interviewed by son Adam,
with Wakeman performing a few solo pieces on piano and possibly a
duet with Adam, while a string quartet will also play, as Rick
puts it, "a couple of arrangements of music from my childhood that
I loved and indeed, still love."
On 21 Apr 2018, Wakeman and Peter Egan did a private show to
raise money for Animal Asia.
Wakeman had piano shows on 26-7 Apr 2018 at Tadcaster
On 16 Mar 2018, Wakeman (piano) did a show
in Elche, Spain with Valentina Blanca
Wakeman played a piano concert at St Mary's Church, Alsager on 5 Jan 2017. He played 2 UK Xmas shows in Dec 2017 with Adam.
Wakeman guested at a charity show on 28 Jul 2017 in Birmingham, UK in celebration of Keith Emerson's life. Organised by comedian Jim Davidson, also performing were Rachel Flowers, Thierry Eliz, ELP tribute band Noddy's Puncture, a symphony orchestra and others. Wakeman played a piano piece based around themes from "Trilogy", "Lucky Man" and "Nutrocker". The event has been nominated for the Event of the Year category in the Progressive Music Awards 2018: you can vote here.
Over the last few years, Wakeman has
previously talked about somewhat reducing his workload and a
changed emphasis in what he does. He has stopped doing more
substantial solo tours and is focusing more on TV and radio work (see below), shorter tours and one-off
performances, although Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman sees a more
significant commitment to touring. In the RWCC Winter Newsletter
2007, Wakeman explained:
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.
|The "Exclusive Emporium Collection" was
announced as consisting of 2 new solo albums (a reduction
from an original plan of 6 albums). Movements, a
synth album, was due Apr 2016, but has yet to appear. The
second was announced as due Nov 2016, also yet to appear.
Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble performed at the Starmus festival in 2015, with Brian May (Queen) guesting. Their set, including "Starship Trooper", was released on DVD, entitled "Starmus" (MFGZ019DVD).
Wakeman wrote a soundtrack for the 1925 silent film "The Phantom of the Opera", which was released in 1990 as Phantom Power. Phantom of the Opera (RIC2716) is a 2CD/1DVD release of the film with the unedited soundtrack, with different mixes to The Phantom Power release. DVD bonuses include a commentary by Wakeman, a featurette on the soundtrack and the original trailer.
The Complete Gospels (RIC2736) is a signed, limited edition boxset combining the 2CD The Gospels, the 2CD The New Gospels, a DVD about the project and, previously unreleased, a CD/DVD of The Gospels performed in California. The release was 21 Oct 2016.
Gastank was a 1982-3 Channel 4 TV series where Wakeman interviewed other musicians. Each episode saw Wakeman, the house band and the interviewee perform. This was released 16 Dec 2016 through the Emporium as a 2DVD (RIC2718), a 3CD (RIC2717; buy from Amazon UK) or a signed deluxe box set with both and further extras (RIC2715). A general UK release for the CD followed in 2017. Guests included Eric Burdon, John Entwistle, Andy Fairweather Low, Godley & Creme (worked with Yes), Steve Hackett, Phil Lynott, Ian Paice, Rick Parfitt, Suzi Quatro and others. The first 2 episodes are on Wakeman's YouTube channel, with the implication that 6 will be in due course.
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."
Wakeman had been working on a follow-up to Hopesongs with
music for weddings and funerals, presumably again with Howard
My Labrador Eats Poo (HaGaTaS) is a 2017 book of
poetry by Charles Garland (worked on Blue Peter, Terry and
June, Hi-De-Hi!, 'Allo 'Allo).
The accompany audio book, read by Garland, also includes
musical inserts by Wakeman. Wakeman said it was due Aug,
but it doesn't appear to be out yet. Garland has also been
England with an evening of humour, including readings from
the book and Wakeman's recorded music. There were 5 dates
in Jun/Jul, with 9 due Sep-Nov 2017. Wakeman also appears
to be involved in the publishing company, HaGaTaS.
"Home for My Heart" (video) was a single released Dec 2017 by The Fizz ft. Rick Wakeman; tracks: "Home for My Heart [Festive Mix]" (3:14), "The Land of Make Believe (Christmas Version)" (3:37), "Home for My Heart [Festive Mix Instrumental]" (3:14). The Fizz is a Bucks Fizz spin-off with three of the original members, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston, plus Bobby McVay (ex-Sweet Dreams). The single was produced by Mike Stock (ex-Stock Aitken and Waterman, worked with Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, Donna Summer, Robson & Jerome), and written by Stock, Aston and Dave Colquhoun (Aston's husband; works with Rick Wakeman, Downes Braide Association, worked with Francis Dunnery, Paul Young, Ozzy Osbourne, T'Pau, Bananarama). The original versions of "Home for My Heart" (without Wakeman) and "The Land of Make Believe" were on The Fizz's 2017 album The F-Z of Pop (while the original original "The Land of Make Believe" was a 1981 single by Bucks Fizz, with lyrics by Pete Sinfield (ex-King Crimson, worked with Chris Squire)).
Wakeman also guested on a piano intro for the charity
single "Bring Me Sunshine" (video)
by Alfie Boe and Michael Ball with the Rays of Sunshine
Children's Choir & Friends, a cover of the song made
famous by Morecambe & Wise. The single (3:53),
recorded 1 Dec 2017 and released 15 Dec, raised money for
the Rays of
Sunshine Children's Charity. Other vocalist guests
included Bryn Terfel, Gareth Malone, Imelda May, Imelda
Staunton, Mel Giedroyc (ex-Great
British Bake Off), Angela Rippon, Mark
King, Kelsey Grammer, Miranda Hart and Seal
(worked with Trevor
|Wakeman guests on Shatner
Claus: The Christmas Album (Cleopatra Records) from
William Shatner (ex-Star Trek,
worked with Billy
Sherwood), due out 23/6 Oct. Tracks:
|Wakeman described how "on the 30th [May
2017]....I will be recording with Erik [Jordan], a track or
two for the wonderful Harry Shearer". Shearer has now
released a 14-track album as Derek Smalls, his character
from "Spinal Tap", entitled Smalls Change (Meditations
Upon Ageing) (Twanky Records/BMG), out Apr 2018 on
digital, CD and LP. Wakeman plays organ and synth on the
final track "When Men Did Rock", also with Shearer (bass,
vocals), Michael League (bass), Joe Satriani (guitar) and
the Hungarian Studio Orchestra. Other guests on the album
include Steve Lukather (Toto), Jim
Keltner (ex-George Harrison), Chad
Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Taylor
Hawkins (Foo Fighters, worked with Jon Davison),
Donald Fagen (vocals), Jeff "Skunk" Baxter
(Steely Dan), Peter Frampton, David Crosby, Dweezil
Zappa (worked with Billy Sherwood),
Steve Vai, Gregg Bisonnette (worked with
Ringo Starr) and Richard Thompson. The album was
produced by CJ Vanston (worked with Toto,
Prince, Ringo Starr, Tina Turner, 'NSync).
Wakeman guests on grand piano on 2 tracks of a forthcoming world music/progressive folk album by Kilty Town, consisting of Daniel Engle (composer, octave mandolin, mandolin, guitar, fiddle) and well-known Yes fan Nic Caciappo (worked with Jon Anderson; bodhran, dumbek). The album (video sampler) is due 2018 on digital platforms with a limited physical release; it is produced, recorded and mixed by another well-known Yes fan, Tim Morse (author of "Yes Stories", in Yes tribute band Parallels) and arranged by Engle/Caciappo. Also performing are Morse (keys, MIDI), Michael Martin Murphey (vocals), Maurya Murphey (Michael's niece; whistle), Ray Frank (guitar), Bret Bingham (vocal on "Norwegian Wood"), Iwan Hassan (Celtic harp guitar), Oisin McAuley (Danú; fiddle), Robert Lunceford (SonoMusette; accordion), Annbjørg Lien (Hardanger fiddle) and her husband, Bjorn Ole Rasch (ex-Secret Garden; pump organ). Wakeman appears on "September Waltz" (dedicated to the victims of September 11) and "Never Ending Journey". Wakeman described the tracks as the most unusual he had ever played on. Art is by Brian McDonagh.
It appears Wakeman is guesting on an album from Rodney Matthews, as is his son Oliver: see under Oliver for details.
|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
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
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. It is unclear what has happened since.
"G'ole!", FIFA's official film of the 1982 World Cup, with music by Wakeman, is being released on DVD through PledgeMusic. There is a limited edition box set (250 copies) with the DVD, 2CDs and various knick-knacks. 1 CD is the original soundtrack album, the other, exclusive to this box, is billed as "Hero Soundtrack + G'ole! Demos" and all previously unreleased. The CD and DVD are available separately and in various combinations.
Wakeman's Piano Vibrations was re-released on 2 Mar 2018 by Nova Sales.
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—were announced as being remastered by Universal Records for a staggered re-release, usually with bonus material. Six Wives, Journey and King Arthur came out 2015-6, followed by No Earthly Connection.
On 22 Sep 2018, Wakeman is attending the re-opening of the Cats Protection Dereham Adoptions Centre.
On 4 Apr 2018, Wakeman was interviewed on stage at the Cranleigh Arts Centre as a fundraising event. Bill Bruford was in the audience. This appears to be what Wakeman was referring to in his Apr 2018 GORR, when he said he was doing "a special event for my great friend Bill Bruford".
Wakeman has previously written "Grumpy Old
Rockstar" and "Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rock
Star". Some years back, he talked of working on a third volume. 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 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. However, no further news followed until a 7
Sep 2017 tweet in which he said, "Decided it's time for the
3rd Grumpy Old Rockstar book & have already started on it."
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. 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 also now manages
the Yes featuring
Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman band: see main page for details.
Roger DeCourcey is
Wakeman's agent for TV, radio and corporate work (but not music).
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.