Where are they now? - Rick Wakeman
This page last updated: 20 Jan 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
New solo releases
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." This seems to be in reference to a solo project.
|Wakeman's 100th solo album was an
instrumental piano album of covers for Universal, entitled Piano
Portraits (UMC), released 13 Jan 2017 on CD and
download; a 2LP followed 3 Feb. He had filming in Aug/Sep
2016 for TV advertising for the project and a film about the
album's recording, including some live performances. Details
Wakeman has been discussing another project for Universal.
||Buy CD from Amazon (UK):
||Buy MP3 version from Amazon
In a Jan
2017 interview, Wakeman discussed how the idea for The album
arose out of the success of his "Life on Mars" cover (see below):
Then I started getting calls from record labels, some big and some not so big, all saying, “Hey, we’d love for you to do a piano album in a similar style to that you did for ‘Life On Mars.'” [...] I spoke to all the labels to see how they’d envisioned it and Universal were great because they envisioned it exactly as I did — as a real mixture of music, not losing sight of what the original songs stood for but always working as piano pieces.
[...] We spent quite a few weeks recording this album. We knew that every piece had to be a performance; you couldn’t just edit stuff. [...] there were some pieces that I thought would work fantastically well that didn’t work so we didn’t include them and gave up on them and other pieces that I felt would never work, worked great — like “Stairway to Heaven.”
The best example of that is I wanted to do “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a little suite but I could not make it work for a way that would make me happy; it just drove me mad. Overall we ditched about six or seven pieces.
The album peaked at #6 in the UK (27 Jan) and also at #3 in
physical sales (3 Feb) and #4 in total sales (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. The CD was
also #1 in Classical albums on UK Amazon, and at least as high as
#3 on all albums; even the vinyl release was at least as high as
#6 in Solo Instrumental Classical albums (all 18 Jan). The CD was
also at least as high as #402 on US Amazon (#235 in Rock, #385 in
Pop; 18 Jan). The album made Silver in the UK, i.e. 60,000
Wakeman did an 11-date English tour in support
from 25 May-6 Jul 2017 (while 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.
He is planning a 7 Mar 2018 show at Lincoln
Cathedral, with a live CD/DVD (Live Portraits) to follow,
backed by a crowdfunding
campaign on PledgeMusic. Erik Jordan will be the recording
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.
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
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
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 son 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
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.
Other solo work
In memory of David Bowie, Wakeman performed a piano arrangement of "Life on Mars" for the BBC. He then 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). 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). The single has now led to a new album project, Piano Portraits: see above for details. Past Bowie tracks on which Wakeman played are included on the compilation Best of Bowie, which was the 10th best-selling album of 2016 in the UK, and the 86th in the US.
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."
Wakeman has 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 new single by The Fizz ft. Rick Wakeman released 8 Dec 2017. 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, 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)).
He also guested on a piano intro
for the charity single "Bring Me Sunshine" (video)
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, raises money for the Rays of Sunshine
Children's Charity. Boe & Ball had previously
recorded the song for their 2017 Together Again.
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,
Seal (worked with Trevor
Horn) and Shirley Ballas
(Strictly Come Dancing).
Wakeman also guests on a forthcoming project by Leon Alvarado: see
main page for details (Sherwood also guests).
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 is due late Feb/early Mar 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
Robert Lunceford (SonoMusette;
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.
From 21 Sep 2015 onwards, Wakeman (with Erik Jordan engineering)
was recording piano and organ on tracks for Armando Peralta
It appears Wakeman is guesting on an album from Rodney Matthews,
as is his son Oliver:
Oliver for details.
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.
Nothing more has been heard about this project.
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.
Jun 2017 saw a re-release
of Crimes of Passion, Wakeman's score for
the 1984 Ken Russell film. A limited edition (250 copies)
box set comes 2 Jun with a CD (with a bonus track of
"Dangerous Woman", sung by Maggie Bell), DVD/BluRay
(including a 112-minute director's cut and a 107-minute
unrated version of the film, deleted scenes and an
interview with Wakeman), a signed and numbered
certificate, and various artwork/reproduction press
materials. The CD and DVD will also be available
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.