Where are they now? - Rick Wakeman
This page last updated: 15 Nov 2014
On this page: Solo projects - Collaborations - Re-releases/archival releases - Media appearances, charity work etc.
On other pages: The Anderson Wakeman Project
Rick Wakeman's official
site: Rick Wakeman's
Communication Centre; Official
Twitter (Note that Wakeman does not
have a MySpace site); Internet
New solo releases
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.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey to the
Centre of the Earth
and The Myths & Legends
of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Wakeman has been re-visiting his early solo albums The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Myths & Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table with his English Rock Ensemble band. This includes live performances, in some cases with additional new music, and a new studio recording of Journey to the Centre of the Earth, again with additional material.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Journey (and the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne's original story) in 2014, Wakeman has been touring the album with the English Rock Ensemble, the Orion Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Choir and Philip Franks narrating. There were 14 UK dates Apr/May 2014. (Band rehearsals began 16 Apr, with full rehearsals with orchestra and choir beginning after Easter.) The tour has graphics and visuals by creative director for the shows, Roger Dean, including huge screen projections. This was a 2-hour show in 2 sets. The first set (~50 min.s) consisted of Wakeman solo on a piano (25 Apr, Newcastle set: [SPOILERS—highlight to read] "Morning has Broken", "Life on Mars" (Hayley Sanderson on vocals), "Summertime" (Ashley Holt on vocals), "Eleanor Rigby"), with a video screen backdrop, playing and telling stories about the album. The second set (~70 min.s) consisted of a full performance of the 2012 expanded Journey (with extended solos) plus "Dance of a Thousand Lights" from Return to the Centre of the Earth. There was then an encore consisting of a rearranged finale from Journey with the addition of "Ride of Your Life" from Return. (Plans for a Dean set were shelved because of limited stage sizes, but Wakeman hopes later shows will be able to incorporate this.) The show won Best Live Event in the Progressive Music Awards 2014 from Prog magazine.
Recording for the new Journey was completed in
Sep 2012; mastering took place in Oct. The album was
initially available only as a Classic
Rock fanpack (CRP13-11-12), with a 132-page
magazine and poster; cover by Dean. A vinyl release
followed in Feb 2013. Further release versions followed 23
Jun 2014 in the UK and 1 Jul in the US on Write Notes,
with new art by Dean. There are Digipak CD releases of the
Journey and a re-release of Return
to the Centre of the Earth; deluxe LP editions of
both (180g vinyl, expanded booklet with rare photos and
more Dean artwork); a limited edition box set with both
albums on vinyl and CD and a 32-page 12x12-inch in-bound
book with previously unreleased photos and images from
Wakeman's and Dean's archives; and a limited edition (100
copies) super deluxe collectors edition also including a
Dean lithograph signed by Wakeman and Dean.
The only performer other than Wakeman (keys) from the
original version of the album is Ashley Holt, who shares
vocals with Hayley Sanderson (who does the new songs and
the parts by Gary Pickford-Hopkins on the original). The
other performers are Dave Colquhoun—guitars, Lee
Pomeroy—bass, Tony Fernandez—drums, with The London
Symphony Orchestra (original orchestrations: Danny
Beckerman, Wil Malone; transcription from original score:
Ann Manly, Guy Protheroe; additional orchestrations:
Manly, Protheroe) and the English
Chamber Choir (conducted by Protheroe; additional
choir arrangements by Wakeman). The album was produced by
Erik Jordan and Wakeman. Tracks:
|Buy Journey and Return
from Amazon (UK):
||Buy Journey and Return
from Amazon (US):
Further live shows (guest
appearances are further down)
Wakeman with the English Rock Ensemble play a 10-date tour of Argentina and Brazil 19 Oct-1 Nov 2014. His website explains: "The shows will be different at each venue and will either consist of band shows, band shows with orchestra featuring a selection of Rick's best known works, or performances of "Journey"."
Wakeman played a
solo show on 30 May 2014 near Vicenza, Italy; and appeared
with Dr Brian May (Queen) at the Starmus festival,
Tenerife, on 26 Sep 2014. Wakeman
played a one-off piano solo show in Tel Aviv, Israel on 20 Jan
2014. He then played Naples, Italy with a line-up of Rick (grand
piano), Adam Wakeman (keys) and Mario Fasciano (drums). He has announced plans for more one-man shows in
Wakeman was among guests for a show
celebrating Jon Lord's life on 4 Apr 2014 at the Royal
Albert Hall, London, UK. Organised by The Sunflower Jam, also
appearing will be the 83-piece Orion Orchestra conducted by Paul
Mann, Joe Brown, Bruce Dickinson, Alfie Boe, Steve Balsamo and
Miller Anderson. The set ended with a mass performance of "Hush".
He also performed on the Royal Festival Hall organ at Sandi Toksvig's wedding.
Wakeman took part in a concert celebrating the late Vivian
Stanshall (ex-Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) in Mar 2013
and then for another on 8 Apr 2014 in London, including dueting
with Neil Innes.
He also took part in 'Tim
Rice: A Life in Song' at the Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
on 8 Jul 2014, performing "Julia" (from his solo album 1984,
with lyrics by Rice) with Siobhan Harrison on vocals. Others
performing on the night included Roger Daltrey, Rufus Wainwright,
Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Gemma Arterton, Alexander Armstrong, Rob
Brydon and Diana Vickers. The show was recorded by the BBC for
later broadcast. He then played piano at the Henley Festival, UK
on 11 Jul.
Billed as his "only MAJOR concerts of 2013", there were a series
of shows in
Gloucestershire 15-17 Jun 2013, with profits going to the
Cathedral of Gloucester. 15 Jun was to see two sets by "Wakeman
with Wakeman with Wakeman and Wakeman" in Blackfriars Abbey in
Gloucester (250 seat capacity; both sold out). This will be a
performance by Rick (keys) with his children Adam
(keys, guitar, vocals), Oliver
(keys) and Jemma
(keys, vocals). The set had no overlap with the 16/17 Jun shows,
and was to be recorded (possibly filmed).
The next two days, billed as "The Rick Wakeman Ultimate
Experience", saw Wakeman with his English Rock Ensemble, the Cheltenham
Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Guy Protheroe) and
Gloucester Cathedral Choirs performing in Cheltenham (2200 seat
capacity), with a 2-hour set based around selections from The
Myths and Legends of King Arthur..., Journey to the
Centre of the Earth and The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
Some "extra surprises" were also promised. In his Apr 2013 GORR,
Wakeman described performing "a large chunk of Journey, large
chunks of Arthur, at least 2 of the 6 Wives plus at least 5 other
pieces." These shows were part of the Medieval Mystery Play
Festival. Earlier plans mooted TV broadcast and
later DVD release.
On 28 Apr, Wakeman was doing a piano performance at the Gouveia
Wakeman with the English Rock Ensemble (Oliver
Wakeman—keys, Dave Colquhoun—guitars, Lee Pomeroy (Headspace, Steve Hackett, Diamond Jubilee
Concert)—bass, Ashley Holt—vocals, Tony
Fernandez—drums) were to headline the Crystal
Palace Garden Party in the Bowl in Jun 2012 (capacity:
5000), but the show was cancelled due to problems with the venue.
However, the band did play Norwich and an "unplugged" show (both
Wakemans—grand piano, Colquhon—acoustic guitars, Holt—vocals,
Fernandez—percussion) in Norfolk that month. In a late May
2012 interview, Wakeman said:
I rarely do shows with the
English Rock Ensemble in the UK so when we do get together we
pretty much know what we all want to play which is a mix of the
Classics such as 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', '...King
Arthur...' and 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII', plus we throw in a
few surprises that perhaps people won't be expecting.
[...] This band is the best I've ever had and I do wish we could do more together. We're off to Hungary in July for a festival and then out into Europe for October before South America kicks in, but due to a lack of festivals this year  in England it seems that 99% of everything is abroad.
The Norfolk set was: "The Jig", "Guinevere", Colquhon solo, "The
Hymn/Julia", O Wakeman solo, "Sweet Georgia Brown", "Sea Horses",
"Make Me a Woman", "Dance of a Thousand Lights" (R Wakeman solo),
"Georgia on My Mind", "Norwegian Wood/Help"; encore: "Summertime",
"Sweet Georgia Brown". Both shows were to be broadcast through Wakeman's
Internet TV channel, but, due to weather conditions, that
proved not to be possible for the Norfolk show. Wakeman and the
band next played Chile, Brazil and Argentina in Nov 2012 with Nick
Beggs (Steve Hackett, ex-Steve Howe, ex-Iona)
filling in for Pomeroy (who was busy touring with Gary Barlow) on
bass. They are also taking part in a show with orchestra in Buenos
Aries, Argentina: see
Wakeman appeared with the English Chamber Choir, under Guy
Protheroe, at a 27
Oct show in London.
He played 2 piano concerts in Slovakia in Sep 2011 and has also
mooted the possibility of his piano show with orchestra and choir
in the country in 2012.
In his Feb 2012 GORR, Wakeman
said he "will be spending a few days working [in Feb] on a choir
arrangement for the choir of St Martin's in the Fields for the
David Croft Memorial Service and also an arrangement of Morning
Has Broken for them." Wakeman's "Croft Chorus" was performed by
a choir at the event on 15 Mar 2012. On 12 Apr, he appeared at
'n' Cancer charity dinner at Chesterfield Football Ground.
On 27 May, he hoted an night of chat with actor Ian Lavender (best
known for Dad's Army) to raise money for the Bury St Edmunds
Theatre Royal's community and education programme. Wakeman also
wrote some music for the event.
Wakeman is appearing in a tribute to Marc Bolan. Other guests at
the T .Rextasy 35th
Anniversary Show, 15 Sep in London include Steve Harley, Toyah
Willcox, Alvin Stardust and Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols).
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 his Sep 2011 GORR, Wakeman says "negotiations are quite far advanced for 2 film scores next year ." One of these appears to be "The Haunting of Harry Payne", the score of which Wakeman was working on during Oct 2012, but the film (due 2013) is now listed on IMDB with music by someone else.
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 2003 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 his 2011 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 an interview: "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."
Collaborations & guest appearances
Wakeman guested on Billy
album to Supertramp and his Prog Collective and Fusion
Syndicate projects, and guests on a forthcoming
William Shatner album co-written by Sherwood.
Wakeman guests on a forthcoming project by both Leon
Alvarado and one now released by Sarastro Blake: see main page for details
(Sherwood also guests).
|Buy from Amazon (UK):
|Buy from Amazon (UK):
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 and Keith Emerson have talked previously of a joint tour. In a Dec 2010 interview, asked "Is there any possibility you and Rick Wakeman would tour together in more intimate settings?", Emerson replied:
We’ve spoken about it. I think the last time was at the MoogFest at B.B. King’s club in New York, and Rick reckoned that he might bring some financiers to bear. [...] We’ll see what happens, but yeah, we’re up for it.
|Buy from Amazon (UK):
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. I think No Earthly Connection will be first, and 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... seem to be the first planned: Wakeman, in his Aug 2014 GORR, described the remastering of these two. (No Earthly Connection was released 29 Jan 2013 in the US on Real Gone Music, its US debut on CD. This version includes no bonus tracks, but replicates the original artwork/credits and has new liner notes.)
Meanwhile, Esoteric Recordings are re-releasing 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.Out in the UK is "The ITV Live Archive Concert Series: Rick Wakeman" DVD (Wienerworld), a 2-disc release with a 56 minute playing time.
The Caped Crusader Collectors Club is a beat-the-boots series on Gonzo/Floating Worlds. Initially due for 2006, the project was much delayed, but Gonzo eventually released a 5CD Bootleg Box Vol. 1 (RW1007). Tracks: disc 1, Live in Sweden 1980: "A Swedish Intro", "Catherine Parr", "No Earthly Connection Medley", "Anne Boleyn", "Happy Birthday K Krona", "King Arthur Medley", "Journey to the Center of the Earth Medley"; disc 2 Live in Holland 1993: "Catherine Howard", "Instrumnetal", "Eleanor Rigby", "Adams Entrance", "King Arthur", "Catherine Parr"; disc 3 Live at Kabooze Bar USA 1985, for which Gonzo's track listing is largely indecipherable; disc 4, Live in Boston 1974 Part 1: "Introduction", "Horizon", "Rachmaninoff Symphony 1", "Catherine Parr", "Catherine Howard", "Anne Boleyn", "Something Completely Different"; disc 5, Live in Boston 1974 Part 2: "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", "Part 2". A 5CD Vol. 2 has now also been released. Executive producers on the project are Rick Wakeman and Daniel Earnshaw (worked with Jon Anderson, ELP) although Earnshaw's work on the project was undertaken prior to him severing ties with Voiceprint, the company's subsequent liquidation and its re-birth as Gonzo. Wakeman spoke previously about the project: in an Apr 2002 interview, he said, "we know of 111 bootlegs of my stuff out there [...] [W]e are going to reproduce, at special bargain prices, every bootleg. We will have them all re-done, with additional things, and all nice packages and we are just going to fight the bootleggers at their own game." Managing Director Rob Ayling also had this to say: "It will go well beyond what we started with the Treasure Chest. This project is very exciting and possible the most comprehensive ever under taken by such a well known artist such as Rick". In Wakeman's Christmas Newsletter 2004, he described "cleaned up bootleg product and other rare artefacts" and said they plan to open the series with 20 releases, while in his Spring Newsletter 2006, he spoke of "over the next few years [...] in excess of 100 recordings available to buy or in some cases, download" including the Caped Crusader Collection, Music Fusion releases and more.
Wakeman continues to do TV work, including for the BBC series Watchdog. He guested in the BBC4 3-part rockumentary comedy, "The Life of Rock with Brian Pern", by Rhys Thomas and Simon Day (The Fast Show), which included Matt Lucas as "Ray Thomas" (an homage to Roy Thomas Baker) and tweeted in Sep 2014 about filming for a second series. He is doing a new podcast series with Susie Dent (Countdown). On 15 Aug 2014, he is on BBC Radio 4's "Loose Ends". On 11 Aug 2014, he was involved in the recording a pilot for a TV series about blue plaques. On 29 Aug 2014, Wakeman will be recording 6 episodes of a radio show, details to be announced.
"Grumpy Old Rockstar" (subtitled "And Other Wondrous Stories"; ISBN: 1848090048, Preface Publishing (Random House Group)), by Wakeman in collaboration with Martin Roach, was a collection of stories from his life. Wakeman said in the RWCC Summer Newsletter 2009 (out Sep) that the book "is currently hurtling towards the 50,000 sales mark and it's [n]ot even out in other English speaking countries yet". There is also an audio book version read by Wakeman. A second volume, "Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rock Star" (Preface Publishing), followed. He is now 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 Classic Rock Presents... Prog.
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.
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.