Where are they now? - Rick Wakeman
This page last updated: 19 Aug 2015
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
New solo releases
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.
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, and was third in the gigs category of their Critics' Choice for 2014.
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
new 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:
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WAKEmanFest is a 2.5-day event 30 Oct-1 Nov 2015 organised by Rob Ayling (Gonzo Multimedia, formerly Voiceprint) at Boston Gliderdrome, Lincolnshire, UK. The current line up planned is:
2pm: video room showing Wakeman and related DVDs
5:30-6pm: Q&A with The Cadbury Sisters (who supported Wakeman on recent touring)
6:30pm-7pm: Q&A with Wakeman Cubed
7:30-8:15pm: The Cadbury Sisters
9-11pm: Wakeman Cubed (Rick playing with two or more of his children)
Video room running all day
2-3pm: Q&A with cast of Sir Henry of Rawlinson's End
4.3-5pm: Q&A with Rick & The English Rock Ensemble
5.30-6pm: Q&A with The Electric Strawbs
6:30-7:30pm: Sir Henry of Rawlinson's End (written by Viv Stanshall, performed by Mike Livesley with an 11-piece band + Rick guesting)
8-9pm: The Electric Strawbs (with Rick guesting at end on [SPOILERS—highlight to read] "The Hangman and the Papist" and "Where is this Dream of our Youth")
10pm-11:30pm: English Rock Ensemble
noon-2pm: buffet lunch and table magic; fundraising activities for the Grand Order of Water Rats
2-2:30pm: The London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra
3:05-3:45pm: Kevin Orkian
4-5pm: Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble, with guest appearance from Chrissie Hammond
Wakeman played Cambridge, UK on 19 Dec 2014. He then had a UK
tour, 'Yet another evening with Rick Wakeman', with 20 shows 17
Jan-16 Apr 2015, followed by two Czech Rep. shows 22-3 Feb.
Support was to be by the Cadbury Sisters or son Adam Wakeman.
He then played a solo piano concert in Vicenza, Italy on
24 Apr 2015. He returned to Italy for another solo concert on 8
4 Feb 2015 sees "An evening with Rick Wakeman and friends", a show
by the Orion Orchestra
(conducted by Toby Purser) with Wakeman in London, UK.
Wakeman with the English Rock Ensemble played a 10-date tour of
Argentina and Brazil 19 Oct-1 Nov 2014. His website explained:
"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"." They play
Barrow, Derbyshire on 11 Sep 2015.
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).
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,
another on 8 Apr 2014 (including dueting with Neil Innes) and
another on 9 May 2015. On 6 Jun 2015, he guested with the English
Chamber Choir: he was due to performing "Noah", "After the Ball"
and possibly another piece.
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
Wakeman is scheduled to do the score for "Hawk the Hunter", a planned sequel to the 1980 fantasy film "Hawk the Slayer", if the film secures funding through a planned Kickstarter starting 30 Aug.
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).
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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 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.
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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... are first, out 2
Feb 2015: Wakeman, in his Aug 2014 GORR, described the
remastering of these two. 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
In a separate development, 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
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.
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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.
Wakeman appeared on Jools Holland's BBC2 radio show in Oct 2014 and performed some keyboard duets with Holland. He presented ITV's Perspectives on Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" in May 2015.
"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.