Rick Wakeman’s career started as a session musician. Dave Cousins, from the Strawbs, met him while producing an album by the band, Paper Bubble. Wakeman then did session work on the Strawbs’ 2nd album. Cousins invited him to join the band. He recorded one live album and one studio album with the Strawbs before leaving to join Yes. He recorded 3 albums with Yes from 1971 - 75. He recorded two solo albums while still a member of Yes, “The Six Wives of Henry the 8th” and “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. There had been rumors about him leaving Yes since the release of “Tales of the Topographic Ocean”, which he was not happy with. The same day that his album, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” hit #1 on the UK charts, he announced that was leaving Yes to pursue a solo career.
My friends and I saw Rick Wakeman perform “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” live at the San Francisco Civic Center on September 28th, 1974.
You can see our photos and read our
memoirs of that concert -
Below is a sticker I purchased
that promoted the album and the tour.
My ticket stub from the concert.
I was lucky to have been able to meet
Rick Wakeman after the concert
and get his autograph.
His first solo album
received high praise
from the critics.
An ad promoting his 2nd solo album.
It was a much more ambitious project
than anything he had done before.
In this article Wakman discusses the
problems he had recording "Journey..."
and Gus Dudgeon remembers Rick's session
work on David Bowie's album, "Hunky Dory".
An interview with Wakeman
about the upcoming premier of
"Journey to the Center of the Earth".
A positive review of
A review of the premier
from Circus magazine, April 1974.
Wakeman talks about the premier, the release
of his album, his last tour with Yes and
the state of British bands and the
music business in general.
The album is released. The reviews come in.
With the success of
"Journey to the Centre of the Earth"
Wakeman announces his split with Yes.
He quickly moved on
to the next project, "The
Myths and Legends of King
Arthur and the Knights of
the Round Table".
Wakeman discusses his split with Yes and
says, "I'll never be in Yes again."
Never say "never". He joined and rejoined
Yes 5 times. His son took his place after that.
He also talks about plans for touring the USA
with "Journey..." and the next project,
The American reviews
of "Journey..." are in.
Wakeman is Interviewed
two weeks before I saw him perform
in San Francisco. He talks about his plans for
touring with "Journey...". He also discusses
plans for the next project, "King Arthur..."
Rick is interviewed 6 months after leaving Yes.
He reflects on the tour with "Journey to
the Centre of the Earth", his time with the
Strawbs and Yes and his life inside and
outside of the music business.
A DVD of "Journey to the Centre of the Earth"
performed live in 1975 at the Sydney Meyer
Concert Bowl in Australia.
Rick Wakeman continued recording
solo albums and with other bands.
His career is long and complicated.
Below are his first three solo albums.
"The Six Wives of Henry VIII" is an
instrumental album released in 1973.
He is accompanied by many others, including
members of his former bands, Strawbs and Yes.
The back cover has a mini-bio on each of
the wives. The music is meant to reflect their
lives and personalities.
A detail of the back cover
The inside gatefold displays
the keyboard equipment.
An impressive collection
The second album was a much
more ambitious project.
It included a rock band with two male
lead vocals, a full choir and orchestra.
Wakeman would mortgage
his home to produce it.
The back cover.
The pages of the booklet inside.
It shows that not only did Wakeman
have a sense of flair, but also a sense of humor.
The monsters in the boiling sea are
represented by a pet lizard and turtle
rising out of glasses of beer.
(Rick Wakeman is well known
to enjoy a tall glass of beer).
The inside gatefold.
His 3rd solo album, "The Myths and
Legends of King Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table" was released in 1975.
It was already in the planning before
"Journey..." had toured the USA.
The back cover.
The inside gatefold.
The illustrated booklet.
To see more about Rick Wakeman,
visit previous postings on this blog -
To see photos and read our memoirs
of Yes with Rick Wakeman go to -