Rick Wakeman is an English keyboardist, composer, and songwriter known for his contributions to progressive rock music. Born on May 18, 1949, in Perivale, Middlesex, England, Richard Christopher Wakeman has had a diverse and influential career in the music industry. Here's an overview of his life and musical journey:
Rick Wakeman was born into a musical family, and he began playing the piano at a young age.
Wakeman started his career as a session musician in the 1960s, contributing keyboards to numerous recordings for various artists, including Cat Stevens, David Bowie, and Elton John.
Progressive Rock Era:
Wakeman gained widespread recognition as the keyboardist for the progressive rock band Yes. He joined the band in 1971 and became an integral part of their classic lineup.
Albums with Yes:
His work on Yes albums like "Fragile" (1971), "Close to the Edge" (1972), and "Tales from Topographic Oceans" (1973) showcased his virtuosity on keyboards, including the use of synthesizers.
Wakeman is known for his numerous solo albums, often featuring elaborate concept pieces and instrumental compositions. "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (1973) and "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" (1974) are notable examples.
Throughout his solo career, Wakeman explored various musical styles, incorporating classical, rock, and electronic elements into his compositions.
Return to Yes and Other Collaborations:
Periodic Returns to Yes:
Wakeman had multiple stints with Yes over the years, contributing to various albums and participating in reunion tours.
He collaborated with several artists across different genres, including David Bowie, Black Sabbath, and Cat Stevens, showcasing his versatility as a musician.
Awards and Recognition:
Prog Rock Icon:
Wakeman is considered a key figure in the progressive rock genre and has received numerous awards for his contributions to music.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Yes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, and Wakeman was part of the induction.
Radio and Television:
In addition to his musical career, Wakeman has been involved in radio presenting and television, often showcasing his humor and wit.
Wakeman has written several books, including autobiographies, and has been known for his storytelling abilities.
Rick Wakeman has remained active in the music industry, continuing to release albums, perform live, and collaborate with other artists.
Rick Wakeman's career is marked by his virtuosity on the keyboard, his contributions to progressive rock, and his versatility as a musician. His impact on the music world extends beyond his work with Yes, influencing generations of keyboardists and progressive rock enthusiasts.