Interview with Rick Wakeman
When did you first come across the works of Tolkien?
Have you any favourite book amongst Tolkien's works?
Did you immediately think of music when you encountered middle earth and the stories?
I gave up all thoughts of ever doing anything musically when lord of the rings appeared on film.
You have been involved with an astonishing number of highly respected bands and musicians - are there any real stand out moments in terms of performance or recordings for you?
Your solo albums have always seemed to look towards the mythopoeic and historical - does that reflect your interest in fantasy?
Would you consider tackling a Tolkien inspired theme on an album in the future?
Your solo performances are very intimate - how do they compare to the big rock style concerts?
How much did your classical training in your early days influence the music you write and how you play?
Can you give our readers an idea of where to go to find out all the recorded music you have been involved with?
Finally, I know that the people attending the festival are very excited to be seeing and hearing you, what would you find of most interest yourself at our event?
Many thanks, Rick, and we look forward to seeing you at the Festival,
Found this page without going through the magazine front page? Click here: Festival in the Shire Journal. For all things Tolkien inspired.
Biography and Discography
RIck Wakeman was born May 18th 1949 in Middlesex and underwent an extensive musical education that culminated in studying at the Royal College of Music. He has been married and divorced three times and has six children and five grandchildren.
Between 1962 and 1969 Rick played with several semi
The major Strawbs albums were Just A Collection of Antiques and Curios and From a Witchwood. The major YES albums were Fragile, Close To The Edge, Yessongs, Going For The One and Tormato. His major solo albums, (there are more than 120 to date), have been 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, White Rock, Criminal Record, 1984, Out There and Return to the Centre of the Earth.
To date, a conservative estimate is that he has sold well in excess of 50,000,000 albums and CDs worldwide and of the 130 recordings he has done with YES, Strawbs and as a solo artist, only four are currently unavailable.
He owns two record labels: - PPF and Hope Records, the latter being a Christian cross-over label which was formed especially to compliment Rick’s recordings in this area as he is a committed Christian.
His hundreds of television appearances over recent years have included hosting his own comedy show, Live at Jongleurs, (which ran for more than six years), and as a team captain on Bygones for BBC 1. Other regular appearances on television include Through The Keyhole; This is Your Life, Under Offer, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Masterchef, Countdown, Grumpy Old Men, He Says She Says, Can’t Cook Won’t Cook, Have I Got News For You, Richard and Judy, Loose Women, The Weakest Link, Top Gear, Mastermind, The One Show, Call My Bluff and The Generation Game.
He has his own Saturday morning show Rick’s Place on Planet Rock digital radio which has been the number one listened to programme on digital radio for the last three years. He is also a regular presenter for the BBC World Service and other BBC stations.
His almost constant association with radio and television have moved him into celebrity status for all ages and although he has now limited his live appearances, his band, The English Rock Ensemble, still sells out major arenas around the world and the variety of different one man shows he puts on, either as one-off performances or at arts festivals, prove to be box office winners wherever he goes.
The television and radio appearances , especially those of Grumpy Old Men and Countdown, have now also made Rick one of the most in demand for corporate events and after dinner speaking.
He also performs around the world with symphony orchestras and choirs, just at the piano . These have proved extremely popular and something very different for the audiences.
His One Man Show…”A Very, Very Intimate Evening with Rick Wakeman” , where he performs at the piano and relates ludicrously funny anecdotes ,has been , and is still, a phenomenal success around the UK theatres
In May 2009 he put together 2 unique performances of The Six Wives of Henry VIII at Hampton Court with a symphony orchestra, band , choir , actors and actresses plus one of the biggest stage productions seen anywhere for many years involving more than 300 people. These performances were highly acclaimed by critics worldwide and subsequently resulted in a top 5 position in the DVD charts .
The one-man show “An Evening With Rick Wakeman” pretty much came about by accident. Quite simply, his gear didn’t arrive for a show and all there was available was a piano. The audience were given the choice of their money back or an evening with Rick performing on the piano and telling ludicrously ridiculous and funny anecdotes. Only three people took up the offer of their money back, and “An Evening With Rick Wakeman” was born.
These performances are very much “one-offs” and never done as a tour. The stories change on a regular basis, as does the music. If this show were in a cookery book, the instructions would simply read…..
1…..Take a large concert grand piano and seat Rick Wakeman in front of the keys.
2…..After the first piece, sprinkle in a ludicrous and funny anecdote.
3…...Repeat 1 & 2 for approximately 2 hours.These performances don’t happen very often, which is why each one is very special to Rick and hopefully for the audience as well.