Where are they now? - Rick Wakeman
This page last updated: 1 Jan 2021
On this page: Solo projects - Collaborations - Re-releases/archival releases - Media appearances, charity work etc.
On other pages: The
Anderson Wakeman Project - Anderson Rabin
Rick Wakeman's official
site: Rick Wakeman's
Communication Centre; Twitter;
|Rick Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble's
Red Planet (R&D Media; 55:21 duration) was
released 19 Jun. It was first announced for 3 Apr 2020, but
then delayed to May. Wakeman talked of a Jun release, while
his website then said, "the reality of the current world
situation is such that work on the project is affected by
manufacturing and logistical issues. Regrettably we're
therefore going to miss our April date and at this point
it's looking like it will be nearer to June realistically -
this also applies to download releases. Rest assured we will
be doing everything in our power to bring the date closer
especially the downloads." The initial release was through a
dedicated website, but a general release distributed through
Madfish came 28 Aug, with a US release on Snapper.
The instrumental album, produced by Wakeman and Erik Jordan, consists of 8 new pieces composed and arranged by Wakeman. With Wakeman (analogue and digital keys), the performers are Lee Pomeroy (works with ELO, worked with Yes featuring ARW; bass, fretless bass), Dave Colquhoun (Downes Braide Association; guitar) and Ash Soan (Trevor Horn Band/Producers, Downes Braide Association, worked with Dua Lipa, Adele, Will Young, Seal; drums), who had considerable leeway in coming up with their own parts. Jordan also engineered and mixed. There's a limited edition (2000 copies) CD, signed with a pop-up cover, and a limited edition (1000 copies) 180g red double 45rpm vinyl, signed with a pop-up album cover, and then regular CD and double 45rpm vinyl releases. Some versions come with an accompanying DVD "with surround sound, interviews, and other extras". The DVD shipped in Nov given delays in recording material due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tracks:
he recording has finished......probably!On 2 Mar 2020, he tweeted, "Only a few days of mixing left on The Red Planet album. Can't wait to hear what Erik has done and move on to the final mastering stage ."
Erik [Jordan] is now heavily engrossed in the mixing and I will be going to his studio to listen as things progress and if there is something that I hear that needs replacing or something extra required, I will record it there..... but I think we are certainly 99% there.
There are already enquiries coming in as regards live performances of The Red Planet but a lot will depend on how well, (or not as the case may be), the album does and is received. Certainly it is something I would love to happen but would need serious additional players with me...2 more keyboard players for a start, (first choices would be Oliver and Adam) and additional percussion.In a video interview promoting the album, released Apr 2020, Colquhoun said, "I'd love to go out and play The Red Planet music live. We all did our bits in isolation. It would be really great to work at [...] getting the dynamic between the musicians, the interaction." (Pomeroy recorded a few parts at Colquhoun's studio before lockdown and that had been the plan for all the recordings.) He also talked of a possible set list including "classic Wakeman material", mentioning "Catherine Parr". Pomeroy said in a Jun 2020 interview that they'd been looking at doing live dates as a quartet (Wakeman, Colquhoun, Soan, Pomeroy) and they might still do so. A Red Planet show at Starmus in Armenia in 2021 is planned. In an interview with Aymeric Leroy for issue #110 of the French magazine Big Bang, Wakeman talked of playing 5 prog festivals in early Mar 2021.
On 1-3 Mar 2018, Wakeman played 3 concerts with orchestra and choir (Guy Protheroe conducting) in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The 2 Mar show was almost sold out, while the 3 Mar show was a free event. Wakeman announced his planned set (subject to change) as "Life on Mars" (solo piano), "Suite from Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table", "After the Ball", "Cathering of Aragon" (solo piano)/"Catherine Howard", "Gone But Not Forgotten", "And You and I/Wonderous Stories" (solo piano), "Help/Eleanor Rigby", "Dance of a Thousand Lights", "Sea Horses", "Suite from Journey to the Centre of the Earth", encore: "Merlin the Magician", "The Jig". The show in the Teatro Colón opera house was recorded. Wakeman said in his Apr 2018 GORR that "hopefully it should see the light of day in the not too distant future as part of a special limited edition collection." It was mixed in Jun 2018 and was announced as being due out around mid-2019.
Wakeman appeared with his Green Dolphin Trio at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 29 Apr 2017, tickets selling out. Wakeman formed The Green Dolphin Trio in 1966 for club work; the band lasted about a year. He revived the name for this performance, a line-up with Dave Colquhoun and Matt Pegg. The set included "Merlin the Magician", "Eleanor Rigby", excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII, "Georgia on My Mind", "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Baby Face" (with a 50 strong audience choir). Edited highlights are to be released on CD: this was expected late 2017, but has yet to appear.
Previously, Wakeman has talked 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
for Xmas." It is unclear what has happened to these.
Another piano album of Yes music performed in a classical manner
was also announced as forthcoming but has yet to appear.
Sound & Vision
Sound & Vision is the name of a live event at The Queen's House, Greenwich, London, UK that teams Wakeman with artist Maria Rud, in aid of Animal Asia and their work with the Asian black bear (or moon bear). Originally scheduled for 10 Dec 2017, this date has been cancelled and the event is now planned for near Xmas 2018. Wakeman was due to be performing with son Adam, Ed Scull (Orion Symphony Orchestra) with a "mass of percussion", and a "very large" choir. Rudd will be painting live to the music, her work being projected on to the buildings. Wakeman will be playing new arrangements of existing material and some new material for the show. The event was planned not to be seated: the audience were to be able to move around to watch the performers and the art.
More with the English Rock Ensemble
In his Aug 2019 GORR, Wakeman writes of further English Rock Ensemble shows being planned. Wakeman and a full band (so presumably the ERE) were to be one of the headliners for HRH Prog 9 in Sheffield and London, Mar 2020, with a line-up of R Wakeman (keys), Adam Wakeman (keys, vocals), Tony Fernandez (drums, percussion), Lee Pomeroy (bass, vocals), Dave Colquhoun (guitars, vocals) and Ashley Holt (lead vocals, percussion). However, the event has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, Wakeman is headling HRH Prog XI on 3-4 Apr 2021 in Leeds.
Wakeman played 2 final UK performances of Journey to the Centre of the Earth, 13-4 Jul 2019 at London's Royal Festival Hall, with the Orion Orchestra, English Chamber Choir and the English Rock Ensemble, plus Alfie Boe (vocals on "Never is a Long, Long Time" and "Still Waters Run Deep") and Robert Powell (narration). Guy Protheroe conducted. The rest of the band were Adam Wakeman (keys), Tony Fernandez (drums), Matt Pegg (bass), Dave Colquhoun (guitars), Ashley Holt (vocals) and Hayley Sanderson (vocals). The set was to integrate two songs from Return to the Centre of the Earth into the running order of the original album.
Wakeman re-recorded The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and
the Knights of the Round Table, with the English Rock
Ensemble (the same line-up as on The Journey to the
Centre of the Earth re-recording, except Lee Pomeroy was
replaced by Matt Pegg on bass), the Orion Orchestra and the
English Chamber Choir, with Guy Protheroe conducting (orchestral
scores by Protheroe and Ann Manly; choral arrangements by
Wakeman). Vocalists are Hayley Sanderson and Ashley Holt. Jun 2016
saw a live performance of the album: Wakeman
headlined the second day of The Stone Free Festival,
London, 19 Jun 2016, playing a 90 min. set including all of The
Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round
Table. The band included son Oliver
Wakeman. He was planning a performance of the album in
Tintagel, UK. This was to be in Sep 2018, again involving Oliver,
and (according to an interview
conducted Mar 2017) a large orchestra and choir. Plans then
shifted to Sep 2019, but the logistics proved not workable and
this is not going ahead.
Further live shows
The Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour covered 22 dates in US and Canada in Sep/Oct 2019. Rabin attended one of the shows. The format was a solo grand piano show by Wakeman with music (including solo, by Yes, early Bowie and The Beatles) and chat. He then played 11 English dates in Dec 2019 with a Xmas show. Following pandemic disruption, Wakeman announced the Even Grumpier Old Xmas Show with 17 UK dates 27 Nov-21 Dec. 16 dates have now been postponed to 28 Nov-21 Dec 2021. The 27 Nov 2020 UK date was initially to go ahead at the London Palladium, with Rick joined by son Adam. However, that show has also been postponed following further pandemic restrictions to 24 Apr 2021.
Wakeman appeared by video at the 6o
Festival BB Seguros de Blues e Jazz playing a solo piano set, viewable
here (go to about 5 hours in).
In terms of further post-pandemic touring, in his Jul
2020 GORR, Wakeman said: "Lots of dates being provisionally
booked for prog concerts in the UK and hopefully around Europe
plus a US piano tour and some South American keyboard shows, plus
orchestral shows in Europe [...] I also have some plans for some
special charity concerts that I was hoping to do this year 
but which the pandemic called a halt to. We can't fix dates yet
until we know the status of theatres and venues for next year
, but they will happen for sure."
On 31 Jan 2020, Wakeman was set to be at an
unveiling of a plaque at the Stowe
School, Buckinghamshire, followed by a concert
of Beatles music performed by Rick (piano), son Adam,
granddaughter Skyla, and Bernie Marsden
On 3 Mar 2020, Wakeman was one of the guests at Music for the
Marsden, raising money for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The
house band will be Paul 'Wix' Wickens (works with
Paul McCartney, worked with Paul Carrack; keys), Andy
Fairweather Low (worked with Eric Clapton, Roger
Waters, Kate Bush; guitars), Robbie McIntosh (ex-The Pretenders, worked with Paul McCartney; guitars),
Dave Bronze (ex-Procol Harum, worked with Eric
Clapton, Tom Jones; bass), Graham Broad (ex-Procol Harum, worked with Roger Waters, Bucks Fizz;
drums, percussion) and Ian Paice (Deep
Purple; drums, percussion). Other guests are Eric
Clapton, Tom Jones, Bonnie Tyler, Mick Hucknall
(Simply Red), Mike Rutherford
(ex-Genesis, Mike & the Mechanics), Paul Young (ex-Mike & the Mechanics), Zucchero, Paul
Carrack (ex-Mike & the Mechanics), Paul
Jones (ex-Manfred Mann), John Illsley (ex-Dire Straits), Gary Brooker
(Procol Harum) and Yusuf (Cat Stevens). Wakeman played
his version of "Eleanor Rigby" in the style of Prokofiev, and then
"Morning has Broken" with Yusuf.
Wakeman, with Guy Protheroe, played a private show with the
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir in Moscow, Russia in
early Jul 2019. Brian Lane also accompanied them. Later that
month, he again plaed the Starmus festival, also with Steve Vai,
Brian May, Hans Zimmer and a symphony orchestra and choir. Wakeman
probably has another piano and orchestra show on 15 Aug 2020.
Wakeman will be part of a concert at the British Embassy in Rome
in aid of Animals Asia
on 11 Sep 2020. Before then, there's a UK
evening with Rick Wakeman for Animals Asia on 1 Mar 2020.
Wakeman was due to be at Noisy
Notes in London on 24 Feb 2019, an interactive concert for
children with the Orion Orchestra (with whom Wakeman have worked
before). The event was led by presenter and guest conductor Sue
Perkins (worked with Dylan Howe). Wakeman
and Perkins returned on 22 Jun 2019 for a
London show exploring his career with the Marylebone Music
5 Nov 2018 saw An
Evening with Rick Wakeman in Reading, compered by Peter Egan
and also with actress Lesley Nicol, in aid of Animals Asia. In Jan
2019, Wakeman did an interview with some piano pieces at a 27 Jan
2019 church event in north London, organised by Simon Mayo.
29-30 Jul 2018, Wakeman played at Ronnie Scott's in London with
his Trio, which he's now calling KGB, with Colquhoun (guitars) and
Pegg (bass). Both shows sold out. They next played Devizes on 19
Wakeman played two belated Xmas shows at the Granary in Suffolk
on 24-5 Jan 2019.
Wakeman toured South America in Jul 2018, playing grand piano,
with an orchestra and choir conducted by Protheroe. He played three more dates
in this configuration 1-5 Dec 2018, 2 in the Czech Rep.
(both sold out) and 1 in Ukraine. The South American dates went as
He played two piano shows in Italy: 3 Aug 2018 in Treviso, and 4 Aug in Trieste. He may possibly also have a piano show 5 Aug in Faro, Portugal.
at the 2018 Marylebone Music Festival on 23 Jun 2018, in aid
of a homelessness charity. The evening saw Rick interviewed by son Adam,
with Wakeman performing a few solo pieces on piano and possibly a
duet with Adam, while a string quartet will also play, as Rick
puts it, "a couple of arrangements of music from my childhood that
I loved and indeed, still love."
On 21 Apr 2018, Wakeman and Peter Egan did a private show to
raise money for Animal Asia.
Wakeman had piano shows on 26-7 Apr 2018 at Tadcaster
On 16 Mar 2018, Wakeman (piano) did a show in Elche, Spain with Valentina Blanca (vocals).Wakeman guested at a charity show on 28 Jul 2017 in Birmingham, UK in celebration of Keith Emerson's life. Organised by comedian Jim Davidson, also performing were Rachel Flowers, Thierry Eliz, ELP tribute band Noddy's Puncture, a symphony orchestra and others. Wakeman played a piano piece based around themes from "Trilogy", "Lucky Man" and "Nutrocker".
Over the last few years, Wakeman has
talked about reducing his workload and a changed emphasis in what
he does as a consequence of his age. He has stopped doing more
substantial solo tours and is focusing more on TV and radio work (see below), shorter tours and one-off
performances, although Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman saw a more
significant commitment to touring. The latest comments came in an
2019 interview where he was asked why ARW's next tour (in
2020) would be a farewell tour. Wakeman replied:
a mixture of honesty and then you can read into it what you will. None of us are getting any younger health-wise [...] It’s not the playing, though that does get a bit difficult at times. There’s the traveling and everything that goes with it. [...]
I have been diagnosed with arthritis in both my hands. It’s controllable at the moment. I don’t take anything for it, pills or drugs, but I do exercises. I have creams and special gloves and things that keep me going. I know I have to practice really hard to keep my fingers supple. I always said that I never want to walk onstage and not play to the standard I want to. [...] there comes a time to stop.
[...] I might be wrong. I might have a few more days than I think. I do have some days where they seize up quite a lot, but at the moment I can still play. The dexterity is still there. When I do the right exercises I am fine.
I reckon I have until probably the beginning to the end of 2022 and then I think I won’t be able to do it anymore. I’ll still be able to play, but not [up to] the standard live that I do now. I’ll still be able to record and do music and the odd concert, but they will be different concerts. That’s my reason why I voted along with everyone, actually, that we’ll do a farewell/thank-you tour to the fans when you can still do the best you do
In the RWCC Winter Newsletter 2007, Wakeman explained:
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.
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."
Wakeman had been working on a follow-up to Hopesongs with music for weddings and funerals, presumably again with Howard Prior.
with Tim Rice and Alfie Boe
My Labrador Eats Poo (HaGaTaS) is a 2017 book of poetry by Charles Garland (worked on Blue Peter, Terry and June, Hi-De-Hi!, 'Allo 'Allo). The accompany audio book, read by Garland, also includes musical inserts by Wakeman. Wakeman said it was due Aug, but it doesn't appear to be out yet. Garland has also been touring England with an evening of humour, including readings from the book and Wakeman's recorded music. There were 5 dates in Jun/Jul, with 9 due Sep-Nov 2017. Wakeman also appears to be involved in the publishing company, HaGaTaS.Released digitally by Cleopatra Records is a 1-track single, "Come and Get It" (2:24), by Badfinger & Rick Wakeman, a remake of the 1969 song. It appears to be performed by Joey Molland (Badfinger) and Wakeman, although Wakeman tweeted 25 Sep 2020, "bit naughty to put my name on the cover , I was only booked as a session player ."
Wakeman guested on Trinity, an album from Rodney Matthews, as did is his son Oliver: see under Oliver for details.
From 21 Sep 2015 onwards, Wakeman (with Erik Jordan engineering) was recording piano and organ on tracks for Armando Peralta (Twitter).
Wakeman has launched Rick's Plaice, a 6-episode, pay-per-view, streaming video series with, as Wakeman describes, "live music performances, guided tours around my equipment, facts about musicians I have worked with, and even a quiz". An Xmas special, a new year's special (with Lee Pomeroy and Dave Colquhoun) and second series follow.
Wakeman guested on Jools' Annual Hootenanny from Jools Holland. He performed "Rockin' the Boogie" in a piano duet with Holland, backed by the Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
Wakeman recorded an abridged version of "Life on Mars" to raise money for Kidney Cancer UK, which was due on 4 Jul 2020.
In Jun 2020, he also appeared on a performance of Ian Dury's "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" organised by James Atkin, raising money for Help Musicians. Rick was recorded and filmed by son Adam. Also performing were Amlak Tafari (Steel Pulse; bass), Keith Allen (lead vocals), Atholl Ransome (sax), Fuzz Townshend (Pop Will Eat Itself, worked with Bentley Rhythm Ace; drums), Richard March (Pop Will Eat Itself, Bentley Rhythm Ace; guitar) and Atkin (EMF, worked with Bentley Rhythm Ace; vocals).
Wakeman curated the 60-track, 3CD compilation 70s Rock Down: The Ultimate Rock Anthems (Xploded), including his own "Catherine of Aragon" and Yes's "Wonderous Stories". It entered the UK compilation album chart at #3 (4 Dec 2020). The album was as high as #15 on UK Amazon (#2 in Box Sets; #3 in Compilations; 5 Dec 2020). He has an accompanying show on Absolute Classic Rock radio 28 Nov-19 Dec. In a Dec 2020 interview, he mooted there being a second volume.
Wakeman has been supporting PRS's Emergency Relief Fund for PRS writer members facing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He sent a video message for their recent virtual gig, which raised over £2.1 million.
Wakeman appears in "Electronic Voyager" (having been filmed in late 2017), a forthcoming documentary film about the late synth inventor Robert Moog, by his daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa. Other interviewees include Jean-Michel Jarre and Gary Numan. There was a crowdfunding campaign to finish the film.
Wakeman has previously written "Grumpy Old
Rockstar" and "Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rock
Star". Some years back, he talked of working on a third volume. 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 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. However, no further news followed until a 7
Sep 2017 tweet in which he said, "Decided it's time for the
3rd Grumpy Old Rockstar book & have already started on it."
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 Prog. 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.
Wakeman has been managed since approx. 2013 by Brian Lane
(previously managed Yes, ABWH). Roger DeCourcey is
Wakeman's agent for TV, radio and corporate work (but not music).
Wakeman is mentioned on the first page of David Mitchell's new
novel "Utopia Avenue" about a fictional rock band of that name
formed in 1967.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.