“Capeman Never Sleeps.”‏

“I’ve got an overactive brain. I enjoy work, I enjoy life, and I’m not good at relaxing. I’ve also never slept very much due to this overactive imagination and my brain constantly thinking”. Rick Wakeman

Richard Christopher “Rick” Wakeman (born 18 May 1949) is an English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author. He is best known for being the former keyboardist in the progressive rock band Yes and his solo albums from the 1970s. In recent years, he became known for his contributions to the BBC comedy series Grumpy Old Men, his radio show on Planet Rock named Rick’s Place that aired from 2005 to 2010.

Wakeman left the Royal College of Music in 1969 to become a full-time session musician where he played on songs by David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John, Cat Stevens, and Black Sabbath. In 1970, he joined the Strawbs for three albums:


Then he joined Yes for two runs from 1971 to 1980, playing on their successful albums Fragile (1971), Close to the Edge (1972), Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), Going for the One (1977), and Tormato (1978). In 1988, Wakeman co-formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, which led to his return to Yes from 1990 to 1992. He returned twice from 1995 to 1997 and 2002 to 2004.


I had joined Yes in 1971. I was a classically trained musician who had worked with numerous artists as a session musician. I played on David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars,’ Cat Stevens’s ‘Morning Has Broken’ and even on some Des O’Connor records, though I kept that quiet. Rick Wakeman


David Bowie’s first appearence on TV in 1970. The famous Rick Wakeman was hired to play keyboards, he was paid nine pounds.

“I had heard Yes live, as Strawbs had supported them at a gig in Hull. I thought they were amazing – incredibly different”. Rick Wakeman

‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ is like a woman’s padded bra. The cover looks good, but when you peel off the padding, there’s not a lot there”. Rick Wakeman

“I had just left Yes and had done a concert at Crystal Palace, South London, with a choir and orchestra playing my solo album ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’ when I had my heart attack. That day, I hadn’t been to bed for four days. I don’t remember much. I felt very numb during the day and airy, which is the best way to describe it”. Rick Wakeman

“I am a Yes fan, ultimately. I’ve been a member of the band, but I was always a fan of the band first”. Rick Wakeman


“My earliest professional musical experiences were really as a session player, and every day was an adventure. Three sessions a day, every day, and you never knew who you would be working with until you arrived at the studio”. Rick Wakeman

“The studio is not the place to write. You need to be 75% ready when you go into the studio, and then the music can develop to the next stage”. Rick Wakeman

“I read numerous books – loads in fact – and, as I always do when recording a historical project, immersed myself into the subject matter. I spent many hours at Henry’s old homes, such as Hampton Court, and visiting the Tower of London. I read no other books during that period”. Rick Wakeman


“As a songwriter, I was influenced by David Bowie – a great writer. A class above everybody in so many ways. Lennon and McCartney, of course. Class stuff. David Cousins was my favorite lyricist. Rick Wakeman

“Liszt was a bit of a rock and roller at heart, but he was a bit of a puritan on his sounds”. Rick Wakeman

“People like Frank Zappa were amazing for us Brits”. Rick Wakeman

“People always said that I hated punk, and that really wasn’t true. It was glossed over for many years that I was the guy who found the Tubes and signed them to A&M. English punk was a revolution”. Rick Wakeman

“I would have loved to record with Paul McCartney on some of his early solo recordings, wonderful music. Playing some lovely organ, perhaps. I would have loved to record with John Lennon. He was a dear friend. I had lunch with him just two days before he died”. Rick Wakeman


“There must be something wrong with the mirrors in our house because every single one I gaze into makes me appear somewhat overweight”. Rick Wakeman

“When I die, I’ll probably climb out of the coffin and play the organ at my own funeral!” Rick Wakeman

Touring with Yes was generally great fun, and I got on well with the rest of the guys, but we were like chalk and cheese in many respects. I was unique in the band as a card-carrying Conservative. Rick Wakeman




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