Born in 1948, Rick Wakeman was trained in classical music beginning at age nine. During his youth, he was entered in many piano and organ competitions, and won most of them. His first band was a jazz trio called Brother Wakeman and the Clergymen. He was thirteen. In 1963 he joined a band called The Atlantic Blues. They got a house gig at what was apparently a mental institute. Wakeman describes this period as "a very rewarding time" in his life. He attended the Royal College of Music, where he studied keyboard, orchestration, clarinet, and modern music. In 1969, he quit school and went looking for a career in the music industry.

Wakeman's first major appearance on the music scene (although I suppose it couldn't have been that major, since no one knows he did it), was being featured on David Bowie's Space Oddity in 1969, and for the next three years, he played on over 2000 recordings with such artists as Cat Stevens, Black Sabbath, Lou Reed, Ozzy Osbourne and others.

He joined a band called The Strawbs in 1970 and after 2 albums, became part of the progressive rock band YES with whom he released 4 albums (Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and the live album Yessongs). Every single one of these went either gold or platinum in every country they were released in. He left YES in May 1974 to pursue a solo career, but had in the meantime been working on various solo projects.

In 1973, Rick composed a milestone in progressive rock Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and adaptation of the Jules Verne classic. This appeared in the top 10 of virtually every country in the world. After various solo projects including music for films, and around 100 concerts each year, Rick rejoined YES in 1976, and recorded Going for the One with them. During the 80's, Rick worked on numerous albums and recorded "1984" with lyrics by Tim Rice, and featuring the vocals of Chaka Khan and Jon Anderson (also of YES), and started to venture into the world of New Age music. In 1978, Yes released TORMATO, and Rick released a double solo album titled Rhapsodies. Rick wrote independantly and for several movie soundtracks until 1989, when four members of YES (Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe) reunited and toured for about a year. In 1991 they toured again, once again under the name YES. The group has toured on and off since.

His discography is ludicrously long. If you really want to see it, go to:

They've got it all.

It'll make you cry.

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