Rick's Biography

Rick's Biography

Rick's life history so far seems to have been written so many times that we thought it would be nice to present it in a different way this time around, and so we have chronicled some of the major and not so major events that have happened in Rick's life throughout each of the 70 odd years.
Once you've read this, you can read the in-depth story in Rick's autobiography Say Yes! and further anecdotes in either of the Grumpy Old Rockstar books.

1948 - Somewhere, around about August/September, Mildred and Cyril Wakeman have an early night and Richard Christopher Wakeman is conceived. (Incidentally, anyone calling him Richard these days is likely to get ignored)

1949 - At Perivale maternity hospital in Middlesex on May 18th (presents and cards always welcome), a boy was born to Mildred Helen and Cyril Frank Wakeman. Mildred wanted a girl and Cyril wanted a boy. They said in later years that it was amazing that they were both disappointed! Dad wanted to call him Simon and Mum wanted to call him Dianne

1950 - You must appreciate that we are working entirely on hearsay here, as Rick's memory doesn't stretch back as far as nappies and prams. Anyway, we are reliably informed from Rick's mother that he cried and screamed from the moment he woke up in the morning until the moment he went to sleep at night. Subsequently during the day she would put the pram, with him in it, in the garden shed

1951 - Still refused to walk apparently. (This was cured in later years by strapping a golf bag on his shoulder). He crawled backwards and regularly jammed himself under the sideboard. (Riveting stuff)

1952 - Walked, (probably out of boredom and being fed up with being jammed under the sideboard), down to the end of the garden, where he fed the chickens with rhubarb. Rick claims to this day that the rhubarb could not possibly have been the sole reason from the death of all the chickens the following day

1953 - First family holiday in 1938 Morris 8 to Exmouth in Devon where they stayed at Mrs. Clarke's guest house at 24 Lawn Road.

1954 - Rick goes to school. Wood End Infants to be precise, just down the road from the semi-detached he was to spend all his childhood days. Annual holiday in Exmouth at Mrs. Clarke's. Rick recalls the Sunday musical evenings with his Uncle Stan on ukulele, his father on the piano and his mother singing. Rick joins South Harrow Baptist Church Sunday School.

1955 - Rick's dad buys a television. Just the one channel with such delights as Andy Pandy and Muffin the Mule. Holiday in Exmouth (Mrs. Clarke’s), but most importantly his first piano lesson with Mrs. Symes, who was to remain his teacher throughout.

1956 - Found out that Father Christmas wasn't real. This was his first realisation that lies existed. Luckily found out in later life that Father Xmas does exist and won't hear anything to the contrary. Went to Mrs. Clarke's in Exmouth.

1957 - Moved up to Wood End Juniors. First music teacher there was Mr. Lewis who used to rap the children over the knuckles with a ruler. To try and put a stop to this, one naughty boy sawed Mr. Lewis's rulers in half but luckily they were never able to pin it on Rick as he put the saw back in the caretaker's room before it was discovered missing. First two weeks in August... Mrs. Clarke's, Exmouth. Was taken to Brentford to see his first game of football by his father. Became an instant fan.

1958 - New school music teacher, Miss Dennis. Large breasted and freckly. Very popular. Rick performs a Clementi Sonatina at the school concerts with Side Saddle, which was a huge hit for Russ Conway at the time, as an encore. Joined the 1st Sudbury Scout Troop as a cub. No need to tell you where the Wakeman's holidayed.

1959 - Passed 11-plus examination and was admitted to Drayton Manor County Grammar School in West London. His music teacher there was William Herrera, a brilliant man in his late fifties. He eventually ran off to Spain with a girl from the fourth form, where they married and lived happily ever after until Bill's death some ten or so years ago. We will let you decide what the possible cause of death was. Most of us who knew him tend to plump for ecstasy. Rick passes Grade One examination on the piano with distinction. (He gained distinction throughout the eight graded examinations). As a reward the family went to Exmouth for a holiday.

1960 - Rick was entered for his first music festival and duly won his class. (The trophy still sits on his piano to this day). He also passed Grade Two both on piano and at theory. The theory lessons were held on Saturday mornings. Saturday lunchtimes were occupied by sitting on Sudbury Hill station bridge and attempting to drop the rubbers taken from Mrs. Symes theory classes down the funnels of passing steam engines. The family decided to have a bit of a change for holiday this year and so went the last two weeks in August instead of the first two to... you've guessed it. Good old Mrs. Clarke's.

1961 - Rick is entered for loads of festivals and proceeds to win most of them. It gets to the stage that he won't practice unless he has an audience. Grade Three is achieved and he also starts clarinet lessons with William Herrera. Forms his first band, a trad jazz band called Brother Wakeman and the Clergyman. The band uniform is achieved by putting the school shirt on the wrong way round. Feigned serious illness, but to no avail... holidayed at Mrs. Clarke's.

1962 - Commence church organ lessons. Grade Four passed and more festivals won. Leaves scouts and joins the 1st Harrow Boys Brigade at South Harrow Baptist Church, Heavily into trad jazz, (Kenny Ball in particular), has a record player for Xmas... a Dansette Major! Rick has three singles in his collection, all of which are played in heavy rotation for the neighbour's benefit. They are, (the records that is, not the neighbours), Still Love You All by Kenny Ball, Have a Drink on Me by Lonnie Donegan, and Sleigh Bells by Russ Conway. Holiday in Exmouth, (now there's a surprise).

1963 - Joined a local Blues band called The Atlantic Blues, who were famed more for their enthusiasm than musical prowess. This was noted with interest by Mrs. Symes whilst guiding him through grade Five. Rick was amazed how well Mrs. Clarke looked during the Wakeman family holiday and Rick was picked for the Drayton Manor 2nd XI football team.

1964 - The Atlantic Blues obtain a residency at the Neasdon Mental Rehabilitation Club. Quite seriously the band barricaded themselves in behind chairs and trestle tables for the first couple of weeks, but then grew up very fast and got to know the kids and become their friends. The band stayed there for a year and to this day Rick counts it as one of the most rewarding periods of his life. Grade Six is accomplished and the weather is pretty bad in Exmouth during the first two weeks in August.

1965 - Rick struggles through his O-levels and passes English, Spoken English, Maths, Art and Music and proceeds into the sixth form to take Art, Music and British Constitution. He leaves the Atlantic Blues and joins a local dance band quartet called the Concords. They did weddings and 21st birthdays as well as pub gigs. Rick was already six foot and soon discovered the joys of earning a couple of quid and spending it on beer. Homework suffered as did piano practice. Grade Seven was held over for a year. Rick brought home numerous holiday brochures about Spain, which were glossed over with moderate interest before the serious decision of which two weeks we would be going to Mrs. Clarke's was made.

1966 - Passes driving test and purchases a 1958 Ford 100E Anglia. This was prior to MOT testing, which was just as well, as the car had four odd tyres, little or no floor, was held together with more filler than metal and cost to buy £30 inclusive of tax and insurance. Rick forms his own rock band. Curdled Milk, named after Eric Clapton's Cream. The band was a huge hit at the school dance which was marred only by Rick driving his car over the headmaster's prize rose bed and subsequently forfeiting the fee. Knuckles down and passes Grade Seven. Also forms his own dance band, (The Green Dolphin Trio), and obtains a residency at the Borough of Brent Council Social Club in Alperton, Middlesex. Sells the Anglia and buys a 1957 Vauxhall Victor Estate. Refused point blank to go to Mrs. Clarke's and went for one weeks camp with the Boys Brigade, would you believe in Devon, and two weeks package holiday (£49) in Majorca with his friend Pete Wakefield. Rick also did his first BBC sessions with the James Royal Set for Radio One. John Entwhistle played bass on some of the sessions, what price the tapes now?

1967 - Passed Art and Music at A-level. Failed British Constitution. (This has been a personal thorn in Rick's side and as he has built up a great interest in politics, and intends at some juncture over the next few years to take the exam again as well as going for a degree in the subject). Grade eight was passed as was the entrance examination to the Royal College of Music. Rick became a Sunday School teacher at the church and also left the Green Dolphin Trio and joined the Ronnie Smith Band which had a residency at the Top Rank Ballroom in Watford. It was here that Rick first met Ashley Holt, who went on to become Rick's first choice male vocalist throughout his solo career. By now Rick had also changed cars, from a Ford Consul to a Cortina and this love of cars continued and he admits to losing count around about the hundredth vehicle he owned!

1968 - Attended the Royal College of Music, where he studied piano, modern music, clarinet and orchestration. The College was not exactly a happy period for him and he quietly returned during this period of his life to Mrs. Symes for further lessons. He was baptised at his church and was sacked from Ronnie Smith's band for not taking the dance music seriously enough. At the end of the year was re-instated with the band, this time at the Top Rank Ballroom in Reading. In the time in between he started doing sessions for Regal Zonophone and for such notable producers as Gus Dudgeon and Tony Visconti. Holidays ceased, although Mrs. Clarke was to remain a regular haunt for Rick's parents up until she passed away in the late 1970s.

1969 - Rick left the College of his own choosing and set about forging a career for himself in the music world. This was ably assisted by Ronnie Smith who sacked him for the second time for having the audacity to ask for more money. Rick joined a pub band called The Spinning Wheel which had a residency at the Greyhound in Chadwell Heath in Essex. It was owned by Bob Wheatley, who later went on to form Wheatley Taverns and do very nicely for himself. Rick has considerable admiration for Bob and enjoyed the few months he worked for him. Incidentally the bass player from that band went on to have hits with Pickety Witch and the guitarist wrote some very successful songs later to be recorded by artistes such as Cliff Richard. Rick recorded Space Oddity with David Bowie and did first sessions for Strawbs.

1970 - Left the Spinning Wheel and joined Strawbs. Moved from the semi in Northolt, leaving behind his parents and three drawers full of black and white photographs of Exmouth. Made his first album with the Strawbs in the July of that year, live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall... Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios. It was this concert, more than any other event up until that point, that brought Rick to the attention of the media. The Melody Maker seemed to sum it up with their headline "Tomorrow's Superstar". The Strawbs grew in popularity and Rick became heavily in demand for session work with other artistes. At the height of his session career, Rick was doing eighteen a week. It is estimated that he has performed on over 2,000 different tracks by artistes as diverse as Black Sabbath, Cat Stevens (Morning Has Broken being the most remembered), Mary Hopkins, Cilla Black, Clive Dunn, Elton John, Edison Lighthouse, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Dana, Des O'Connor, Magna Carta, Al Stewart, Ralph McTell, Butterscotch, Biddu and Harry Nilsson. Marries Roz Woolford in Reading.

1971 - Made a second album with Strawbs entitled From The Witchwood which contained Rick's all time favourite Strawb's track... A Glimpse of Heaven, probably one of Dave Cousin's finest compositions. Moved from the rented flat in Ilford to a small two up, two down in West Harrow, Middlesex. Left the Strawbs in August and joined YES. Toured America for the first time and made the classic album FRAGILE, still regarded by many as the epitome of the progressive rock album. At the end of the year signed a solo contract with A&M Records and recorded Catherine of Aragon at Trident Studios in London.

1972 - YES record Close to the Edge and the band establishes itself worldwide as one of the leaders in contemporary rock music. Rick continues recording the Six Wives of Henry VIII and moves from his terraced home in West Harrow to a detached four bedroomed house in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. The year was full of tours around the world and Rick's first son Oliver was born.

1973 - The Six Wives of Henry VIII was released and in spite of indifferent reviews was a big hit worldwide. YES produced YESSONGS, a live three album set, and made a film which is available on video to this day. At the end of 1973 YES produced Tales from Topographic Oceans which ultimately led to Rick handing in his notice the following year. Again YES toured solidly and Rick moved once again, this time to Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire where he set about converting an old nursing home. Rick appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC2 and his new fangled idea of putting keyboards on top of one another, which he pioneered back in 1970, now seemed to be catching on.

1974 - Probably the most significant year in Rick's career. In a nutshell he recorded Journey to the Centre of the Earth with the London Symphony Orchestra with the resulting record appearing in the top ten of virtually every country in the world and in May left YES, the band he felt he could no longer contribute to. He toured the world with Journey, taking around huge orchestras and choirs, resulting in him spending every penny he had earned. His second son, Adam was born earlier that year in March.

1975 - Rick performed Journey on stage at the Crystal Palace Bowl. He collapsed at the end of the show and later the following day was admitted to Wexham Park Hospital following a suspected minor heart attack. He remained in hospital for some weeks and whilst incarcerated wrote The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The album story became as much about the composer as it was about King Arthur, although this was never ever mentioned in any articles or interviews. The album was recorded at Morgan Studios in Willesden, North London. Rick also ventured into films by working with Ken Russell on Lisztomania at Shepperton Studios. King Arthur was performed as an ice show for three nights at Wembley Empire Pool and in spite of selling out lost a small fortune due to Rick's extravagant production. Wrote and arranged the music for Ken Russell's Lisztomania and also appeared in it as the Thor.

1976 - Recorded No Earthly Connection in France with the English Rock Ensemble and also the music for the film White Rock and toured Europe, America and Brazil where Rick broke every indoor attendance record, all of which still stand to this day. A biography "The Caped Crusader" by Dan Wooding hits the bookstores. He rejoined YES in November and moved to Switzerland.

1977 - Released Going for the One with YES and toured the world for a change. Recorded Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record. YES had a top ten single with Wondrous Stories.

1978 - Released Rhapsodies, a double solo album, produced by Toni Visconti. Rick's third son Benjamin is born on the 11th of February 1978 at Vevey Hospital in Switzerland. Guess what... YES toured for a change and recorded a new album TORMATO. Originally titled YESTOR, it was renamed after Rick threw a ripe tomato at the master painting of the cover. Rick invested heavily, and unwisely in American soccer.

1979 - A strange year this. It was the real emergence of punk. YES and Rick were very out of fashion and Rick recorded an album entitled MAYBE '80, which was released later on the now defunct Moon label under the name Rock and Roll Prophet. YES attempted to record an album in Paris which ended in bitter dispute culminating in Rick and Jon Anderson leaving in the December. Rick becomes a director of Brentford Football Club.

1980 - Following his divorce from Roz, marries Danielle Corminboeuf, a Swiss lady, in Barbados. The marriage lasts less than a year. Rick resigns as director of Brentford Football Club and returns to England shortly after the sudden death of his father. Reforms the English Rock Ensemble and tours for a change.

1981 - Records the music for the horror film The Burning in New York. Signs for Charisma Records and starts to record 1984, with lyrics by Tim Rice. Chaka Khan, Steve Harley and Jon Anderson provide the vocals. A huge tour is mounted around South America and the UK. It is during this tour that Rick meets Nina Carter, the former Page 3 model.

1982 - Records a new solo album, Cost of Living, again with lyrics by Tim Rice and featuring some fine narrative work by Robert Powell. Records the TV series Gastank with Tony Ashton for Channel 4 and finally releases Rock and Roll Prophet. Also the soundtrack from the World Cup is released entitled G'ole!

1983 - Jemma is born in Edinburgh in February and Rick and Nina move to Camberley in Surrey. Rick becomes chairman of Camberley Town Football Club

1984 - Discovers the joy of golf. Becomes an instant fanatic. (It is now a passion. (Handicap currently fluctuates between 11 and 13). Proud member of the Stage Golfing Society and is made president for 2005) Rick signs for President Records and produces Silent Nights. The single Glory Boys gets heavy radio play, but the collapse of the distribution company foiled Rick's first chance of a possible solo hit single. Rick loses his driving licence after failing the breathalyser and marries Nina at Camberley United Reformed Church.

1985 - Rick embarks on a massive tour promoting Silent Nights. In Australia he is taken seriously ill and gives up drinking for good. Records Country Airs for Coda Records which stays at number one in the new age chart for over twenty weeks. Rick tours Australia with the band SKY.

1986 - Oscar is born in May in Guildford, Surrey. Rick embarks on producing a new age collection for President Records which culminate over the coming years with Zodiaque which he records with Tony Fernandez, A Suite of Gods with Ramon Remedios, Night Airs, Sea Airs and The Family Album. The Live at Hammersmith album is also released.

1987 - The Gospels is recorded with Ramon Remedios, Robert Powell and the Eton College Chapel Choir. It is filmed in Israel for Central Television and shown the following year on Good Friday. The album Time Machine is put together, intended to be a live spectacular ice show, but lack of sponsorship and funds reduce the project to a single album but containing classic tracks such as Ice and Make Me a Woman.

1988 - The Wakemans move to the Isle of Man. Rick reforms The English Rock Ensemble and touring starts yet again, but all the while a master plan is formulating as to where Rick wants to take his music and his career. The first stage in this is to build his own studio.

1989 - Touring continues but is cut short with the reformation of four of the old members of YES. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe have a million selling CD worldwide and a massive world tour is undertaken. Rick produces African Bach, which contains some of the best vocal material he has ever written. Contractual problems delay the release until late 1991.

1990 - Rick forms the Ambient group to look after his recordings and videos. First releases include Aspirant Sunrise, Aspirant Sunset & Aspirant Sunshadows and Phantom Power. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe commence recording a second album in France which suddenly becomes part of a newly formed eight piece YES album. Produces In the Beginning for the Christian charity ASSIST with Nina with all proceeds going to the charity.

1991 - YES tour Europe and America and the Union album sells close on two million copies worldwide. Rick makes an album with his great friend Norman Wisdom. Rick continues to produce solo projects for Ambient, which include 2000AD, The Private Collection, Classical Connection, Classical Connection II and Softsword. A combined album with Rick and Mario Fasciano entitled Black Knights at the Court of Ferdinand IV is also released. The video of the Gospels is re-released as is a video of the Classical Collection tour. Plans are laid for a re-make of Journey to the Centre of the Earth and a tour for Classical Connection II is put together.

1992 - I'm sure something exciting happened in 1992, but I'm buggered if I know what!

1993 - A bit of a low year really, with European and American tours that were successful musically, but disasterous financially. Recordings are made of the newly enhanced New Gospels and an album written to celebrate Rick's love of his home on the Isle of Man, The Heritage Suite. On an upbeat note, a tour of South America goes brilliantly during August and September and prepares Rick and Adam to launch what turned out to be their farewell UK tour, Wakeman with Wakeman, interspersed with four New Gospels performances. Rick starts work of his autobiography Say Yes!. The golf's improving too, with Rick coming second in the Howard Keel Golf Classic. A follow up album to Wakeman With Wakeman is recorded entitled No Expense Spared. Rick and Adam play to a packed house at Scezcin in Poland at the request of a local TV station. The highlight of the year for little Jemma and Oscar was Daddy playing in Jasper Carrot's Christmas Charity show as Daddy shared a dressing room with Mr Blobby!

1994 - A year in which speculation rises and then falls about Rick's likely participation with YES. A cracking double CD, The Official Live Bootleg is released from 93's South American tour. Rick appears to be making a bid for Terry Wogan's TV appearance record with appearances as a judge on Masterchef, with Steve Wright and a host of other shows, culminating in a six week run as a team captain on Danny Baker's show "Bygones", the musical highlight of which was Rick's astounding multi-stylophone set-up. A small tour of America is undertaken for the charity ASSIST using just a grand piano, and whilst there The Piano Album is recorded. The New Gospels are performed in Edinburgh and Liverpool and Rick embarks on a series of after dinner speaking engagements. Say Yes! is finally delivered to the publishers and the year is seen out with more TV, including a trip to India for a travel show and an appearance on "An Audience with Jimmy Tarbuck" playing alongside Kenny Jones, Hank Marvin, Justin Hayward and John Lodge. Romance of the Victorian Age is released which makes the Radio 2 play list. Speculation also mounts about "Return to the Centre of the Earth".

1995 - The year of the circus, with Rick writing and performing the music for the hugely successful Cirque Surreal - a human circus. The show debuts in Brighton and eventually tours Cheltenham, Edinburge and Bath with Adam as musical director. The New Gospels go from strength to strength with a video being made at Peel Castle by Border Television which is shown on network ITV over Christmas in a shortened one hour format. Work is completed on soundtracks for two Michael Caine films, Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in St Petersburg. Adam's new band Jeronimo Road record their first track, Starship Trooper for a YES tribute album. A grand tour of South America is unfortunately cancelled, but Rick is back in YES and rehearses over in the USA. Rick hosts a radio series "Man, Machine & Music" and finally admits that he needs to wear his glasses for golf after failing to get his handicap down to the target of 12, although 13.4 isn't bad! An ambient music album Visions is released and later in the year, another album with Adam called Tapestries.

1996 - The year begins on the Algarve playing golf with Tarby (that's a very English thing in case you're reading abroad!). In February, two stunning performances of The New Gospels are given at Winchester and Chichester Cathedrals, the latter of which was truly stunning and the audience/congregation were stunned too by the blizzard that had blown up outside during the performance. Rick survives a plane crash on landing at Derry in Northern Ireland on the way to a corporate function. Rehearsals begin for the UK Wot's On TV Tonite Tour with Adam and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith during May and June.

1997 - Rick travels to America to introduce Ajalon in concert and returned at Easter to perform five sellout performances of The New Gospels. A strange second half to the year really as after leaving YES for the umpteenth time, Rick discovered that much of his perfoming and writing had been removed from Keys To Ascension II. This was hotly denied by Castle, the record company, until Rick offered to play them the original test pressing they had sent him whilst still in the band. They never ever spoke to him again and refused even to send him a free copy of the CD! At this juncture TV opportunities were pouring in and it did seem at one stage that this was the route that the career was going down at the expense of music. It was clear to many that Rick was at a career crossroads.

1998 - was a year to really remember. EMI signed Rick to compose and record Return To The Centre Of The Earth in February. Recording lasts through to December with a short break in August and September allowing Rick to contract chronic pneumonia and pleurisy and go on the danger list in intensive care in hospital on the Isle of Man! Rick also managed to fit in numerous television and radio appearances as well as being featured on This Is Your Life. Other interesting facts are that at the beginning of August Rick weighed 230 lbs - by the end of September he weighed 185 lbs! Who said hospital food isn't good for you!

1999 - saw the release in March of Return To The Centre Of The Earth in the UK, with other territories following suit in the following weeks . Loads more television, loads more radio, loads more everything really - but as yet not loads more weight! A Church tour was undertaken in May and June, and Rick's 50th birthday passed by quietly , with Rick in mourning as to another decade passing.

2000 - Just like three thousand two hundred and eighty six other artists, Rick decides it would be a good idea to record an album especially for the new Millennium. His is a piano album entitled Prelude to a Century and had a similar impact on the general public as did the Dome. The English Rock Ensemble is reformed and the band tours South America producing a live DVD, (Live in Buenos Aires), and a CD, (Out of the Blue). Rick's third wife decides she wishes to be Rick's third ex-wife and subsequently Rick leaves the marital home with two suitcases. (This is somewhat of an improvement on the previous one where he left with one suitcase)! The press print a bucket load of lies about the break up through "cheque-book journalism", which Rick refuses to get participate in or get drawn into, and prepares to start life on his own for the fourth time, vowing that he will never get married again.

2001 - Decides to do what he claims will be his final theatre tour around the UK. (The general consensus of opinion is that it will not be his last as he enjoys them too much). Records The Chronicles of Man as his final parting "thank-you" to the heritage of the Isle of Man which had been his home for many years. Further concerts take place with the English Rock Ensemble in Italy, South America, the UK and Canada. Return to The Centre of the Earth has its premiere at Trois Rivieres near Quebec and is a tremendous success. Everybody waits for future productions on the back of this amazing success. Everybody is still waiting. Rick finally does his first pantomime. He stars as Abanazer at the Hall for Cornwall for five weeks and the pantomime breaks all box office records.

2002 - The English Rock Ensemble tour Indonesia and perform a few shows in the UK in-between completing the recording of the new studio album entitled Out There. Rick completes an album with the English Chamber Choir entitled The Wizard and the Forest of all Dreams. His beloved Manchester City win the first division championship in style. Oh yes......he rejoins some old friends for a tour of America!!

2003 - A year pretty much of touring and more touring. YES perform all over America and the YESSPEAK DVD is put together as a documentary as due to ludicrous contractual problems that had been signed prior to Rick re-joining, the band were unable to record any music together! The English Rock Ensemble also performed 44 shows in as many days and heralded the return of Ashley Holt to the fold. Rick survives a serious high speed car crash on the M40. Rick becomes a Grumpy Old Man on the hit television series.

2004 - "YES Acoustic" is recorded and released following the huge popularity of the acoustic YES set on tour. YES tour continuously throughout the USA, Australia, Japan and Europe. Rick tells of his daughter Amanda in America. He also decides he’s fed up with living in hotels and moves to a rented barn in Hertfordshire with his girlfriend Rachel whilst house hunting for something more permanent! The divorce from Nina finally comes through in December.

2005 - Sells the flat and office on the Isle of Man which severs all connections with the Island except of course for his visits to see his God-daughter Sarah and his son Oscar who is still there until he finishes school. Has a double hernia operation in March and moves to a new home in Norfolk and to complete "the family" take in 2 rescue cats. Teaser and Scrabble! Starts a new Saturday show on Planet Rock which is broadcast live from Norwich with his good friend David Hoffman. It also heralded the last lengthy YES tour that Rick was to undertake. By the end of the year he was physically and mentally drained.

2006 - Rick decides to stop lengthy touring and concentrate on composing and doing one-off shows. Builds a studio to replace the "one he lost" in Wembley when it was knocked down to make a car park for the new stadium! Suddenly finds himself heavily in demand for corporate work thanks to the success of his appearances on Grumpy Old Men, Countdown, Have I Got News For You and other television programmes. It becomes a year where he spends much time preparing a new path for the future and "buying time" to fulfil some dreams. One is achieved immediately when he tours acoustically with Jon Anderson in the UK and the shows are met with much critical acclaim.

2007 - This was very much a year of reflection. Certainly there were more than a few live performances, many television and radio appearances and corporate work. Rick and Rachel get engaged. Much of the year is spent with lawyers cataloguing music and other works in order to try and find out what he does and doesn't own! At the end of the year Rick puts together The Grumpy Old Picture Show. A technically difficult show to both produce and perform...and extremely expensive to put on.

2008 - Rick decides to have one more try at solo touring in the UK and puts together a second run of The Grumpy Old Picture Show. This time it fails to break even as it requires capacity audience sales to achieve this and although attendances are good (around 95%), that's not enough and Rick once again wonders if it's time to completely stop performing tours in the UK. A one-man show in Japan is very successful and Rick works on orchestrating much of his work for symphony orchestra, choir and piano with his great friend Guy Protheroe. Concerts take place in Bulgaria and Chile and are hugely successful. The book Grumpy Old Rockstar is released to rave reviews and stays in the top 40 best sellers list for many weeks. Rick is given an Honorary Professorship at The London College of Music.

2009 - The 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's ascension to the throne sees Rick perform a spectacular event at Hampton Court performing The Six Wives of Henry VIII with a full orchestra and choir as well as a 7 piece band. Thankfully the whole event was filmed for posterity and was released by Eagle Rock later in the year. More piano and orchestra concerts were performed in Poland and Switzerland. The second book in the series is released and entitled "Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rockstar"

2010 - Because he enjoys performing so much, Rick set out a plan to perform many solo concerts, but wherever possible as "one-offs" and this proved highly successful. Planet Rock's Saturday morning show continued, now with Kid Jensen as his sidekick, and was recorded in London as it was felt that Rick was not trustworthy enough to go live anymore! Before the end of the year, it sadly came to an end, but don't despair...read on to 2012!

2011 - A very busy year with a first appearance on Just a Minute on Radio 4 closely followed by a second and third. More concerts in Argentina with the piano and orchestra, more one man shows both in the UK and in Europe and a great duo tour of the East Coast of America with Jon Anderson too. Rick Wakeman’s Revolution completed its first full year on Radio Nova and Rick’s Rants continued on Watchdog......and oh yes, Rick got married in December to his beloved Rachel!

2012 - In March Rick was awarded his Fellowship of the Royal College of Music which was extremely special for him and has set the year up to be equally special, with many plans including more Radio 4 appearances on The News Quiz, more one man shows, performances of Journey...(extended version) and Six Wives, planned for November in South America. More filming for Watchdog and Rick joined Twitter! Son Oliver and his wife Lisa welcomed Lottie to the world, Rick's 7th grandchild. Rick re-records a new extended version of Journey and was honoured to receive the inaugural Prog God Award.

2013 - Rick becomes Prince Rat in the Grand Order of Water Rats. Although plans for a spectacular concert in Gloucester didn't materialize, a family concert with Oliver, Adam and Gemma happened. Rick was patron of The Houses of Parliament's "Rock the House" event. A run of 12 shows at the Edinburgh Festival and yes, more filming for Watchdog. Rick ends the year being appointed King Rat.

2014 - The new recording of Journey is officially released in conjuntion with Return in lavish packaging and Rick reopens the Wakeman Music Emporium online this time! In addition to being King Rat, Rick is installed as Worshipful Master of Chelsea Lodge, the first time one person has been at the head of both showbiz charities. Rick tours the UK with a lavish production of Journey for its 40th Anniversary and the production wins the Live Event of the Year award at the Prog Music Awards. Towards the end of the year, Rick returns to South America for a short tour. And in May, Rick officially became an old age pensioner!

2015 - A&M finally start to re-release Rick's early catalog as deluxe editions with QUAD mixes. Rick's TV work includes documentaries on Vivaldi and Tour Buses. Rick's own festival WAKEmanFEST was announced, but postponed to a later date. Rick continues to perform around the country with his piano show. A Christmas single is released with Emmie Beckitt, Welcome a Star with Rick's usual Granery concerts rounding off the year.

2016 - The year began with rumours and then confirmation that Rick was reuniting with Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin to form ARW, later becoming YES featuring ARW. The year finished with a long tour in the USA. Earlier in the year, Rick re-recorded a longer version of Myths which debuted in a June live performance at the O2 in London. Rick and long time friend Ian Lavender appeared on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. Starmus in the Canary Islands saw Rick performing a memorable rendition of Space Oddity with Commander Chris Hadfield who reprised his ISS version here on earth. Rick also supported the Animals Asia charity and their work saving Moon Bears - adopting a bear called Cyril. Rick's son Ben was married in September.

2017 - The year that Rick saw a return to recording his favourite Grand Piano which resulted in the hugely successful Piano Portraits album for Sony Classical and long UK tour supporting the release. Piano Portraits was awarded a Silver Disc, Rick's first in many years. In April, YES were inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a ceremony that featured an acceptance speech from Rick that brought the house down. ARW continued touring around Europe and Asia between March and July. Rick did find time in May to appear on Desert Island Discs. Later in the year, ARW returned for another tour of the USA and Canada.

2018 - A DVD of Piano Portraits at Lincoln cathedral was released, and Rick returned to South America to perform some piano shows with Orchestra and Choir. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of YES, ARW took a short tour about Europe and the USA. Rick followed up the success of Piano Portraits, with a new piano album called Piano Odyssey, this time featuring some orchestral and choir accents which included a version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody with guest appearance by Brian May. A tour to support the album took place from September, culminating in a Christmas Odyssey tour. The low point of the year was the sad passing of Rick's moon bear Cyril.

2019 - A momentous year that saw Rick turn 70 and celebrating 50 years in the music business. The high point of the year's celebrations were two sold out shows of Journey in the original venue at which it was recorded, The Royal Festival Hall. Rick continued his Piano Odyssey tour in the UK and took a similar format tour to the USA as the Grumpy Old Rock Star tour throughout September and October. Rick's daughter Jemma was married in June and Rick's beloved cat George sadly passed - Rick welcomed a new kitten Cobweb to the family. November saw the release of a Christmas themed piano album, Christmas Portraits and the year finished with the Grumpy Old Xmas tour.

2020 - COVID-19 hit and cancelled the whole year. One bright spot was the release of the critically acclaimed album The Red Planet

2021 - COVID-19 continues with the rescheduled Christmas Tour the main light at the end of the very long tunnel. On June 11th, Rick is awarded the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2021. In a hoped for return to normality, in June Rick announces The Even Grumpier Old Rock Star tour in the USA for October and November, part of which got rescheduled into 2022. He finishes the year with that rescheduled Not Quite as Grumpy as Last Xmas Tour.

And finally, taken from Say Yes!, a prayer attributed to an unknown confederate soldier, whom Rick considers a kindred spirit:

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I had asked for;
But everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.