Rick Wakeman's interest in music began at an early age and it was originally thought that a career as a classical pianist lay in store for Rick and a spell at the Royal College of Music would seem to support this theory. Unfortunately Rick preferred playing in bands and appearing on the lucrative session circuit than studying as a classical pianist and decided to leave the Royal College of Music or was perhaps gently pushed in that direction depending on whose story you believe.
Whatever the facts one thing is certain Rick Wakeman was in heavy demand playing sessions for some of the biggest names in pop music at this time (Late sixties/early seventies) and as such played on many hit singles including records by Brotherhood Of Man, Cat Stevens, T.Rex and also played on the David Bowie single Space Oddity.
Around this time Rick also decided to join the British folk rock band the Strawbs and it was with this band that Rick first caught the attention of the band with who he is most closely associated...Yes
Rick left the Strawbs following a well received live album (Just A Collection Of Antiques and Curios) and a studio album (From The Witchwood) and joined Yes in time to record the bands fourth album Fragile and the single from that album (Roundabout) went on to achieve great success in America.
Rick would achieve great success with Yes recording a number of highly successful albums with the band including Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans and the live Yessongs.
It was also around this time that Rick released his own debut solo album The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth. Rick decided to leave Yes following disagreements over the bands album Tales From Topographic Oceans and went solo full time recording his second album a musical interpretation of Jules Verne's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.
With this album Rick became a bona fide superstar and recorded more themed albums including The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and The Knights Of The Round Table. He also recorded two well-received film soundtracks for the films White Rock and Ken Russell's Lisztomania in which he also had a small role.
Returning to Yes in 1977 Rick managed to juggle both the responsibilities of a solo career and also his obligations to Yes although once again in 1979 Rick departed Yes for a solo career. Rick would return to Yes again on a number of occasions and at the time of writing is still a member of the premier British progressive rock band.
Originally released in 1995 this album is considered a true treasure in Rick Wakeman’s vast catalogue and has been unavailable for some time. The music on this album is considered by many including Rick Wakeman to be some of the best he has ever written and recorded. The album’s musical director is also a well known name to many Rick Wakeman fans Rick’s son Adam Wakeman. The music contained on Cirque Surreal was actually performed live in Brighton for the circus for a week complete with band. Since then however the album has become a hard to find artefact. The album also features Rick’s long time drummer Tony Fernandez and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith on guitar and on some of the tracks Chrissie Hammond on vocals. As the album has been unavailable for some time this re issue will be warmly received by the large and dedicated Rick Wakeman fan base.
Balance of Power
Wings of Fortune
Wired For Sound
The Love That I Know