Rick Wakeman has commenced recording a new solo LP. According to the keyboard legend, his "first keyboard-orientated instrumental prog rock album for quite a few years" will be issued "sometime in March."
Wakeman recently revealed that he was planning to stage two 2020 North American legs of his "Grumpy Old Rock Star" solo piano tour, with the first run of shows set to take place in April and May. According to Rick, the trek will hit "towns and cities that we didn't manage to get to on the tour last year," with each leg consisting of between 15 and 20 shows.
The 70-year-old musician, who is best known for his work with progressive rock band YES, which spans across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and for his solo albums released in the 1970s, will headline a BEATLES tribute concert on January 31 at Stowe School in Stowe, U.K. He will also perform at a benefit show for the U.K.'s Royal Marsden Cancer Charity scheduled on March 3 at London's O2 Arena.
Professional musician, keyboard player, songwriter, broadcaster and raconteur, Wakeman's career started as a much-in-demand session player, who performed on recordings by David Bowie, Elton John, Lou Reed, Al Stewart and hundreds more artists. His big break came in 1971 when he joined YES, who went on to become the most successful prog rock band in the world, but Wakeman has also always gone his own way outside the framework of that group.
In the seventies, he achieved chart-topping success with solo albums such as "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" and "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table", which cumulatively sold over 10 million copies in North America alone.
He has written several film scores, amongst them two for director Ken Russell ("Lisztomania" and "Crimes Of Passion") and two "Harry Palmer" movies starring Michael Caine ("Bullet To Beijing" and "Midnight In St. Petersburg"), and in the U.K., has built up an impressive reputation as a witty guest and host on shows like "Grumpy Old Men", "Countdown", "Watchdog" and the comedy cabaret show "Live At Jongleurs". His wickedly irreverent acceptance speech when YES was inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 nearly brought the house down.
That same year, he made British chart history when his "Piano Portraits" record became the first solo piano instrumental album to enter the U.K.'s Top 10 on release — a feat he then repeated with last year's "Piano Odyssey". Both records feature tunes that have a special connection with Rick's personal musical journey and his subsequent tours, in which he performs a selection of tracks accompanied by hilarious memories and anecdotes have been instant sellouts in the U.K.
The 2019 North American leg of the "Grumpy Old Rock Star" tour took place in September and October.
First day of recording for my first keyboard orientated instrumental prog rock album for quite a few years , All being well, will be released sometime in March . Great start to 2020. ...well I hope so anyway !
— Rick Wakeman (@GrumpyOldRick) January 13, 2020
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