Rick Wakeman is chasing a dog out of his office as he starts his call with Uncut to introduce our latest Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide. The intruder banished, the office door finally closed, Rick embarks on a far-reaching conversation which covers his session musician work, praise for the material which Yes made after he left, and how his solo successes once led to him being greeted by a brass band on an airport runway, to the dismay of the other members of Yes – though it ultimately led to them all being offered solo album contracts too.
As you’ll learn from the features and in-depth reviews in our expanded, deluxe Ultimate Music Guide, the band’s journey – with Rick and without him – has been an incredible one. From orchestral psyche-pop to pastoral prog drama. Out the other side to encounter jazz fusion, and synth pop. The band have evolved to meet the times, and are now retrenching in the ecological mode of their classic era albums to the delight of a new generation of listeners.
From his first rehearsal, it was Rick’s job to make the collaborative jigsaw of Yes music fit together. “It started with Steve saying he had a riff, which was very nice,” Rick recalls in his introduction, “so we played it. Chris had a line. Bill said he had a fill. Then I said “Well I’ve got something which sort of goes with all of that,” and they thought it was good. But Chris said, they’re all in different keys – how are we going to put it all together? I said, ‘I know how to do that…’
“That was one of my jobs: when things were in ridiculous keys, all over the shop, to make things link up. I did all that. And by the end of that rehearsal we’d pretty much put ‘Roundabout‘ together.”
For Rick it’s remembering the joy of the collaboration, more than any of the material rewards, that has the retained magical.
“Yes music means a lot to me, it’s a major part of my musical life and career,” he says. “With Yes you have to give as much as you can take or it’s not going to work.”
Get your copy in stores now, or here with free UK P&P.