“Hello” Rick Wakeman Born 18 May 1949
Richard Christopher Wakeman (born 18 May 1949) is an English keyboard player, composer and songwriter best known for being the former keyboardist in the progressive rock band Yes. He is also known for his solo albums, contributing to the BBC comedy series Grumpy Old Men and for Rick’s Place, his former radio show on Planet Rock that aired until December 2010.
In 1968, he studied the piano, clarinet, orchestration and modern music at the Royal College of Music before leaving after a year in favour of session music work. He went on to feature on songs by artists including Black Sabbath, David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John and Cat Stevens.
Wakeman joined the folk group Strawbs in 1969 and then joined Yes in 1971 to replace Tony Kaye. He left the group in 1974 to work on his solo career although returned in 1976 before leaving with lead vocalist Jon Anderson in 1980. Wakeman was part of the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, a group of ex-Yes members formed in 1989, and the eight-member Yes line-up that followed until his third departure in 1992. He returned for two years in 1995 and once more in 2002, where he was part of the band’s 35th anniversary tour until its end in 2004.
He has produced over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.