Keyboard player, composer and songwriter Rick Wakeman was born 18th May 1949). He is best known for being the former keyboardist with progressive rock band Yes. He has also written many solo albums and hosted a radio show on Planet Rock called Rick’s place, that aired until December 2010. Wakeman was born in West London. He purchased his first electronic keyboard at 12 years of age. 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 Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John and Cat Stevens. Wakeman joined the folk group Strawbs in 1969 and played on three of their albums.
Yes were formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. The band have undergone numerous formations throughout their history; nineteen musicians have been full-time members. Since June 2015, it has consisted of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison, and bassist Billy Sherwood. Yes have explored numerous musical styles over the years, and are most notably regarded as progressive and art rock pioneers. Yes began in 1968, performing original songs and rearranged covers of rock, pop, blues and jazz songs, A change of direction in 1970 led to a series of successful progressive and art rock-style albums until their disbanding in 1981, their most successful being The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972). Yes toured as a major rock act that earned the band a reputation for their elaborate stage sets, light displays, and album covers designed by Roger Dean. The success of “Roundabout”, the single from Fragile, cemented their popularity across the decade and beyond.
Wakeman first joined Yes in 1971 to replace Tony Kaye, and left the group in 1974 to work on his solo career. He returned in 1976 before leaving with lead vocalist Jon Anderson in 1980. Wakeman was also 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. Wakeman began his solo career during his first run with Yes. His perhaps most known records being his first three, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He has produced over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies. In November 2010, Wakeman was awarded the Spirit of Prog award at the annual Marshall Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards, and
Wakeman’s former bandmate Bill Bruford, Who was Drummer, percussionist and composer with Progressive Rock Bands Yes & King Crimson was also born 17th May 1949. He was the original drummer in the band, from 1968-1972. Bruford began playing the drums when he was thirteen, and was influenced by jazz drumming, which manifested itself on early Yes albums and remained an influence on his style throughout his career. During his time with Yes Bruford played on their first five albums including the LPs The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge. Bruford has also performed for numerous other acts as well, including a stint as touring drummer for Genesis in 1976, Bruford was also the drummer for progressive rock band King Crimson, But moved away from progressive rock to concentrate on jazz, leading his own jazz group, Earthworks, for several years.
In 1983, Yes reformed with a new line-up that included Trevor Rabin and a more commercial and pop-oriented musical direction. The result was 90125 (1983), their highest-selling album which contained the US number-one single, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. From 1990 to 1992, Yes were an eight-member formation after they merged with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe to release Union (1991) and complete its tour. Since 1994, Yes have released albums with varied levels of success and completed tours from 1997 to 2004.
Bruford retired in 2009. However Yes remain one of the most successful, influential, and longest-lasting progressive rock bands. They have sold 13.5 million RIAA-certified albums in the US. In 1985, they won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance with “Cinema”, and received five Grammy nominations between 1985 and 1992. They were ranked No. 94 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Yes have headlined annual progressive rock-themed cruises since 2013 named Cruise to the Edge. Their discography spans 21 studio albums. In April 2017, Yes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which chose to specifically bestow the honour upon current and former members Anderson, Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, Howe, Rick Wakeman, White and Rabin. Yes continue to release albums; their most recent is Heaven & Earth (2014). A separate group composed of former Yes members have been actively touring at the same time, performing under the name Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman since 2017, with an album of their own slated for a 2018 release. Yes continue to perform to this day, more than 40 years since their formation.