Exposé Online banner

Rick Wakeman — Say Yes!
(Hodder & Stoughton, 1995, PB)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1997-02-01

Say Yes! Cover art

I knew Rick Wakeman had a great sense of humor, but I didn't know he was this funny! Told with a true gift for storytelling, Say Yes! should have all but the most hardened cynics in stitches 'til the cows come home. I read the entire book in one day and had to be practically dragged away on a stretcher from severe abdominal strain brought on by convulsive laughter! With all the down-to-earth candor that truly gives the lie to critical cries of "pretentious," Wakeman can, and does, turn any situation into something funny, as he takes us through the ups and downs of his thirty-year career. And there have been as many, or more, downs than ups for the virtuoso keyboardist/ composer.

His huge commercial successes are set against the harsh tumult of a heart attack at age 25 and two divorces. Highlights of the book were numerous, but my personal favorites were mostly from his days with The Strawbs. The time he threw Salvador Dali off the stage (not knowing who it was) at a poorly-attended circus concert, was a great one. Then there was the experience of being mistaken for Jethro Tull at a roadside diner. Or how about the incident when playing in a teenage rock band in which the drummer, in mid-song ".... broke into a drum solo in a tempo of his own choosing."

Any more references than this would be ruining the fun for everyone who reads it. On the down side, as we come nearer and nearer the present, less and less of the book is devoted to telling the musical part of his career. But I would love to have seen more detailed insight into Wakeman's later, less well known solo work. Still, all told, Say Yes! is a must as an insider's view about Yes, and some of the dark realities of the music business; or for anyone who wants a good honest laugh.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Strawbs, Yes, Rick Wakeman

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bob Nell - Soft and Bronze – Bob Nell has been playing jazz piano for nearly 30 years (mostly with drummer Brad Edwards) supporting jazz icons such as Ray Brown and David ‘Fathead’ Newman. His latest set of eight pieces...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues