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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mahogany Frog - Do5 – Canada’s Mahogany Frog has been slightly off the main prog radar in their native Winnipeg honing their own incarnation of the 70s classic prog rock sound. On the quartet’s third instrumental...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues