Rick Wakeman On Those Bowie Songs He Played On - Noise11.com
Rick Wakeman photo by Ros O'Gorman

Rick Wakeman photo by Ros O'Gorman

Rick Wakeman On Those Bowie Songs He Played On

by Paul Cashmere on December 31, 2021

in News

Rick Wakeman was the keyboard player of choice on two of David Bowie’s best known song ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Life On Mars’ and a lot of why those songs sound like they sound is because of Rick.

Rick Wakeman played Mellotron on ‘Space Oddity’.

He says, “In 1969 I got a call from the great producer Tony Visconti saying that he would like me to go up to Trident Studio to play on a track for one of the artists he was producing. I said fine, shot up there and it was to play on an instrument called the Mellotron. It was relatively new and very few people played it because it was almost impossible to keep in tune. I went up, did the session. It was for David Bowie and the track was ‘Space Oddity’ which became a massive hit”.

Wakeman also played piano on Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’. ‘David gave me free range to play on the piano for his wonderful song. It was particularly prevalent on ‘Life On Mars’. He just said “do what you like”. I did.

Rick also played on Bowie’s ‘Changes’ and ‘Oh You Pretty Things’, Cat Stevens ‘Morning Has Broken’ is all Rick on piano. He was the piano player on T. Rex’s ‘Get It On’ and Elton John’s he is the Hammond Organ player on three ‘Madman Across The Water’ tracks ‘Razor Face’, ‘Madman Across The Water’ and ‘Holiday Inn’.

Rick was a member of The Strawbs between 1969 and 1971 before joining Yes. He also had hit solo albums including the 1974 number one album ‘Journey To The Centre of the Earth’ and 1975 number two album ‘’The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’.

In 2021 Richard Christopher Wakeman became Commander Wakeman. Rick was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to music and broadcast in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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