The spectacular extravaganzas undertaken in the mid-'70s by the former Yes and Strawbs keyboardist RICK WAKEMAN masked the talent of one of rock's premier musicians.
In the early '70s he and Keith Emerson regularly battled it out in the annual music press readers' poll for the prestige of the world's top keyboard player. Wakeman made a series of conceptual classical rock albums that were overblown with ambition 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' and 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' briefly made him a superstar.
He took his success to extremes by staging the 'Myth And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table' using a full orchestra and 50-strong choir at Wembley's Empire Pool, on ice! All three albums were hugely successful .
At the end of the '80s he was back with his former superstar friends, as
Yes re-formed for a new tour. By 1992, his son Adam was performing with
his father; he has subsequently released a number of albums with him.
Wakeman's life is never dull; he is constantly working, either as a chat
show guest, a showbusiness personality or as a highly accomplished
DUCKS DELUXE was formed in 1972 by Sean Tyla ( guitar/vocals) and ex-Help Yourself member Ken Whaley (bass). The line-up was completed by former Brinsley Schwarz roadie, Martin Belmont (guitar) and Tim Roper (drums), before Whaley was replaced by Nick Garvey
The reconstituted quartet completed 'Ducks Deluxe', an exciting, emphatic set drawn from rock's traditional sources. Andy McMaster (keyboards) expanded the group for Taxi To The Terminal Zone, but dissent over Tyla's autocratic rule resulted in a split.
Garvey and McMasters left in October 1974; they were later reunited in the Motors, while Mick Groom (bass) joined the now-ailing Ducks. Although popular in Europe, the band was all but ignored at home and a dispirited Roper quit the following year. Brinsley Schwarz (guitar) and Billy Rankin (drums), both from the defunct Brinsley Schwarz group, augmented Ducks Deluxe on a tour of France, but the group broke up on 1 July 1975 following a final appearance at London's 100 Club.
Martin Belmont later resurfaced
in Graham Parker And The Rumour, while Tyla formed the Tyla Gang with
the prodigal Ken Whaley.
MARTYN was born in Glasgow in 1948 and started
playing guitar in 1967. Within a short time he had established a
reputation on the folk-club circuit and soon after that was making his
first album for Island Records.
This UK folk group was formed in
1965 in Glasgow, Scotland, at "Clive's Incredible Folk Club" by Mike
Heron, Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer.
In 1966 the trio completed THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, a blend of traditional and original material, but they split up upon its completion.
Heron and Williamson regrouped the following year to record '5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion'. The pair were adopted by the emergent underground.
Two further releases, 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' and 'Wee Tam and The Big Huge', consolidated their position whilst 'Changing Horses' showcased Licorice McKechnie (harp/violin/percussion) and Rose Simpson (bass/violin/percussion) and signalled a more rock-based approach. The band's pastoralism was restored on 'U' and 1971's Liquid Acrobat As Regards The Air.
Dancer-turned-musician Malcolm Le Maistre was introduced to the group's circle and, with the departure of both Rose and Licorice, a keyboard player, Gerald Dott, joined the String Band for 'Earthspan'
By this point the group owed
little to the style of the previous decade and the two founding members
were becoming estranged both musically and socially. In 1974 they
announced the formal end of their partnership.