Rick Wakeman’s Yes harpsichord moments with James Gardner – 553

Produced by Ken Fuller, Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

This week we decided to postpone the second part of our Buggles episode because we had the chance to interview James Gardner about Rick Wakeman’s use of the harpsichord. It was a wide-ranging and fascinating discussion and we learned a lot about both the instrument and some of the characters involved with creating the actual instruments Rick used on recordings with Yes.

James has an encyclopedic knowledge of the use of harpsichords in popular music and he mentions a large number of songs which have featured the instrument over the years. I’ve added YouTube videos of each song James refers to in the show notes for this episode. You might want to refer to those while you listen to the interview or come back to them at the end. I found they helped me a great deal.

  • What kind of harpsichord did Rick use?
  • Who made it?
  • Where else can we hear harpsichords in popular music?

Take a listen to the episode and then let us know what you think below!

Mark Lang’s setlist:

Our guest, James Gardner:

Radio NZ Thomas Goff – The Fall and Rise of Harpsichord 6

James’ article about the origin of the VCS3 synth

A James Gardner playlist (music mentioned in the episode)

Probably the first person to record on the harpsichord

Facebook has just changed how pages work which means that I’ve had to establish a new place for us to post and discuss Yes-related happenings. It’s a new group entitled, rather creatively, YMP Discussion Group. For the moment it’s open to anyone to join but I’ll be adding rules and joining requirements when I have time. One of the advantages of the new format is that all members of the group have the same ability to post content, so it’s a bit more egalitarian, or somesuch. Please do search for the group and join in.

Not final artwork or title – just me messing about with one of my photos

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from: