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What did they do next Part 27a – Oliver Wakeman – 517

Produced by Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

This week it’s the first part of our next – and presumably last…maybe…what did they do next featuring the 2011-ish departure of keyboardist and true gentleman of prog, Oliver Wakeman. Mark and I discuss how and why Oliver left the band and what he did next in collaboration with another giant of the music world. We set you a task to listen to that project before next week’s episode, just like we will be doing and if you already know what we are talking about, please do leave your comments on the show notes for this week and we will try and include as many as possible in the episode next time.

  • What were the circumstances around Oliver Wakeman’s exit from the band?
  • Was it a smooth process?
  • What did he do next?

Listen to the episode and let us know what you think!

Oliver Wakeman’s Yes tenure – too short?

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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:

3 replies on “What did they do next Part 27a – Oliver Wakeman – 517”

I agree that Oliver got the shaft being replaced the way he was, such a shame. I understand why Rick was so upset; he blamed Chris, and those feelings continued until Chris died. I think that Oliver should have been kept as a member, regardless that Geoff played on some of the album, and that he should have continued on the supporting tour going forward. Who knows how long Oli could have ended up in Yes if he hadn’t been replaced by Geoff.

Regarding the “Ravens & Lullabies” album, which I have on cd signed by Oli & Gordon, I highly recommend it. It’s a prog rock album, at least the proggiest music that Gordon has ever released, thanks to the writing & guests! Gordon is highly regarded & lauded by Steve Howe as one of the best English guitarists of the last 50+ years, and I agree. They both share many of the same inspirations. Drummer Johannes on the album is from Threshold & is excellent. Singer Paul Manzi was in the prog band Arena, and is now the singer for the latest version of the band Sweet. Of course, the one song that Yes fans should hear is “From the Turn of a Card” with Benoit & Oliver. It’s 3 seconds longer than the version that is on the Yes ‘From a Page’ album. I don’t recall any major musical differences between the two versions, but I will have to pull them both out again & listen!

Another good and interesting episode. I very much agree with your overall assessment. Oliver Wakeman’s treatment was poor and disappointing (but not entirely unprecedented in the history of Yes, sadly.) The EP he lovingly and professionally produced shows what imagination and possibility was there while he was in the band.

Also, while he struggled towards the end – with a voice that just couldn’t stretch quite as high as the music required – Benoit David made a strong contribution during a difficult period. It’s a shame to see his fine singing on ‘Fly From Here’ effectively edged out of official history with a replacement which isn’t nearly as good, despite some interesting rearrangement in places. Trevor Horn had vocal training to re-record the album with Benoit’s parts excised. But it still sounds strained. I’ve listened to ‘Return Trip’ a few times, but can’t imagine ever revisiting it, to be honest.

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