Legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman has enjoyed five stints with the band — as well as the recently split ARW featuring Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin. In a new interview with Rock Cellar, Wakeman shed light on why the bandmembers are frequently entering and exiting each other’s musical lives.

Wakeman, who’s prepping a box set reissue of his classic 1999 solo set Return To The Centre Of The Earth, explained, “It was always musical. Yes was never a sociable band. We all had very, very, very strong opinions about things. And we used to argue like crazy. In fact most of the people, if they came along to a rehearsal or whatever, thought the band was breaking up. But that’s what created the music in the long run. Music is all about give and take. On occasions I left when I felt like I can’t give anything to the direction that the music’s going in now.

He went on to say, “If I can’t give, I don’t want to take back. Equally, when I came back to the band it was because musically I felt, great, I’ve got something to offer and the band’s got something to offer me.


  • Rick Wakeman‘s last album, The Red Planet was released last June, featuring his backing band, the English Rock Ensemble.
  • Back in 2019, Wakeman hit the road with his “The Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour.” In addition to his Yes and solo favorites, Wakeman tipped his hat to some of the classic tracks he recorded with such fellow legends as David Bowie, Elton JohnLou Reed, and Al Stewart — including a salute to his favorite band, the Beatles.


  • Rick Wakeman served in five distinct stands in Yes: 1971-1974, 1976-1980, 1990-1992, 1995-1996, and 2002-2004.


  • Out now is Yes/AWR‘s 50th Anniversary Live At The Apollo on DVD, Blu-Ray, double CD and triple-LP. The show, featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman was captured in early-2017 at Manchester, England’s Manchester Apollo Theatre.
  • Highlights on the set include such Yes standards as “Roundabout,” “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” “And You And I,” “Hold On,” “Heart Of The Sunrise,” “Rhythm Of Love,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” and “Awaken,” among others.

CHECK IT OUT: Rick Wakeman’s “Ascraeus Mons” from 2020’s The Red Planet: