Oliver Wakeman (26 February 1972) is a rock keyboardist and composer, best known as a former member of Yes, where he replaced his father, Rick Wakeman.
Oliver is the first son of Rick Wakeman. His parents divorced when he was young.
He worked with Clive Nolan (of Arena) on two progressive rock concept albums, Jabberwocky (released 1999) and Hound of the Baskervilles. Tracy Hitchings appears on both albums, while Rick Wakeman (narrating) and Yes alumnus Peter Banks both appeared on Jabberwocky.
Wakeman worked with Steve Howe for several years, (originally his father's bandmate in Yes and later as a bandmate when Oliver joined Yes himself). The two lived fairly close to each other in south-west England. Howe guested on Wakeman's solo album The 3 Ages of Magick, while Wakeman is on Howe's 2005 solo album Spectrum and contributed to Howe's recording of "Australia" for the US version of the Yes collection The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection.
Wakeman wrote a CD inspired by his visits to and experiences on Lundy, a small island in the Bristol Channel which was released originally in 1997 and then again in 1999. He toured with Bob Catley in the UK and Europe and also guested on an Ayreon project The Human Equation in 2004. Wakeman replaced keyboardist Herb Schildt for the American progressive rock band Starcastle, known for their Yes-like sound, at RoSfest (Rites of Spring festival) 2007.
During 2006 and 2007 Oliver took to the road with his band performing selections from his Mother's Ruin album as well as songs from his back catalogue. In late 2007 this show was filmed and recorded in Poland and subsequently released in 2008 as a CD/DVD package and single DVD titled Coming To Town. A single CD release appeared in 2009.
Oliver has been nominated for the Classic Rock Society's 'Best Keyboard Player' award on many occasions and has won the award three times (2006, 2007 & 2008).
He spent 2012 working with Gordon Giltrap on a new recording project titled Ravens & Lullabies which was released in 2013. They toured together throughout September and October 2012 in preparation for the album's release.
The tour continued throughout 2013, including a full band headline show at the Summer's End festival. Oliver & Gordon also appeared with singer Paul Manzi on Bob Harris' BBC Radio 2 show in June 2013.
Oliver's The 3 Ages of Magick was re-released in 2013 with bonus material and an expanded booklet.
In 2008, the official Yes website announced that Oliver Wakeman would tour with Yes in the band's 40th anniversary tour. However, the tour was postponed due to the illness of Yes singer Jon Anderson. A revamped In The Present Tour featuring Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes plus Oliver Wakeman and Canadian singer Benoît David (filling in for Anderson) began in the fall of 2008, and continued into 2009. The second leg of the tour was cancelled after one date when Squire had to have an urgent leg operation on 11 February.
The band returned to touring in summer 2009 and this continued through to summer 2010. They also signed to Frontiers Records, an Italian record company. Yes started work on an album, with Wakeman, in October/November 2010 followed by a tour of South America in November/December of that year. Though he worked with the band on the initial sessions for their first album in 10 years, Fly From Here, he was dismissed from Yes during recording. Wakeman stayed on for the Rite of Spring tour (March to early April 2011) and formally left following its completion. Asia and Drama era Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes, who replaced Wakeman for the rest of the album's sessions, was later announced by as keyboardist for its upcoming summer tour. Some of Wakeman's contributions to Fly From Here nevertheless made it onto the released version of the album, and he was even credited as having co-written one track.
He also appears on the latest Yes CD and DVD release In the Present - Live from Lyon handling all the keyboard duties. Oliver also appears in the documentary film which accompanies this release.
In 2009, Wakeman joined Strawbs (another of his father's former bands) for their tours of Canada, the UK and Italy during 2009 and 2010.
He recorded an album with the band, Dancing to the Devil's Beat which was released in 2009.
In 2010 he appeared on the Strawbs 40th anniversary live double CD, Strawberry Fayre.
Wakeman was not with the band for their late 2010 tour given his prior commitment to recording with Yes.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license