Rick Wakeman Recalls His First Yes Rehearsal
Rick Wakeman recalled his first rehearsal with Yes, during which they arranged most of their classic song "Roundabout."
It took place in 1971, after the band hired Wakeman to replace Tony Kaye. Jon Anderson and Steve Howe had been toying with the concept of the song after being inspired during a tour of Scotland.
In a recent interview with Uncut, Wakeman explained how assembling the piece – which appeared on Yes' fourth album Fragile – helped define his role in the prog group.
"It started with Steve saying he had a riff, which was very nice," he said, "so we played it. Chris [Squire] had a line. Bill [Bruford] said he had a fill. Then I said, 'Well, I've got something which sort of goes with all of that,' and they thought it was good. But Chris said, 'They're all in different keys – how are we going to put it all together?' I said, 'I know how to do that.'"
Listen to Yes' 'Roundabout'
Wakeman said he specialized in making seemingly disparate parts fit together. "That was one of my jobs: when things were in ridiculous keys, all over the shop, to make things link up," he explained. "I did all that. And by the end of that rehearsal we'd pretty much put 'Roundabout' together."
The keyboardist also expressed his lasting pleasure over the collaborative spirit of Yes, despite the disagreements that have led to multiple lineup changes over the years. "Yes music means a lot to me," he said. "It's a major part of my musical life and career. With Yes, you have to give as much as you can take or it's not going to work."