Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is an album by Rick Wakeman. It is loosely based on Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It was recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England back on January 18, 1974.
It is said that Rick had to sell many of his belongings and mortgage his house to record this. He couldn't cut it in the studio because of the restricted budget. It was originally written to be longer, but certain parts had to be cut and overdubbed since the orchestra was expensive and Rick couldn't afford to re-record those parts; hence certain lyric sections being out of order. After the recording, A&M UK did not wish to produce the album, so Rick convinced A&M USA to do it.
This album is available in its original recording, a live DVD recording at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia in 1975, and a later orchestra-free studio version recorded for The Yes Story (a compilation). It is often seen with some or all of the following tracks (Though not in any particular order): Catherine Parr, Guinevere, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Catherine Howard, Merlin (Or Merlyn The Magician), Anne Boleyn, Reprise from The Forest, Forrest (sic), Journey, and The Lost Journey Documentary.
This is widely considered one of Rick's best solo works. The title song, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, consists of many orchestra and progressive rock arrangements. The lyrics are based on Jules Verne's book, as mentioned above. Rick's synthesiser wizardry is displayed with the many synthesiser solos and sections within the song. He most commonly uses his Moog analog synthesizers and a clavinet. Some parts of the song were used in the movie, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. Depending on the recording, the song is between 30 and 40 minutes long. An edition released on the first disc of The Yes Story: The Gold Collection (a Yes compilation) clocked in at 31:52, while the live 1975 recording was exactly forty minutes.
Edvard Grieg's "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" can be heard near the end with synthesiser, orchestra, overdriven guitar, and all bells and whistles. Wakeman credits him in the liner notes, as he puts it, "Because I stole a few bars".