The Six Wives Of Henry VIII is the title of a 1973 album by progressive rock keyboard player Rick Wakeman. It was his first solo album released in the US, though several other members of the band Yes, to which Wakeman belonged at the time, appeared on various tracks.
While the music has little to do with Henry VIII's six wives, the album performed respectably on the charts, and is viewed as one of Wakeman's strongest solo works. Wakeman explains the title and visual themes in the liner notes:
"This album is based around my interpretations of the musical characteristics of the wives of Henry VIII. Although the style may not always be in keeping with their individual history, it is my personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments."
During live performances, each member of Yes was given time for solo works, and Wakeman frequently performed sections from this album live. Excerpts from the album (mostly "Catherine of Aragon") appear on a single track of Yes' triple live album Yessongs, interspersed with pieces of other works, including the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. In the Yessongs video, he instead added a jazzy version of "Jingle Bells".
As with Yes, Wakeman plays a variety of keyboard instruments on the album. Featured in the inside photograph are a Steinway Grand Piano, a custom-built Hammond C-3 Organ, two Mini-Moog Synthesizers, two 400-D Mellotrons, and an RMI Electric Piano.
Featured, but not photographed, were also an A.R.P. Synthesiser and a Thomas Goff Harpsichord.
Track Listing Edit
- Catherine Of Aragon (3:44)
- Anne Of Cleves (7:53)
- Catherine Howard (6:35)
- Jane Seymour (4:46)
- Anne Boleyn (6:32)
- Catherine Parr (7:06)
- Rick Wakeman - Grand Piano, Organs, Electric Piano, Harpsichords, Mellotrons, Synthesisers, Sound Effects, Vibes, Bass, Strings, Flutes, Vocals
- Dave Winter - Bass Guitar (Tracks 2 & 6)
- Chris Squire - Bass Guitar (Track 1)
- Chas Cronk - Bass Guitar (Track 3)
- Les Hurdle - Bass Guitar (Tracks 1 & 4)
- Mike Egan - Guitar (Tracks 1, 2, 5 & 6)
- Dave Lambert - Guitar (Track 3)
- Steve Howe - Guitar (Track 1)
- Alan White - Drums (Tracks 2, 4 & 6)
- Bill Bruford - Drums (Tracks 1 & 5)
- Barry De Souza - Drums (Track 3)
- Ray Cooper - Percussion (Tracks 1 & 5)
- Frank Riccotti - Percussion (Tracks 2-4)
- Dave Cousins - Electric Banjo (Track 3)
- Liza Strike - Vocals (Tracks 1 & 5)
- Laura Lee - Vocals (Track 5)
- Barry St. John - Vocals (Track 1)
- Sylvia McNeill - Vocals (Track 5)
- Judy Powell - Vocals (Track 1)