Review of No Earthly Connection submitted on 10th February 2000

A review of a Rick Wakeman album, what an opportunity! For me there can only be one choice. No Earthly Connection (NEC) rescued me from the mainstream of AM radio music. It was my first real rock album ever and it made me a Wakeman fan instantly. In fact, that was how I became a YES fan - when I discovered that Rick played with them. I realize that this was probably the reverse of most peoples' experiences. I first purchased NEC on 8-track in 1977. Even that foul medium couldn't hide the magic within. From the opening barrage of synthesizer/organ and other worldly choral arrangements of The Warning to the frantic harpsichord of The Prisoner, this album has been one of my favorites for over 20 years. This was the first album I’d heard that blended classical instruments and choral arrangements with a rock band and sheer keyboard wizardry. That’s what really grabbed me. I’d heard Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Jean Michele Jarre but that stuff left me unsatisfied. This album was on another plane. It’s like a perfect meal from appetizer to dessert. This album is lyrical, melodic, technically brilliant and accessible. When required the music is foreboding and dark like in The Prisoner or introspective like The Realisation or even otherworldly with strange tonal colours like The Lost Cycle but it never loses continuity. I particularly like the use of the honky tonk piano in that piece. It has a surreal, ghostly kind of sound. Summing it up, it’s a great album by a great artist and it’s a shame that A&M don’t have the broader view required for them to see that this work should be available on CD (same goes for White Rock and Criminal Record). Perhaps with the advent of personal CD burners for PCs and high quality sound cards people like us can carefully transfer the remaining, listenable vinyl originals to CD. Thanks Rick. If your theory of music being important to your afterlife is true then I’m sure that The Maker is quite pleased with you. (By the way, with the advent of the PC and .wav files I now know what the people talking backwards in The Maker are saying. ; )