Journey to the Centre of the Earth

 

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Produced by Rick Wakeman

Initially released on May 1974.

UK CHART POSITION... #1
US CHART POSITION... #3

Find it at GEMM


 

REVIEW In the mid ‘70s, great excess translated into great success, thus the hearty reception that met Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Today, the mix of orchestra, narration and dated songs will be met with a few raised eyebrows. The idea of transforming Jules Verne’s classic into a musical work is unquestionably admirable, but the album itself is an ichthyosaurus, with the head of a Gilbert & Sullivan overture and the body of a boring English class. Listeners will need to sit down and absorb this over several sittings before becoming acclimated to the unusual mix of sounds; unlike Six Wives of Henry VIII, which moved with genuine purpose, this recording changes course with the celerity of a confused hummingbird. Each of the four sections features a song encased in the middle, although the vocals of Ashley Holt and Garry Pickford-Hopkins give the material a very antideluvian feel. “The Battle” is arguably the most ennervating of the four pieces, yet each has its moments. Many fans regard this record as Wakeman’s magnum opus. It’s easily the most ambitious work he ever undertook, performing the work live for this recording, and producing subsequent concerts on ice (thus making escape impossible). It’s ironic that he left Yes after the inscrutable Tales from Topographic Oceans to create something even more indulgent, but again one needs to remember the times to understand the temptation. As much as I like Rick Wakeman, and appreciate his trying to expand the lexicon of modern music with this narrative, Journey to the Centre of the Earth is ultimately a quixotic venture.

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE JOURNEY    (Rick Wakeman)   
  2. RECOLLECTION    (Rick Wakeman)   
  3. THE BATTLE    (Rick Wakeman)   
  4. THE FOREST    (Rick Wakeman)   

CREDITS

RICK WAKEMAN -- keyboards
MIKE EGAN -- guitar
ENGLISH CHAMBER CHOIR -- choir
ASHLEY HOLT -- vocals
BARNEY JAMES -- drums
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA -- orchestra
ROGER NEWELL -- bass
GARRY PICKFORD-HOPKINS -- vocals
Danny Beckerman -- arrangements
Wil Malone -- arrangements
Pete Flanagan -- engineer
Keith Grant -- production engineer
Lou Reizner -- production co-ordination
Paul Tregurtha -- engineer

RELEASE DATA

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK May 1974 A&M LP/CS 5500612  
US May 1974 A&M LP/LPQ/CS SP-3621 gatefold cover w. lyric booklet
  February 1985 Hallmark LP/CS   reissue
US 1988/90 Mobile Fidelity CD MFCD-848 original master recording
  May 1993 Spectrum CD/CS 550-061 reissue
    A&M 3CD 540277 three-disc repackage
w. Journey... & The Myths & Legends...

 

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