Rick Wakeman: The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table



APRIL 1975 (37 YEARS AGO)
Rick Wakeman: The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# allmusic 4/5


The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is the third studio album from Rick Wakeman. Released in April 1975 on A&M Records, it is a concept album based on the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table.


Upon its release in April 1975, the album peaked at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart and number 21 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. King Arthur became Wakeman’s third consecutive gold album to be certified by the Recording Industry Association of America, and was also certified gold in Brazil, Japan and Australia.The album has sold 12 million copies in total.


Much of the album was written while Wakeman, at 25 years old, recovered from his first of three minor heart attacks at Wexham Park Hospital. After a specialist advised him to stop playing and retire, he ignored it, and wrote “The Last Battle” on the same night.


REVIEW
by Mike DeGagne, allmusic
Rick Wakeman’s third solo album is among his best, as he employs his vast array of keyboards to their full extent, musically describing the characters pertaining to the days of King Arthur’s reign. With orchestra and choir included, although a little less prevalent than on Journey, he musically addresses the importance and distinguishing characteristics of each figure through the use of multiple synthesizers and accompanying instruments. “Lady of the Lake” is given a mystical, enchanted feel, perpetrated by a more subtle use of piano and synthesizer, while the battle of “Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight” is made up of a barrage of feuding keyboard runs and staccato riffs, musically recounting the intensity of the duel. But it’s on “Merlin the Magician” where Wakeman truly shines, as the whimsy and peculiarity of this fabled figure is wonderfully conjured up through the frenzy of the synthesizer. As one of Wakeman’s most famous pieces, it is here that his astounding musicianship is laid out for all to hear, a marvelous bisque of keyboard artistry. The album’s entirety is a sensational execution of Wakeman’s adroitness, and with vocals from Ashley Holt and Gary Pickford Hopkins, it still stands along with Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Six Wives of Henry VIII as one of his most astute pieces.


TRACKS:
All tracks and lyrics were written by Wakeman.
Side A
“Arthur” – 7:26
“Lady of the Lake” – 0:45
“Guinevere” – 6:45
“Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight” – 5:20


Side B
“Merlin the Magician” – 8:51
“Sir Galahad” – 5:51
“The Last Battle” – 9:41

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