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Journey to the Centre of the Earth Live

4.5 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, February 22, 1988
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth
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  • The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table
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  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII
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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: WAKEMAN,RICK
Title: JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE E
Street Release Date: 03/01/1988
Domestic
Genre: ROCK/POP

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Journey/Recollection - Rick Wakeman
  2. The Battle/The Forest - Rick Wakeman


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 1988)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: A&M Records
  • ASIN: B000002GA8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,652 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Henry R. Kujawa on January 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Having left YES behind, Rick Wakeman's follow-up to THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII proved less abstract and far more ambitious: adapting Jules Verne's classic novel to music in a mere 40 minutes! And while originally intended as a studio recording, it was instead performed LIVE, with the London Symphony Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir, and David Hemmings along for the ride as narrator. It blows my mind to think of all those musicians getting it perfect in ONE take! --but they did. I love to play this late at night with the lights turned down to simulate being underground. Amazingly the brief summary of the story is told more accurately here than in several film versions over the years. Rick has redone this at least 6 times (both live and in studio) but none has touched the original-- not the least reason being only this one has the narration. I wish Hemmings had returned on subsequent such ventures. Out of the 60-some solo projects he's done (so far! ) this remains my #1 favorite Rick Wakeman album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's easy to look down your nose at the Model T when you have a Transam or a Corvette, or an SUV or truck for that matter. However, in the day of the Model T, it was something to which everyone aspired.
So too we have an entire class of album that was more common and popular in the 70s than before or since, the story theme album. Epitomized by Jeff Wayne's outstanding "War of the Worlds", the story album is the concept album taken taken to an extreme, setting a story in a music framework. Rick Wakeman tried several variants on this style of album, with probably "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and "Return to the Centre of the Earth" being the most story-like.
With so few entries in this genre, by definition the few that are there are the best. How fortunate that "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" really is good. I recall listening to a vinyl version of this album often in the mid-70s, along with a large group of nerdy electronics technicians because the structure and uniqueness of the music appealed to us. The synthesizers Rick Wakeman used were state-of-the-art at the time, and his skill was phenomenal.
As I listen to the music now, you could readily guess it is 70s music. The riffs and arrangement have that 70s flavor. Regardless, the music still retains its appeal. There are so many influences in this music that it would be difficult to point out half of them. Certainly Rick brought his Yes influences. You could perrhaps feel a bit of Hendrix in spots, maybe some Moody Blues, perhaps even a bit of Isaac Hayes. Throw that in with an orchestra and you have something that at that time was very progressive.
Okay, the lyrics are nothing to write home about. They are simple, almost juvenile.
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Format: Audio CD
If Rick Wakeman could be remembered for one piece of music only, I reckon this should be it. Simply taking on the idea of translating Verne's classic into symphonic rock was audacious enough but to succeed as well as Wakeman does is pretty extraordinary, considering his age (24) and that he did it solo - with some help from orchestrators.
Apparently this was recorded live because it was cheaper than carting an orchestra and instruments into a studio for a week. The record company was not convinced, but I think the live 'special event' feel really makes the album, and the performances are pretty good from all involved.
Musically, it's brilliant - the main theme is very strong, very simple and very classic but soon the trademark Wakeman synths make their presence felt and thereafter it's a great mix of Moog, electric piano, clavinet, Hammond and orchestra and choir. If there is a letdown it's the choice of vocalists - I keep reading that Ashley Holt is a brilliant singer, but I've yet to hear it. He sounds better suited to this album than others he has collaborated on but he still irritates the pip out of me.
The other downside to the album is the lyrics - sorry, Rick but you should have done an Elton and got yourself a lyricist early on. Rick even invents a new word, stupefication. However the cheesy lyrics don't really take much away from the album. The narration is excellent, not only David Hemmings' elocution but the script really brings out Verne's sense of wonder and the pioneering aspect of this very early travel narrative - after all in the 1800s nobody could say you COULDN'T find a vast sea inside the Earth, complete with sea monsters. In fact this narration seems to be one of the better interpretations of Verne's Journey, better than some of the films, anyway.
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Format: Audio CD
Although not the instrumental tour-de-force that Six Wives was, Journey To The Center of The Earth is an interesting and highly ambitious effort. An adaptation of Jules Verne's early science fiction classic, Journey To The Center is a very pretentious work that I can't see anyone but Rick Wakeman pulling off without looking cheesy and over-indulged. But Rick does it. Whereas Six Wives was mainly just Rick and his keyboards (and some other instruments) this live performance features Rick, a full rock band, The London Symphony Orchestra, The English Chamber Choir, and the narraration of David Hemmings! The adaptation factor is successful, as there is a steady amount of narraration and vocals, and that his how the album really works. Those looking for pure instrumentation should look elsewhere... this isn't Six Wives type stuff. Which is not to say that there isn't any cool music here, there is. The best instrumentation is about half-way through the first track and the closing movement of the second. Journey To The Center is a highly ambitious, theatrical, and, for the most part, successful effort that could only have been pulled off in the 70's, and only by Rick Wakeman.
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