“Swan Lager”: Prog Rock Reggae

Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman‘s beery take on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” became the A-side of a 45 released by A&M in 1979:

“Swan Lager”     Rick Wakeman     1979

Swan Lager” also served as side two’s closing track for 1979 double LP, RhapsodiesCash Box‘s review in their June 23, 1979 edition

Anyone who can re-arrange Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and re-name it “Swan Lager” has got to be either a hopeless buffoon or a major genius … Rick Wakeman is both and hence the charm of this, his latest release.  A four-sided effort, Wakeman plows into a variety of styles ranging from Gershwin to honky tonk.  A veritable never-a-dull-moment album which fully illustrates that keyboard expertise can be both dynamic and fun simultaneously.  For AOR to MOR formats.

How interesting to see one of the leading exponents of progressive “art rock” flirt with reggae rhythms on a track that Billboard, in its June 30 1979 edition, would identify in its list of recommended LPs as one of the album’s best cuts.  It would appear, unfortunately, that this attempt at classically-infused reggae failed to chart.

bowie producer, Toni Visconti, twiddles the knobs

Rick Wakeman 45Link to companion piece, “Yancey Special:  Prog Reggae II

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