'Catherine of Aragon' was engineered and mixed at Trident Studios, London.
'Anne Boleyn' was engineered at Morgan Studios, London, and mixed at Trident Studios.
All the remaining tracks were engineered and mixed at Morgan Studios.
Recorded between February and October, 1972.
This album is based around my interpretations of the musical characteristics of the wives of Hnry VIII.
Although the style may not always be in keeping with their individual history, it is my personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments. - Rick
All Music Guide
Steinway 9' Grand Piano
Hammond C-3 Organ
RMI Electric Piano
Vocals, Sound Effects, Vibes
Brass, Strings, Flutes
In addition to the above instruments a Thomas Goff Harpsichord and A.R.P. Synthesizer were used. All sounds put through two Stereo Leslies, Fender Dual Showman Amp & two JBL Cabinets.
Also used a custom built Oscillator, Fuzz & Wahwah Pedal and Binson Echo Unit. Keyboards & Amplification set up by: John Cleary, Michael Tait, Philip Hepple, Claude Johnson Taylor, The Organ on "Jane Seymour" was recorded at St. Giles, Cripplegate.
Not only did this album help pave the way for progressive rock, but it also introduced the unbridled energy and overall effectiveness of the synthesizer as a bona fide instrument. Six Wives gave Wakeman his chance to break away from the other instrumental complexities that made up Yes and allowed him to prove what a driving force the keyboard could truly be, especially in full album form. More than just synthesized wandering, Wakeman astoundingly conjures up a separate musical persona by way of an instrumental ode to each of Henry VIII's wives through his dazzling use of the Mellotron, Moog, and Hammond C3 organ. For example, Wakeman's fiery runs and fortissimo thwarting of the synthesizer throughout "Anne Boleyn" is a tribute to her feisty temper and valiant courage that she maintained while standing up to her husband. With "Jane Seymour," on the other hand, Wakeman's playing is somewhat subdued and gentile, which coincides with her legendary meekness and frailty, as well as her willingness to cater to Henry VIII. Wakeman's masterful use of his synthesizers is not only instrumentally stunning, but his talent of magically shaping the notes to represent behavioral idiosyncrasies of his characters is itself bewildering. Yes bassist Chris Squire lends a hand on "Catherine of Aragon," while guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Bill Bruford appear on a few tracks as well, as does former Strawbs member Dave Cousins, playing the electric banjo. The Six Wives of Henry VIII unleashes the unyielding power of the keyboard as a dominant instrument, but also displays Wakeman at the beginning of an extremely resplendent career as a solo musician.