The Secret Picture

Maria Ives for

By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service

Elton John Dan Wooding and Rick Wakeman smallerLONDON, UK (ANS – March 14, 2018) — It was a rather extraordinary situation for me when, back in 1978, I had just completed Rick Wakeman, the Caped Crusader, the official biography of my old friend, Rick Wakeman, the many times keyboardist with Yes, and an incredibly talented musician, who has been rightly named by many critics as the “world’s greatest rock keyboard player.”

Last April, Rick joined his Yes colleagues in New York when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has been touring with two others members, Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin. Rick brought the house down with his hilarious acceptance speech.

By the way, the book has recently been reissued with the new title of Caped Crusader – Rick Wakeman in the 1970s by the Gonzo Media Group in the UK.

At Rick’s request, I had approached Elton John’s publicist to see if Elton — now Sir Elton John — would write the foreword.

To start with, the request was turned down by his then publicist, but then to my great relief, I got a call from her saying that Elton had agreed to do so. That day, his hand-written foreword was delivered to my home and we were moving towards publication of the book.

rick wakeman by maria ives smaller useNow came the tricky part. The publisher wanted a picture of Rick, Elton and myself, to go on the back cover of the book and a photographer was hired to take some photos sometime during a soccer game between Brentford FC and Watford FC.

Rick was then a big fan of Brentford and Elton was, at that time, Chairman of Watford. When I arrived at Griffin Park, the Brentford ground close to Heathrow Airport, Rick told me that a problem had arisen. One of the bosses of Brentford apparently didn’t want any pictures of rock stars taken at the ground as he felt it “lowered” the standards of the club.

Caped Crusader cover useBut a problem like that, turned out to be just another challenge for Rick, so, at the half-time break, when we were all ready for the photos to be taken, he hatched plan for the secret picture to be clandestinely taken. He arranged for someone to be sent to divert this man’s attention, and we then rushed into a side room, posed for the picture, and then emerged full of smiles, before the Brentford man had discovered what we had done.

Sure enough it came out really well, it appeared on the back cover of the book and since then, Rick has continued crusading, but not just for rock music, but for his Christian faith as well, and he has done two USA tours with me to help raise funds for ASSIST Ministries (

For the few of you who don’t know anything about Rick Wakeman, this legendary keyboardist with Yes, has also produced well over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies. By the way, I am still trying to figure out how these two legendary British rock celebrities “lowered” the standards of this then humble soccer club that is now in the Football League’s Championship Division, the second tier of English football (soccer).

And, following this strange situation, Rick Wakeman not surprisingly switched his support from Brentford to Manchester City, the leading powerhouse in the English Premier League.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the new and updated Caped Crusader book, just go to:

To watch my latest (and extremely funny) TV interview with Rick Wakeman, just go to:

Photo captions: 1) The secret picture with Elton John, Dan Wooding and Rick Wakeman. 2) Rick Wakeman with his battery of keyboards. (Maria Ives for Rick with his battery of keyboards. 4) Book cover. 5) Rick Wakeman with Norma and Dan Wooding with a copy of the original book. (Photo: Lowell Reed).

Dan and Norma with Rick Wakeman book smallerAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 77, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 55 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He has been close friends with Rick Wakeman for nearly 50 years now and, while he was working as a reporter for a local London newspaper, he wrote the very first story about Wakeman. This was a time when Rick was still a student at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London and was paying his way through college by doing hundreds of sessions, which included Morning Has Broken with Cat Stevens, and Space Oddity and Life on Mars with David Bowie.

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