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on 22 July 2014
Devoid of wit style or grace this is a dull book written by a yawn inducing millionaire trying and failing miserably to be zany and funny.
Attrocious. Avoid.
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on 1 January 2011
If you did not know that rock stars in the seventies and eighties drank a lot, travelled a lot and smoked a lot and made a lot of money then this could be just the book for you. On the other hand if you do know those things and, like me, enjoy the music of Rick Wakeman and wish to deepen your understanding of him and his work, well you are wasting your time and money on this one. The stories are trite, tedious and repetitious, the gossip non existent and while the rock is plentiful, you'll not find much sex or many drugs. I struggle to believe that this was successful enough to merit a sequel.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 27 May 2016
Musicians' autobiographies are often either ghost-written and without much character or they're little more than a list of who played what at which venue and with whom. This book is ABSOLUTELY NOT LIKE THAT. I read it cover-to-cover in two sessions whilst waiting in hospital. My frequent guffaws, snorts and unstoppable laughter resulted in me looking as I needed to be fitted for a straitjacket there and then. Although there are several serious moments and themes in the book, the bulk of it is a hilarious rush through many of Rick's craziest adventures and experiences. I defy anyone not to read this and to not laugh aloud again and again. It's VERY well written and is thoroughly excellent. I've now ordered his follow-up book plus another that only seems to be available second hand.

Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rock Star


Oh - and if you're ever faced with an over-order of 200 poppadoms in an Indian restaurant and want a truly uncoventional way of breaking them into pieces - read the book to find out. But don't blame me when the police grab you by the collar and haul you outside.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 November 2010
I got this book for my other half as we both remembered Rick Wakeman's funny stories as a raconteur, and I said I had read an autobiography that had funny stories in by Rick. So other half said he would like to read something by him.

We have been reading it out loud together. I really like the book - it is funny and interesting - we haven't finished it yet, but I wouldn't say it was laugh out loud funny - the odd giggle maybe - but really very interesting - he has had so many experiences in life and been quite maverick.

The style sounds just like Rick - it is written as someone would speak, which I like. Other half found that a bit difficult at first and expected it to be more constructed as funny stories - but I like the fact that it is unpretentious and honest as in written how he would tell someone.

The bits about his early years and how he started out, the musicians he met, his lucky breaks - are really interesting - especially to someone of my generation (fifties) who remembers a lot of the people and groups he talks about and a lot of the way life was when Rick was young.

Mostly what comes across is Rick's infectious enthusiasm in everything he did and the way he describes it now. And some of the really interesting things of the times that you don't get to hear about or see in documentaries - plus the refreshing angle on the cold war and many other things.

It's not Tolstoy, it's not Booker prize - it's refreshing and readable.

It would make a good Christmas present.
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on 17 April 2017
I bought this after hearing Rick Wakeman as a very entertaining guest on the Danny Baker show. And what do you know, this is a very entertaining and often very funny book.
If you don't know who Rick is don't worry you're probably too young. But for those of us that remember "Prog Rock" Rick was in one of the stand out bands "Yes" and he also did some pretty outrageous solo stuff. I say solo, but literally everything he did had a massive backing orchestra or band. Anyway, enough from me. This is a very good book. So much so that I have already purchased the follow up.
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VINE VOICEon 12 January 2010
Whenever they were discussing someone who was good at telling stories my parents used to say `they couldn't half tell the tale'. Anybody who has seen Rick Wakeman on TV would surely agree that he can't half tell the tale. The long blonde haired, bizarrely attired keyboard player from prog-rock group Yes has transformed himself into TV personality partly because of his pleasant easy-going nature but mainly because he is a brilliantly entertaining story teller, and after years on the road as a rock musician he has a great many stories he can tell.

This book is Rick Wakemans first collection of his stories and if any book sounds like it will be a sure fire winner, this is it - and it doesn't disappoint. Chapter after chapter Wakeman tells us of his misadventures, both as a struggling musician performing in pubs and clubs for a few pounds and then as a rock superstar playing in large arenas all around the world. Many of the stories are outrageous and some are a bit naughty but nearly all are very funny.

Although not particularly intended to be autobiographical (he only briefly touches upon his off-stage life) we also learn about his legendary drinking exploits - he admits his drinking capacity was championship level - which finally led to him being told that he wouldn't last six months if he didn't pack it in, which he was able to do with no withdrawal problems whatsoever.

This is a very good read then. It put me in mind of an extremely long after dinner speech; only the best, most entertaining after dinner speech anyone is ever likely to hear.
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on 16 April 2015
Having seen Rick recently on his tour this book is effectively an extension of the stories he tells live. They are of mixed quality and the book is one to read a chunk at a time, which means that the reader comes back refreshed for the next onslaught of craziness.

My wife has also read this and was heard to remark that it was clear evidence of how dysfunctional the members of YES were at their peak. What is in the book is the 'curry' story, but you need to see the live show to find out about Jon Anderson's painting. Strange indeed, but a really great read from a unique raconteur.
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on 28 June 2012
There are few autobiographies that have made me laugh out loud, but this is one of them. I was never a great fan of Yes, nor of Rick Wakeman's solo albums, but I still loved his stories. What a life he has had, and what ridiculous scrapes he has found himslf in. His adventures behind the Iron Curtain were hilarious, and his tales of how he started out in the music industry are a lesson to all those who crave instant success. Wakeman did it the hard way, but must have enjoyed himself immensely along the way.

His stories are told in a self-deprecating way but always with a view to keeping the reader laughing along with him. From Russia to South America, he had scrapes everywhere and recounts them in a highly amusing and entertaining way.

Can't wait for the next instalment.
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2010
Wakeman is a brilliant story teller and, with decades of the rock n roll life under his belt, plenty of hilarious stories to tell. From the flatulence and "trouser incidents" inherent from the poor diet of the gigging muso, to the scrapes with authority touring the old Eastern Europe to accidentally showing a porn version of Snow White in a German family restaurant, all of the perils and pitfalls of rock n' roll are here, plus some new ones he invented.

Although "grumpy" in the title, the book is anything but (it's just a cash-in title to link with Wakeman's Grumpy Old Men apperances). Frankly Wakeman was always slightly too fun to fit totally into Yes and the rest of the uber-serious Prog Rock movement, which is why he ended up accidentally ordering a take-out curry during a gig which he ate in one of the "dull bits"!

Hilarious, with plenty of genuinely laugh out loud bits. Highly recommended.
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on 24 November 2013
I've been a musical fan of Rick Wakemans sinse the early Yes days. I'd rate him as perhaps my second favourite keyboarder after Jon Lord.
I was therefore delighted to find what a normal down-to-earth sort of guy he is. I could well imagine spending a couple of hours down the pub with him (and his tomato juice!) and listening to his tales. A good story teller indeed, as has been mentioned by other reviewers.
Having recently waded through Bill Brufords autob. I found this a refreshing change. It's light heartedly written and easy reading, with plenty of pictures together with amusing captions. I shall quite probably get his follow up.
Thanks Rick!
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