Music world veterans – keyboardist Rick Wakeman and crooner Engelbert Humperdinck – have been recognized for careers spanning more than five decades.
Best known for playing with prog rock superstars Yes and who has also worked with David Bowie and Sir Elton John, akeman has been appointed CBE by the Princess Royal.
Humperdick, best known for hits like “Release Me” and “The Last Waltz” in the late 1960s, was made an MBE during Anne’s investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Despite his advanced age, Wakeman shows no signs of letting up: “I’ve done London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle in the last five days and then it got cut short to come back and do this,” he said.
The 72-year-old, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, added: “I love it, I wouldn’t do it otherwise.
“I was born in 1949 and the radio was, say, you had the home service and the lights program and the television was in its infancy – when you turned it on and warmed it up you had to turn it off – so it was just making music and football play.”
Wakeman, whose solo albums have sold more than 50 million copies, was born and raised in Perivale, west London, and was trained as a concert pianist.
However, in 1969 he dropped out of the Royal College of Music to become a session musician, with early works including Bowie’s Space Oddity.
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He was hired by The Strawbs in 1970 before joining progressive rock pioneers Yes a year later and playing in two stops on many of their most successful albums until 1980 and has since returned to the band several times.
Looking back on his career, the musician added: “Working with David Bowie was incredible – I’ve done quite a lot with him, his single Space Oddity, the album Hunky Dory”.
“I’ve played on some nice records: Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken – I did all the piano for it and then worked with Yes to play big stadiums. And I enjoyed playing in a small venue just as much – I’m quite happy.”
As well as his quirky stage name, Humperdinck, 85, is famous for his signature sideburns, auburn hair and deep tan, which he regularly flaunts in the cheerful videos he shares on social media.
His popularity has endured over the decades and the singer was still active and touring before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
Humperdinck, with the more secular nickname Arnold George Dorsey, was born in Madras, India, where his father was stationed in the British Army.
After some success in Europe in the mid-1960s, Humperdinck’s popularity exploded with his 1967 cover of Release Me.
The song, which is arguably still his best known, reached number one in the UK – beating the Beatles’ Penny Lane – and broke into the top 10 across the Atlantic.
I am overwhelmed and a member of the British Empire is a magnificent order and I thank Her Royal Highness for giving it to me todayEngelbert Humperdinck
Humperdinck’s catalog of saccharine love songs – including The Last Waltz, Spanish Eyes and Quando Quando Quando – earned him the nickname “The King of Romance”.
The veteran entertainer, who has sold more than 140 million records worldwide, said after the ceremony: “I am overwhelmed and a Member of the British Empire is a magnificent order and I thank Her Royal Highness for giving it to me today.
“I’ve been successful since 1967 and I’m still doing it and I’m about to start a European tour and thank God the pandemic is over so we can get on with the job we do best.”
During the ceremony, actor Sir Jonathan Pryce, who declined to speak to the press, was knighted for his services to acting and charity.
During his career, the 74-year-old Welsh actor, who has won two Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards, was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Pope Francis in The Two Popes.
He has also supported several charities including Amnesty International, Epilepsy Action and Neurofibromatosis Association.
Dame Kate Bingham, former Chair of the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, was made a Dame during the event.
She led the taskforce that selected and pre-ordered the most promising vaccine candidates while they were still in clinical trials, allowing for the rapid launch of the vaccine program.
Dame Kate said: “I think it’s fantastic, I just wish it would somehow recognize a team because I’m being portrayed as a figurehead, when in fact it was a team of women and men from different backgrounds and expertise.
“And we never met, we just always did something through Zoom and we had industry experts coming together with government experts and it worked very well.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/wakeman-and-humperdinck-honoured-by-anne-at-investiture-ceremony-41524227.html Wakeman and Humperdinck are honored by Anne at the investiture ceremony