The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
King Wakeman Album.jpg
Studio album by Rick Wakeman
Released April 1975
Recorded 16 October 1974–10 January 1975 at Morgan Studios in London, England
Genre Progressive rock
Length 44:57
Label A&M Records
Producer Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman chronology
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is the third studio album from the English keyboardist Rick Wakeman, released in April 1975 on A&M Records. Its concept based on the legend of King Arthur and the various figures and events associated with him. Wakeman started writing the album during his recovery in hospital following a heart attack. Recording began in October 1974 after his North American tour in support of his previous two albums, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Wakeman performs with the an orchestra, choir, and his rock band, The English Rock Ensemble.

King Arthur received a mostly positive review from critics. It reached No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 21 on the US the Billboard 200. It was certified Gold in the US, Brazi, Japan, and Australia. The album was promoted with three sold out shows at Wembley Arena in May 1975 that were performed on ice. The album was reissued in 2015 with a simulated Quadrophonic mix.


Much of the album was written while Wakeman, at 25 years old, recovered from his first of three minor heart attacks at Wexham Park Hospital. After a specialist advised him to stop playing and retire, he ignored it, and wrote "The Last Battle" on the same night.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

Upon its release in April 1975, the album peaked at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart and number 21 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. King Arthur became Wakeman's third consecutive gold album to be certified by the Recording Industry Association of America, and was also certified gold in Brazil, Japan and Australia.[3] The album has sold 12 million copies in total.[4]

King Arthur on Ice[edit]

The tour in support of the album included a theatrical production of King Arthur on Ice, which sold out three performances at Wembley Arena in London, but ultimately lost money.[4][5] The production was ranked No. 79 on "100 Greatest Shocking Moments in Rock and Roll" by VH1.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks and lyrics were written by Wakeman.

Side one
  1. "Arthur" – 7:26
  2. "Lady of the Lake" – 0:45
  3. "Guinevere" – 6:45
  4. "Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight" – 5:20
Side two
  1. "Merlin the Magician" – 8:51
  2. "Sir Galahad" – 5:51
  3. "The Last Battle" – 9:41

In popular culture[edit]

  • The theme of "Arthur" was used by the BBC for its election night coverage from 1979 to 1997, and again in 2005.[7]
  • The theme of "Arthur" was used by the Cuban TV channel 6 for years, without crediting or paying royalties.[8]


  • Rick Wakeman – synthesisers, keyboards, grand piano
  • Gary Pickford-Hopkins – lead vocals
  • Ashley Holt – lead vocals
  • Geoff Crampton – lead and acoustic guitars
  • Roger Newell – bass guitar
  • Barney James – drums
  • John Hodgson – percussion
  • The English Chamber Choir
  • Terry Taplin – narrator
  • Guy Protheroe – choirmaster
  • Paul Tregurtha – engineer
  • Jeremy Stenham – assistant engineer
  • David Katz – orchestral co-ordination
  • Wil Malone – orchestral arrangement
  • David Measham – conductor


  1. ^ publisher= Rick Wakeman's Communications Centre "The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table (1975)" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Live on the Test (1994) liner notes.
  4. ^ a b John Bungey (20 December 2008). "Prog Rock Britannia celebrates the men in loon pants". The Times. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Jeb Wright (2009). "Henry at the Hampton: An Exclusive Interview with Rick Wakeman". Classic Rock Revisited. Archived from the original on 16 November 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "100 Most Shocking Moments in Rock & Roll". Retrieved 17 December 2009.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  7. ^ "WORKING TITLES: TV Cream's guide to the best (and worst) TV opening sequences". TV Cream. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  8. ^