Uriah Heep

Uriah Heep are an English hard-rock band from London that released two albums on Vertigo in 1970/71, followed by 13 studio albums and a live double-LP on Bronze between 1971 and 1983.

Members: Mick Box (guitar, vocals), David Byron (vocals, 1969-76), Ken Hensley (keyboards, guitar, vocals, 1969-80), Paul Newton (bass, vocals, 1969-71), Alex Napier (drums, 1969-70), Nigel Olsson (drums, percussion, 1970), Keith Baker (drums, 1970), Mark Clarke (bass, 1971-72), Iain Clarke (drums, 1970-71), Lee Kerslake (drums, percussion, 1971-79, 1981-2007), Gary Thain (bass, 1972-75), John Wetton (bass, keyboards, vocals, 1975-76), John Lawton (vocals, 1976-79), Trevor Bolder (bass, 1976-81, 1983-2013), John Sloman (vocals, piano, percussion, 1979-80), Chris Slade (drums, percussion, 1979-80), Gregg Dechert (keyboards, 1980), John Sinclair (keyboards, vocals, 1981-86), Peter Goalby (vocals, 1981-85), Bob Daisley (bass, vocals, 1981-83)


Uriah Heep evolved from late-’60s psych-rockers Spice, which featured vocalist David Byron, guitarist Mick Box, and drummer Alex Napier. The band was eventually joined by bassist Paul Newton of fellow psychsters The Gods. This lineup gigged for about a year on the London club circuit. Their one single, “What About the Music” (b/w “In Love”), appeared on United Artists in November 1968.

In mid-1969, Spice found a manager and producer in Gerry Bron (Manfred Mann, Colosseum), who signed them to his namesake Bronze Records label. Shortly thereafter, the band changed its name to Uriah Heep, taken from the chief antagonist in Charles Dickens’ classic 1849 novel David Copperfield. They expanded to a five-piece with keyboardist Colin Wood.

Uriah Heep began sessions for their debut album at London’s Lansdowne Studios. They first recorded two songs, the Weavers cover “Come Away Melinda” and the Box/Byron original “Wake Up (Set Your Sights),” before Wood was replaced by keyboardist Ken Hensley, a colleague of Newton in The Gods (and its outgrowth, Head Machine) who, more recently, cut an album with blues-rockers Toe Fat.


“Return to Fantasy” – C#m polychordal descent to F#, mid tempo/traveling toms, joined by theramin-like synth…. Brisk galloping verses in F#… unwavering rhythmic thrust through the bridge consisting of major/minor shifts in the same key… chorus presents a faster variation of the intro chords… echoey vocal sustains on choice lines (“time….”)… leslied harmonies… a long melody that starts on the bridge and resolves through the chorus… lyrics that seem to deal with the alternate side to people, the alter ego that some of us have, that comes out in the dark… climactic outro that modulates intro chords (faster) to Efm with theramin-synth.  Solid drive, unrelenting gallop, long resolving vocal melody over a descending sequence of chords, full harmonies, suitable spacy effects…. Heep fuly intergrating their metallic and progressive tendancies into a succinct anthem…


Discography:

  • …Very ‘eavy…Very ‘umble (1970)
  • Salisbury (1971)
  • Look at Yourself (1971)
  • Demons and Wizards (1972)
  • The Magician’s Birthday (1972)
  • Live (2LP, 1973)
  • Sweet Freedom (1973)
  • Wonderworld (1974)
  • Return to Fantasy (1975)
  • High and Mighty (1976)
  • Firefly (1977)
  • Innocent Victim (1977)
  • Fallen Angel (1978)
  • Conquest (1980)
  • Abominog (1982)
  • Head First (1983)
  • Equator (1985)
  • Raging Silence (1989)
  • Different World (1991)
  • Sea of Light (1995)
  • Sonic Origami (1998)
  • Wake the Sleeper (2008)
  • Into the Wild (2011)
  • Outsider (2014)
  • Living the Dream (2018)

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