Uriah Heep: The Legacy Years 70-76

Celebrating their 50 year anniversary is a rock band that just simply refuses to go away quietly into the night. #uriahheep

Often cited as one of the pioneers of Heavy Metal, Uriah Heep never get the credit that so many of their contemporaries do, like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Starting off as a psychedelic band that quickly adapted a much heavier sound, they formed in 1969 in the greater London area, they would unknowingly become the founders of what would be called Progressive Metal and one of the main cultural touchstones for the imaginary band in the classic comedy This is Spinal Tap.

The front and back cover of the U.S. version of the debut LP by Uriah Heep, which was a self-titled release here in the States, but called Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble in their native U.K. Both LP’s had slightly different tracklists and different covers. 1970, Courtesy of UMG.

Mick Box, the founder of the band and the current line-up’s sole original member, was keen on not playing covers, but original material instead. They are a band with one of the truly most revolving membership of any band in Rock history, but they have pretty much stayed with the sound that they help create. Eventually, the number of people who would pass through Uriah Heep’s ranks reads like a who’s who of classic Rock and Pop, with members going on to or coming from playing with Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, Robert Palmer, King Crimson, David Bowie, Asia and countless others.

Uriah Heep, from a U.S. record company promo. Courtesy of UMG. (l-r) Byron, Hensley, Thain, Box and Kerslake.

Even though the band has released over 25 albums of original material, much of the bulk of their touring repertoire comes from the period we cover here, 1970 through 1976. These are the years that cemented the band’s legacy among their fans, and for the most part, featured not just Box, but drummer Lee Kerslake, bassist Gary Thain, keyboardist Ken Hensley and vocalist Dave Byron.

David Byron, performing live in Germany, 1973. Photographer unknown, courtesy of www.travellersintime.com.

Byron would be fired from the band in 1976 due to his increasing trouble with alcohol addiction, and died in 1985 due to alcohol-related liver damage. Hensley still records and tours to this day, performing his own music and playing in ex-Heep member supergroups. Gary Thain was let go from the band in early 1975 due to the twin problems of heroin addiction and his inability to play after being electrocuted in 1974, and died from a heroin overdose in late 1975. Lee Kerslake is currently battling a long fight with prostate and bone cancer, and has been in very poor health over the last 12 months.

The cover of Demons and Wizards, Uriah Heep’s breakthrough album. 1972, cover art by Roger Dean. Courtesy of BMG (U.K.) and UMG (U.S.).

The current incarnation of the band is once again back on the road supporting Judas Priest and Iron Maiden on select dates in the U.S. and released their latest LP of new material in 2018, Living the Dream.

Dedicating this program to Deirdre Anderson and Chris Conner. Because reasons.

First Part

  • Easy Livin’, 1972, Demons and Wizards
  • Suicidal Man, 1974, Wonderworld
  • Stealin’, 1973, Sweet Freedom
  • Look At Yourself (live), 1973, Uriah Heep Live
  • Lady In Black, 1970, Salisbury (single re-released in 1977)
  • Sweet Lorraine, 1972, The Magician’s Birthday

Second Part

  • Gypsy, 1970, Uriah Heep (U.S.) and Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble (U.K.)
  • Footprints in the Snow, 1976, High and Mighty
  • Shady Lady, 1975, Return to Fantasy
  • Bird of Prey, 1970, Uriah Heep (U.S.) and Salisbury (U.K.)

Finale

  • July Morning, 1971, Look At Yourself
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Love to you all.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
www.aospdx.com

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