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Uriah Heep

Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969 and are regarded as one of the seminal hard rock acts of theearly 1970s. Uriah Heep's progressive/art rock/heavy metal fusion's distinctive features have always been massivekeyboards sound, strong vocal harmonies and (in the early years) David Byron's quasi-operatic vocals.

The band's origins go back to 1967 when guitarist Mick Box formed in Brentwood a band called The Stalkers which startedplaying in local clubs and pubs. When the band's singer left, drummer Roger Penlington suggested his cousin David Garrick(who ...read more

Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969 and are regarded as one of the seminal hard rock acts of theearly 1970s. Uriah Heep's progressive/art rock/heavy metal fusion's distinctive features have always been massivekeyboards sound, strong vocal harmonies and (in the early years) David Byron's quasi-operatic vocals.

The band's origins go back to 1967 when guitarist Mick Box formed in Brentwood a band called The Stalkers which startedplaying in local clubs and pubs. When the band's singer left, drummer Roger Penlington suggested his cousin David Garrick(who knew the band) as a replacement. Box and Garrick instantly formed a songwriting partnership and, having highermusical aspirations than their colleagues, decided to give up their day jobs and go professional. They set up a new bandcalled Spice; then, David Garrick changed his second name to Byron. Drummer Alex Napier joined, having answered amusic paper ad and bassist Paul Newton of The Gods completed the line-up.

Their debut album, ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble (released as Uriah Heep in the United States), introduced Hensley's heavyorgan and guitar-driven sound, with David Byron's theatrical, dynamic vocals soaring above thunderous sonic backgrounds,although acoustic and jazz elements also featured in the mix. The album's title references the signature phrase of theDickens character Uriah Heep ("very 'umble") from the novel David Copperfield from which the band took its name. Theband's second album Salisbury was more squarely in the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a24-piece orchestra. One of the album's tracks, "Lady in Black", described as "a stylishly arranged tune that builds from afolk. styled acoustic tune into a throbbing rocker full of ghostly harmonies and crunching guitar riffs", became a big hit inGermany. The third album, Look at Yourself, released in October 1971, marked the solidification of disparate ideas that hadbeen a prominent feature of Salisbury and presented the unified sound and direction. Among the stand-outs were the titletrack, "Tears In My Eyes" and "July Morning", an epic which Heep fans regard as equal to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway toHeaven" and Deep Purple's "Child in Time". The band's 4th album, entitled Demons and Wizards, solidified Uriah Heep'sreputation as a master of gothic-inflected heavy metal. Uriah Heep's fifth studio album The Magician's Birthday charted #28in the UK and #31 in the USA. the solid, but rather mainstream-sounding Sweet Freedom (#18 UK, No. 33 USA) wascreated with "Stealin'" released as a single. Having gained the world-wide recognition, the band quit the fantasy world inlyrics and made an obvious stab at versatility by adding funk ("Dreamer") and acoustic folk ("Circus") elements to thepalette.

Wonderworld (1974) proved to be a disappointment to both fans and band members alike. "Recording abroad disrupted theband's normal method of operation and that had a big negative effect on the group". John Wetton (ex-Family and KingCrimson) joined the band and with him Return to Fantasy was recorded; representing a revitalized Uriah Heep, it soared upto No. 7 in the UK. High and Mighty that followed in June 1976 was considered lightweight; even in Box' assessment, "lessof the 'eavy and more of the 'umble". In July 1976, after the final show of a Spanish tour, Byron was sacked. Soon bassistJohn Wetton announced he was quitting.

Firefly was released in February 1977, displaying "renewed effervescence and energy in unveiling what was clearly a newbeginning for Heep". Innocent Victim, released in November 1977, "had a slight edge on Firefly", according to Box, but stillin retrospect this "blend of sharp, short rockers and pop-friendly ballads" looked like "an attempt to court the American AORmarket". In the end of 1978 Fallen Angel came out, having completed a hat-trick of studio albums to feature a consistentlineup (only the second time in their career that they had done so). "Too poppy" for Mick Box’ liking (but still, "too eccentricto fit the bill of an AOR record", according to Allmusic),[25] it was well received at the time (Sounds gave it 4 stars) butfailed to chart. Conquest was released in February 1980 and received 5 stars from Record Mirror, but, according to Box,"was a difficult album to record" and represented "a confused Heep".

Abominog (1982) album (according to Blows) was "important… in the way it pulled Heep out of the Seventies and thrustthem into the Eighties with determination muscle". Head First (1983), produced again by Ashley Howe (who, according toGoalby, became "like the sixth member of the band"),[29] followed much in the same vein, pursueing (according toAllMusic) "a similar combination of heavy metal firepower and AOR sleekness".[31] Not long before its release Daisley leftthe band to return to Ozzy Osbourne and Trevor Bolder re-joined Uriah Heep. Meanwhile, David Byron died of a heart attackand liver disease on 28 February 1985 at the age of 38. Equator (1985) sold poorly, due to the fact that "CBS just did aterrible job getting it into the shops," as Box saw it. Then John Sinclair quit deciding to join Ozzy Osbourne and keyboardistPhil Lanzon (Grand Prix, Sad Café) came in to fit in immediately into the Box-envisaged scheme of things. American singerSteff Fontaine, formerly of Christian metal band Joshua, joined but he was criticized for being totally "unprofessional" (hemissed for some reason a San Francisco gig) and was sacked after just one American tour.[34] Fontaine's position wasoffered then to ex-Grand Prix, Praying Mantis and Stratus vocalist Bernie Shaw, and that in retrospect proved to be awinning move. Shaw "felt honoured at being invited to join such a legendary band" while for Box "it was like everythingfalling into place".

The lineup remained unchanged from 1986 until 2007, being veteran Mick Box at the helm, Trevor Bolder on bass, LeeKerslake on drums, vocalist Bernie Shaw and Phil Lanzon on keyboards. Raging Silence, produced by Richard Dodd andreleased in May 1989, was followed by a return to the Soviet Union, concerts in Poland, East Berlin, six dates in Brazil andanother British tour. Different World got a mixed reception from the press and sold poorly. The Sea of Light album (1995)produced by the band along with Kalle Trapp was well received and in retrospect is seen as the band's return to form. SonicOrigami had "a grand, epic tone throughout" that, according to rock critic Steve Huey, "doesn't always match Uriah Heep'sjourneyman-sounding prog-tinged hard rock". In early 2007, drummer Lee Kerslake had to leave the group due to ill health.In March of that year the band recruited Russell Gilbrook as their new drummer and immediately started recording a newstudio album entitled Wake the Sleeper, where they used double drums in the songs "Wake the Sleeper" and "War Child".Uriah Heep released their 23rd studio album Into the Wild on 15 April 2011 in Europe (3 May in North America) viaFrontiers Records. Bassist Trevor Bolder died on 21 May 2013 after suffering from pancreatic cancer. He was 62 years old. « hide

Similar Bands: Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull

LPs
Outsider
2014

3.3
10 Votes
Into the Wild
2011

3.7
21 Votes
Wake the Sleeper
2008

3.8
24 Votes
Sonic Origami
1998

2.9
14 Votes
Sea of Light
1995

3.5
16 Votes
Different World
1991

2.3
13 Votes
Raging Silence
1989

2.5
13 Votes
Equator
1985

1.5
13 Votes
Head First
1983

2.8
13 Votes
Abominog
1982

3.5
23 Votes
Conquest
1980

2.3
9 Votes
Fallen Angel
1978

2.7
22 Votes
Innocent Victim
1977

2.4
15 Votes
Firefly
1977

3.5
22 Votes
High and Mighty
1976

2.9
16 Votes
Return to Fantasy
1975

3.3
21 Votes
Wonderworld
1974

3.4
18 Votes
Sweet Freedom
1973

3.8
28 Votes
The Magician's Birthday
1972

4.1
76 Votes
Demons and Wizards
1972

4.3
156 Votes
Look At Yourself
1971

4
81 Votes
Salisbury
1971

4
56 Votes
Uriah Heep
1970

3.9
23 Votes
Very 'eavy... Very 'umble
1970

4
56 Votes
Live Albums
Spellbinder
1996

3.5
1 Votes
Live In Moscow
1987

3.5
1 Votes
Uriah Heep Live
1973

3.8
2 Votes
Compilations
Celebration (40 Years Of Rock)
2009

3.5
1 Votes
The Collection
1989

3
1 Votes
The Best of Uriah Heep
1976

5
1 Votes

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