Uriah Heep is an English rock band formed in London in 1969. The group’s origins go back to 1967 when 19-year-old guitarist Mick Box formed a band in Brentwood called Hogwash and began playing in local clubs and pubs. A few lineup changes and the band changed its name to Spice. From the very beginning, Mick Box avoided playing covers, preferring to do something original.
A second name change came shortly after that. The group chose the name, Uriah Heep, after the well-known Charles Dickens character from David Copperfield. At this time, Dickens was everywhere because people were observing the 100th anniversary of his death, and to the members of the band, it seemed a fitting tribute.
Easy Livin’ (1972)
Uriah Heep’s 1970 debut album, …Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble, was released in the United States as Uriah Heep.
The band suffered through some difficult times and more line-up changes, but by 1973 had fleshed out a fairly stable and productive line-up producing a fairly unique sound. This line-up consisted of Mick Box, Ken Hensley, Gary Thain, David Byron, and Lee Kerslake.
Uriah Heep now show-cased Hensley’s driving organ background overlaid with a heavy guitar sound, complemented by David Byron’s theatrical, dynamic vocals that soared above the band’s thunderous backdrop.
July Morning (1972)
The last four minutes or so of July Morning feature of a virtuosic organ solo. And as a historical note, the odd sounding calliope riffs are played by Manfred Mann who, according to the album credits, is appearing for the first time with his Moog synthesizer.
Sunrise (1973, Live at the Budokan in Tokyo)
The line-up with David Bryon on vocals in perhaps the most memorable and loved by loyal Uriah Heep’s fans.
And yes, some acoustic and jazz elements also found their way into the Uriah Heep mix.
The Wizard (remastered 2017)
One of my favorites, Lady in Black, is a song from their 1971 album, Salisbury, and is credited to Ken Hensley. It tells the tale of a man wandering through war-torn darkness and encountering a goddess-like entity who consoles him. It is often praised, by fans and critics alike, as Hensley’s most poetic work.
Lady in Black (1971)
I could not find a live video of Sweet Lorraine with good audio quality, but it is another in my “Heep” of favorites by this 1970s band.
Sweet Lorraine (remastered 2017)
Uriah Heep, a unique band with a unique sound that paved the way for many musical talents of the future. Definitely still one of my favorites.
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