Uriah Heep (band)

Uriah Heep (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Uriah Heep

Img_capt = Uriah Heep performing live in Osnabrück, Germany on December 7, 2007
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = England
Genre = Progressive rock, Hard rock, Heavy metal, Art rock [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll allmusic ] ]
Years_active = 1969—present
Label = Vertigo, Bronze, Island, Warner Bros., Mercury, Chrysalis, Sanctuary, Castle, and others.
Associated_acts = The Gods, Toe Fat, Spice, Lucifer's Friend, Rough Diamond, Ozzy Osbourne, Trapeze, David Bowie, Wishbone Ash, Blackfoot, Asia, King Crimson, Keef Hartley
URL = [http://www.uriah-heep.com www.Uriah-Heep.com]
Current_members = Mick Box Trevor Bolder Bernie Shaw Phil Lanzon Russell Gilbrook
Past_members = See: Uriah Heep band member history

Uriah Heep are an English rock band, formed in December 1969 when record producer Gerry Bron invited keyboardist Ken Hensley (previously a member of The Gods and Toe Fat) to join Spice, a band signed to his own Bronze Records label.

They were sometimes jokingly referred to as "The Beach Boys of heavy metal" for their melodic songs, and trademark multi-part harmony backing vocals, although their music draws on diverse influences including: progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal, jazz, and even country on occasion. As one of the first bands to fuse progressive with metal, they are a precursor to the progressive metal genre.Fact|date=September 2007

In spite of their huge popularity in Britain and continental Europe, Uriah Heep were never able to break into the American market in a big way, with the exception of three hit songs, "Easy Livin' " from the 1972 album "Demons and Wizards", "Sweet Lorraine" from the 1972 album "The Magician's Birthday" (a top ten album in Australia), and "Stealin' " from the 1973 release "Sweet Freedom". The band released several commercially successful albums in the 1970s, including the seminal "Uriah Heep Live" (1973), but their audience declined by the 1980s, to the point where they became essentially a cult band in the US and UK. Uriah Heep maintain a significant following in Germany, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Balkan Peninsula, Japan and Russia, where they still perform at stadium-sized venues.

Roger Dean created many of their album covers.


Their debut album, "Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble" (which was self-titled in the United States), introduced a heavy organ 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 the Dickens character Uriah Heep ("very 'umble") from the novel "David Copperfield" from which the band took its name [cite web
title="Uriah Heep Story"
author=Kirk Blows
accessdate = 2007-03-15
] . Their second album, "Salisbury", was more squarely in the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra; it also included Lady in Black. Their third album, "Look at Yourself", released at the end of 1971, included the single "July Morning". Subsequent releases would find the group's ever-shifting lineup (between 1969 and 1980, the band changed drummers five times, bassists four times, and lead singers twice) frequently exploring fantasy-oriented lyrical themes, often in lengthy, multi-part compositions, largely penned by Hensley, who would eventually come to dominate the band during his tenure. On December 8, 1975, New Zealand-born former bassist, Gary Thain, was found dead in his Norwood Green home, aged 27, having overdosed on heroin.

Following the 1976 replacement of vocalist David Byron (with John Lawton - formerly of the German band Lucifer's Friend), Uriah Heep turned away from fantasy-oriented lyrics and multi-part compositions back toward a more straightforward hard rock sound typical of the era. In 1977 they scored a top 40 chart hit in Australia with "Free Me" which went all the way to #1 in New Zealand. The replacement of Lawton with vocalist John Sloman for the 1980 album "Conquest" was not well received by most fans, and Ken Hensley's acrimonious departure in September of that year left the group in a state of collapse. It fell to guitarist Mick Box to pick up the pieces and soldier on with a new singer Pete Goalby of Trapeze fame. Two early 1980s releases, "Abominog" and "Head First", updated the band's sound and generated a brief, newfound interest in Uriah Heep among younger glam metal fans.
David Byron died of an epileptic fit and liver disease on February 28, 1985, at the age of 38. Uriah Heep continued to tour and release both (occasional) studio and (frequent) live albums. The lineup was unchanged from 1986 until early 2007, being veteran Mick Box at the helm, Trevor Bolder on bass, Lee Kerslake on drums, vocalist Bernie Shaw and Phil Lanzon on keyboards. Their principal tour circuit is in Germany, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian Peninsula, Japan, and Russia, although they returned to Britain for a tour or a showcase concert most years. For several years this was The Magician's Birthday Party (named for one of their most popular albums), in London. This event consists of fan gatherings at local venues featuring current and former band members, and a concert, often with guest appearances by former members. However, to date, the last Party was in 2004. [ [http://uriah-heep.com/newa/eheep1305.php] ]

Mick Box also acted as manager until, on April 5, 2005, the band retained Simon Porter as their manager. [ [http://uriah-heep.com/newa/specialstatement.php] ]

In early 2007 drummer Lee Kerslake had to leave the group due to ill health. In March 2007, the band recruited Russell Gilbrook as their new drummer, and immediately started recording a new studio album entitled "Wake the Sleeper". Originally slated for a Summer 2007 release, Universal Music finally released Wake the Sleeper on June 2, 2008. In their Email newsletter of November 22, 2007, Mick Box announced that songs from the upcoming album would be performed on their European tour beginning November 24th. [ [http://www.uriah-heep.com] ]




* The power metal collaboration between Blind Guardian's vocalist Hansi Kürsch and Iced Earth's guitarist Jon Schaffer, called Demons & Wizards, takes its name from Uriah Heep's 1972 album "Demons and Wizards".
* "Heepster" is a term referring to fans of Uriah Heep, used among fans to refer to each other. Similar to Trekkie in usage.


External links

* [http://www.uriah-heep.com/ The Official Uriah Heep Website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/uheep Uriah Heep MySpace page]
* [http://www.mick-box.com/ Mick Box' official website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/mickbox Mick Box MySpace page]
* [http://www.myspace.com/trevorbolder Trevor Bolder MySpace page]
* [http://www.ken-hensley.com/ Ken Hensley's official website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/kenhensleymusic Ken Hensley MySpace page]

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