Uriah Heep

Band members                         Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70) 

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- David Byron (RIP 1985) -- lead vocals 

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Alex Nanpier -- drums, percussion

- Paul Newton -- vocals, bass 


  line up 2 (1970) 

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- David Byron (RIP 1985) -- lead vocals 

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Paul Newton -- vocals, bass 

NEW - Nigel Olsson -- drums, percussion (replaced Alex Napier)


  line up 3 (1970) 

NEW - Keith Baker -- drums (replaced Nigel Olsson)

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- David Byron (RIP 1985) -- lead vocals 

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Paul Newton -- vocals, bass 


  line up 4 (1971) 

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- David Byron (RIP 1985) -- lead vocals 

NEW - Iain Clark -- drums, percussion (replaced Keith Baker)

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Paul Newton -- vocals, bass 


  line up 5 (1972) 

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- David Byron (RIP 1985) -- lead vocals 

NEW- Mark Clarke -- bass (replaced Paul Newton)

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

NEW - Lee Kerslake -- drums, vocals (replaced Iain Clark)


  line up 6 (1972-76) 

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- David Byron (RIP 1985) -- lead vocals 

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Lee Kerslake -- drums, vocals (replaced Iain Clark)

NEW - Gary Thain -- bass (replaced Mark Clarke)


  line up 7 (1976) 

- Mick Box -- lead guitar, vocals 

- Ken Hensley -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Lee Kerslake -- drums, vocals (replaced Iain Clark)

NEW  John Lawton -- vocals (replaced David Byron)

- Gary Thain -- bass (replaced Mark Clarke)





- Arnold Corns

- Asia

- Bedlam


- Black Sabbath

- Blackfoot (Ken Hensley)

- David Byron (solo efforts)

- Cat's Pajama's

- Chicken Shack

- Colosseum

- Cressida (Iain Clark)

- Cybernauts

- Damage Control

- Fable

- The Firm

- The Gods

- Grand Prix

- Keef Hartley Band

- Head Machine

- Heavy Metal Kids

- Ken Hensley (solo efforts)

- The Hensley Lawton Band

- The Hoochie Coochie Men

- Kalvas Jute

- John Lawton (solo efforts)

- Les Humphries Singers (John Lawton)

- Lion

- Living Loud

- The Loose Ends

- Lucifer's Friend (John Lawton)

- Manfred Mann's Earth Band

- May Blitz

- Mecca

- Mother's Army

- Mountain

- Mungo Jerry

- National Head Band

- Natural Gas

- Planet Alliance

- Nigel Olsson (solo efforts)

- Rainbow

- The Secrets

- Spice  (Mick Box, David Byron)

- The Stalkers  (Mick Box, David Byron)

- Strangers

- Stream

- Tempest

- Toe Fat (Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake)

- Trapeze

- John Welton and Ken Hensley

- Widowmaker

- Wishbone Ash





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Very 'eavy, Very 'umble

Company: Bronze

Catalog: BRNA-142

Year: 1970

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing; gatefold sleeve; JEM sticker on front cover

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4454

Price: SOLD $20.00

Cost: $66.00


The Heep's always interested me, in part due to the near universal abuse heaped (ha) on them by critics.  To be perfectly honest these guys may not have been the most original hard rockers around, but by the same token I can think of half a dozen critics favorites who had less talent.


First let me make sure you know this is a copy of the band's British debut which differs from the American debut (which was released as the cleverly titled "Uriah Heep" (the name copped from a character in Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist"). The UK and US issues have different covers and feature a minor change in the track listing - 'Bird of Prey' substituted on the US pressing for 'Lucy Blues' found on the UK issue.  Produced by David Bron, 1970's "Very 'eavy, Very 'umble" is surprisingly diverse; the band clearly still trying to find a unique sound with a mix of hard rock, blues, and progressive moves.  Among the most impressive examples of their stylistic hybrids are bassist Newton's "Dreammare" and the epic 'I'll Keep On Trying'.  Sure, the longstanding comparisons with Black Sabbath are apt (to a point) in the form of rockers such as the lead off cruncher 'Gypsy' and 'Walking In Your Shadow'.  That said, it's hard to image Ozzy and company daring to record a pretty ballad such as 'Come Away Melinda'.  One of my favorite Heep albums, though 'Bird of Prey' is a better song than the plodding bluesy 'Lucy Blues'.


"Very 'eavy, Very 'umble" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Gypsy   (Mick Box - David Byron) - 6:38

2.) Walking In Your Shadow   (David Byron - Paul Newton) - 4:30

3.) Come Away Melinda   (Hellerman - Minkoff) - 3:48

4.) Lucy Blues   (Mick Box - David Byron) - 5:08


(side 2)

1.) Dreammare   (Paul Newton) - 4:37

2.) Real Turned On   (Mick Box - David Byron - Paul Newton) - 3:39

3.) I'll Keep On Trying   (Mick Box - David Byron) - 5:27

4.) Wake Up (Set Your Sights)   (Mick Box - David Byron) - 6:20


Here's a YouTube clip of the band doing 'Gypsy': Maybe it's just me, but every time I see it I have Spinal Tap flashbacks ...






Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Salisbury

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SR 61319

Year: 1971

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor cover wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2855

Price: $20.00


So here's the interesting thing about Uriah Heep's second studio album - there are critics who've made a career trashing the band (sometimes with apt cause), and while I can't say I'm a gigantic fan, this one was quite good.  That said, I'll be honest and tell you that I grew up listening to this collection (well, the UK version which had different cover art, a slightly different track listing, and a different running order), and those years of exposure have certainly colored my view of the album.  I guess I'm trying to say that I may not be totally unbiased on this one.  Setting stage for what was to come, the album was released in the wake of another personnel change.   Pulling a page out of the Spinal Tap biography, drummer Keith Baker replacing Nigel Olsson (who'd previously replaced Alex Napier),  1971's Gerry Bron produced "Salisbury" found the band making a determined effort to prove they were capable of blending conventional rock with a more progressive attack.   The majority of the six tracks were great, offering up some first-rate rockers and blues-rockers with a minimal amount of progressive excess.  In fact the biggest problem with this set was the extended title track where the band bent over backwards to showcase their progressive credentials.  Clocking it at over 16 minutes, the composition consumed almost a third of the running time, with very little to show for the effort.  Far better were the shorter, more rock oriented tracks; particularly those where lead guitarist Mick Box was given an opportunity to shine.  Whenever Box took center stage the overall caliber of the performances increased a notch or two - check out his performances on 'High Priestess' and 'Simon the Bullet Freak'.  For anyone interested, the liner notes were interesting given they included comments from Ken Hensley on each track (which I've copied below)


"Salisbury" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) High Priestess   (Ken Hensley) - 3:30   rating: **** stars

"Side one, band one is always important to an album and has to be considered carefully.  We chose 'High Priestess; because it's atmospheric and represents the heavier side of the band.  Written in Germany in early September, the lyric speaks simply of the happiness which can be created by "together" people. Opening up with some soothing Mick Box guitar chords, 'High Priestess' then exploded into a breezy rocker featuring one of Byron's nicer lead vocals.  Sporting a nice stop-and-start melody, the song also showcased the band's largely overlooked harmony vocal talents.    

2.) The Park   (Ken Hensley) - 5:38   rating: **** stars

Say what you will about the rest of the album, but their was no arguing that the harmonium propelled ballad 'The Park' featured one of the prettiest melodies these guys ever wrote.  In fact the melody was so beguiling you could even overlook David Byron's somewhat awkward falsetto vocal.  The start and stop jazzy ending was somewhat unexpected, but wasn't half bad with Paul Newton contributing a pounding bass line while Mick Box turning in some surprisingly tasteful jazzy lead guitar.  "From a contrast point of view 'The Park' follows well.  It began as a poem I wrote in Stanwell Village, Middlesex, last August.  The music was composed on a Harmonium we found in a beautiful house in Hamburg a Little while later.  The lyric takes us into the drifting, essentially reflective instrumental section and the final verse.  Here the band interprets a sadly incessant life trend."    

3.) Time To Live   (Mick Box - David Byron - Ken Hensley) - 4:09   rating: **** stars

The album's most conventional rocker, 'Time To Live' was built on a nice Box blues-guitar figure and. Ken Hensley's stabbing organ moves.  Byron's voice has always been good on the band's rockier numbers and this is a nice example of just how good he could be.  "Time To Live" was put together at rehearsal in Chiswick, London in August and tells of a guy getting back to the world and his woman after a long time in prison (a material form of captivity).  David, while nicely into his own lyric, isn't sing from experience!"   

4.) Lady In Black   (Ken Hensley) - 4:43   rating: *** stars

"Lady In Black" written in early November in Bredford was inspired by the vision of an unknown girl and is unusually constructed using 4 acoustic guitars as the basic and a heavy vocal change arrangement.  Looking back, it could be based around a nice time in Munich."  Showcasing a largely acoustic sound, musically this one was quite unlike the rest of the album.  Another track that showcased the band's nice harmony vocals.  So where would rock be without groupies for inspiration ???  


(side 2)

1.) Simon the Bullet Freak   (Ken Hensley) - 3:25  rating: *** stars

Replacing 'Birds of Prey' on the US release, 'Simon the Bullet Freak' was a somewhat enigmatic blues-rocker.  Box turned in one of his best solos on the song.  Shame the track faded out just as it was starting to gain some momentum.  As for Hensley's explanation of the song - well it didn't shed much on the track:  "Simon the Bullet Freak" who is everywhere and nowhere!  At war and not really into it, he is obviously more in conflict with himself as a result.  Written in mid-November in West Hampstead, London." 

2.) Salisbury   (Mick Box - David Byron - Ken Hensley) - 16:22  rating: ** stars

"That brings us to 'Salisbury" title track and our first trip into large scale composing.  Complemented so excellently and unusually by John Fiddy's arrangement for brass and woodwind  There are floods of spaced-out sound and then almost baroque movements by co-anglais and flutes around David's vocal.  Organ and orchestra begin together to get into the basic context of he piece.  The opening vocal leads into the organ solo driven hard by Paul's bass ad the orchestra grooving incredibly!  The who thing comes together finally before an abrupt mood change lays it down for more vocal and Mick's beautifully constructed guitar solo.  There are so many different sounds going on it's easy to pick up something new each time around  The opening comes back briefly before the climax and the gentle bass clarinet in "fifths" which put all slowly back on the ground.  The track was a complete gas to record.  It really was! "   Well Hensley and company may have been impressed by their work, but I'll tell you that 'Salisbury' was easily the album's dullest performance.  Working with a 26 piece orchestra, much of this 16 + minute suite came off as little more than incidental music for some never filmed movie.  The middle world fantasy lyrics were equally dull.  Professional, but with the exception of Box's blazing solo, hardly much in the way of fun.  


The album was tapped for a pair of singles:


- 1971's 'High Priestess' b/w 'Time to Live' (Mercury catalog number 73174)

- 1971's 'Lady in Black' b/w 'Simon the Bulleit Freak' (sic) (Vertigo catalog number 6059 037)



As mentioned, the US and UK releases differed in a number of ways.  The UK 'tank' cover was replaced with a ghastly William Falkenburg drawing off what that looked like a man peeling his skin off - hideous.   The US release replaced 'Byrd of Prey' with 'Simon the Bullet Freak' (seemingly fitting for US audiences).  The US and UK releases also featured different running orders.



"Salisbury" track listing (UK pressing):

(side 1)

1.) Bird of Prey   (Ken Hensley) - 

2.) The Park   (Ken Hensley) - 5:38

3.) Time To Love   (Mick Box - David Byron - Ken Hensley) - 4:09

4.) Lady In Black   (Ken Hensley) - 4:43


(side 2)

1.) High Priest   (Ken Hensley) - 

2.) Salisbury   (Mick Box - David Byron - Ken Hensley) - 16:22




Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Innocent Victim

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BSK-3142

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: small cut out notch along top seam

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4793

Price: $9.00

Cost: $0.50


Heep fans will dump all over me for saying this, but to my ears most of 1977's "Innocent Victim" comes off as competent, if largely anonymous AOR.  (Not exactly a great way to sell you this album ...)  The second album to feature vocalist John Lawton, the set also finds the band shifting towards a heavier reliance of Mick Box's guitar.  Co-produced by Hensley and Gary Bron, the set's certainly commercial with tracks like 'Flyin' High', 'Free 'n' Easy' and 'Roller' offering up a mix of metal moves and commercial touches that should have guaranteed massive airplay (though that didn't happen).  Part of the problem may be that the band simply sounds like they're trying a tad too hard to please everyone.  Never the most original rock entity out there, those isolated shards of originality are all but gone.  That may be the reason that the handful of more experimental efforts such as the dreamy 'Illusion' (which sounds like it was cut halfway through the track) and the reggae-influenced 'The Dance' actually make the biggest impression.  Heep fans like this one quite a bit, but for the rest of you ...   Elsewhere Warner Brothers tapped the lame country-rock-ish ballad 'Free Me' b/w 'Masquerade' as a single (Warner Brothers catalog number WBS-8581).  (The UK pressing sports different cover art, but the same track listing.)


"Innocent Victim" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Keep On Ridin'   (Ken Hensley - Williams) - 

2.) Flyin' High  (Ken Hensley) - 

3.) Roller  (Trevor Bolder - McDonald) - 

4.) Free 'n' Easy   (John Lawton - Mick Box) - 

5.) Illusion  (Ken Hensley) - 


(side 2)

1.) Free Me  (Ken Hensley) - 

2.) Cheat 'n' Lie  (Ken Hensley) - 

3.) The Dance   (Williams) - 

4.) Choices   (Williams) - 


Here's a hysterical clip of the band performing 'Free Me' for German television.  Lawton must cringe when he sees the eye shadow and the vinyl outfit:







Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Fallen Angel

Company: Chrysalis

Catalog: CHR-1204

Year: 1978

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: cut lower right corner; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5185

Price: $10.00


Having ended their long standing partnership with Warner Brothers, 1978's "Fallen Angel" found the band signed to Chrysalis Records.  Co-produced by Gerry Bron and Ken Hensley, the album found the group having all but run out of creativity and enthusiasm.  Sure, these guys were professional enough to ensure the performances  were technically proficient, but material such as 'Falling In Love', 'I'm Alive and ''Come Back To me sounded like it had been written by a committee as they dissected the day's top-40 and AOR charts.  Yeah it may have been more radio friendly than their earlier work, but that tradeoff merely robbed them of whatever shred of originality they'd managed to hold on to over the earlier eleven albums.  Echoes of every then-charting AOR band ran through the set, giving it a kind of fun 'guess the source' feel ...  ah touch of Bad Company; Def Leppard riff; Queen harmony, etc.  With the possible exception of Hensley's retro-esque 'One More Night (Last Farewell)' and 'Woman of the Night', none of these ten tracks reflected the slightest degree of energy, enthusiasm, or originality.  Perhaps a reflection of Chris Achilleos' fantasy cover (boobs always sell well to young male audiences), the album actually managed to hit the US charts, peaking at # 186.  Chrysalis also tapped the album for a single in the form of the ballad 'Come Back To Me' b/w 'Cheater' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS-2224).


back cover of US issue LP


"Fallen Angel" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) One More Night (Last Farewell)   (Ken Hensley) - 

2.) Falling In Love   (Ken Hensley) - 

3.) Woman of the Night   (Mick Box - John Lawton - Lee Kerslake) - 

4.) I'm Alive   (John Lawton) - 

5.) Come Back To Me   (Lee Kerslake - Ken Hensley) - 


(side 2)

1.) Whad'ya Say  (Ken Hensley) - 

2.) Save It   (Trevor Bolder - McDonald) - 

3.) Love or Nothing  (Ken Hensley) - 

4.) Put Your Lovin' On Me   (John Lawton) - 

5.) Fallen Angel  (Ken Hensley) - 


There's tons of Uriah Heep material on YouTube.  Here's a clip of the band doing 'Come Back To Me':