Uriah Heep Album By Album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    A Little Background
    Uriah Heep are a London band that officially formed in 1969, but go back to Mick Box's Hogwash from 1967.
    After playing the scene for a while the original singer left and David Garrick joined the band. Garrick and Box formed a songwriting team and they were taking this quite seriously, both quitting their jobs and putting all their energies into moving this thing forward. At this point they changed their name to Spice.
    From the very beginning Spice was an original band, avoiding playing covers and working on and playing their original music. Another thing that happened with the start of the band in the guise of Spice was that David Garrick changed his surname to Byron, and the haze of who we are dealing with here starts to clear.

    They were seen playing by Gerry Bron who became their manager and got them signed to Vertigo, a newly formed label that was an offshoot from Phillips.
    The four piece found themselves booked into Lansdowne Studios in London, still under the name of Spice, and shortly after the decision was made to name the band after the David Copperfield character, Uriah Heep. This was Christmas 1969, and Charles Dickens was everywhere, being the hundredth anniversary of his death. I would imagine that the Dickens' character would be somewhat related to the tragic biblical character, even if only in name ... it's been a while since I read Dickens.

    The four members of the band at this stage were
    Mick Box - Guitar
    David Byron - Vocals
    Alex Napier - Drums
    Paul Newton - Bass

    Ken Hensley joined on Keyboards in February 1970, and the name officially changed over to Uriah Heep.
    In the words of Mick Box - "We'd actually recorded half the first album when we decided that keyboards would be good for our sound. I was a big Vanilla Fudge fan, with their Hammond organ and searing guitar on top, and we had David's high vibrato vocals anyway so that's how we decided to shape it."
    Hensley's recollection was "I saw a lot of potential in the group to do something very different."

    In 1970 their debut album "Very 'eavy, Very 'umble", which is in part taken from the David Copperfield character, came out. It was released as Uriah Heep in the US, well, because the US likes things to be different :).

    I remember seeing this album cover at one of my parent's friends houses when I was a pup... and it creeped me out a bit to be honest. It wasn't til years later that I heard the band, because they never really got much exposure, to the best of my knowledge in Australia in the eighties.
    I was first introduced to the band properly in 1990 when the bass player in our band wanted to do Stealin' as a cover song. When I said I wasn't familiar with it my drummer mate introduced me to Demons and Wizards, and the Magicians Birthday albums, and after my foray into the music world failed I ended up starting to get some Heep albums in around 2005. A few years ago I filled that out quite a bit, and now I see them as a somewhat great, overlooked band of the seventies.

    Since coming to the Heep party, I have noticed that they seem to often be overlooked for Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath to some degree, and many folks seem to see them as imitators .... but I really don't see that. I think the Hammond organ leads folks to think the guys ripped the style from Purple, but really that particular Purple sound only came to be in 1970 anyhow ... so like always it was just a certain scene in a certain area, that produced some great bands, and a fairly new kind of sound, and I think they all deserve kudos for following their gut and doing their own thing.

    Although there are obviously possible comparisons between the bands, there are distinct differences for anyone that moves beyond the most well known tracks and really takes a bite into the catalog.

    I hope that we have a few folks that will come along on this journey with me, because that will make it much more interesting. I am no expert on the band, and in fact will be diving deep into a lot of these albums for the first time. I am much more familiar with the earlier albums in the catalog, although I have listened to them all.
    I think there is good stuff to discover all through, and hope you guys will come along for the ride.
    I am still finishing off a few loose ends in some other threads, so I won't be charging out of the gate with this one, but we will probably get the debut up tomorrow so folks can give us an idea of their perspectives, and then we'll run through the songs, and move through the catalog.

    Please stay where we are in the thread, unless there is an obvious and necessary reference, because it just makes it easier for those who join in to know where we are at.


  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  5. Finch Platte

    Finch Platte Forum Resident


    One of my all time favorites, and still going strong after 150 years! ;)
  6. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    I have really liked this band ever since I borrowed Sweet Freedom from the public library. It is still one of my favorite albums. Sadly, I've never managed to see the bad, as it seems their live performances are still very powerful. Plus, not to jump ahead of the thread, but they have put out material I felt was pretty good even in the last years-amazing from a band started nearly 50 years ago.
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  7. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    Well...alrighty then!
    mark winstanley likes this.
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    No stress mate... we're just opening the door at the moment.
    I was surprised how good Outsider was. I have heard that Living The Dream was even better, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Spice released one single

    What About The Music
    This single came out in 1968.
    This is a boppy kind of late sixties pop/rock song, and it comes across quite well. Obviously somewhat different to their chosen path in Uriah Heep, but the band really did like to mix it up as we'll find out in the thread.
    So while we're waiting to move into the meat and potatoes, here is an appetiser ... we will be covering more Spice tracks when we get to The Lansdowne Tapes, later in the thread.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
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  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter


    In Love

    Here we have the b-side.
    We start with a riff from Box, and move into a similar styled late sixties pop/rock song.
    Obviously at this stage Byron and Box were still finding their voice, and there is nothing quite like some studio writing time following a few years of gigging to do that.

  11. Vincentrifugal

    Vincentrifugal Forum Resident

    Hi Mark. Heep had all 5 members of the band singing when I saw them live in 74-75 (John Wetton was Bass and some lead vocals in the 75 show) so some very nice harmonies (Circle of Hands for example) so I used to describe them to friends who asked me what they sound like as “Derp Purple meets The Beach Boys”
  12. old school

    old school Senior Member

    I don't get the comparisons with Deep Purple Jon Lord & Ken Hensley approach the hammond organ so differently two different styles in my opinion. Mick Box & Ritchie Blackmore are opposites as well in a good way. And David Byron was a unique vocalist with opera singer stylings. Gypsy off Heeps debut album shows the incredible talent Ken Hensley possesses on the hammond organ. I rate Uriah Heep one of the top tier bands of the 1970s will be interesting to analyze each album. Gary Thain was a incredible bass player not a founding member but a huge influence when he joined the band.
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Hensley's keys on Gypsy are like a nuclear assault....
    and i agree with what you say there. Aside from similar band set ups, the way they used those set ups was completely different to my ears, most of the time.
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  14. Finch Platte

    Finch Platte Forum Resident

    Gary Thain's death was a great loss, to both rock and roll. :(
  15. Rufus rag

    Rufus rag Forum Resident

    Anyone know the reason why David chose Byron?

    I have his biography 'Born to Perform' but havn't got round to reading it.
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  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    I don't know exactly when the name changed ... I kind of assume that it was when the band changed their name.

    As for the reason he chose Byron... I am guessing since they named the band from a great writers work ... I kind of assume he named himself after Lord Byron, a famous poet.... but that's just guesses from me.
    Correct answers appreciated obviously
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  17. danielbravo

    danielbravo Forum Resident

    Caracas. DC
    Sad but I know little about Spice :shrug:

    I hope not to spoil the thread with my personal introduction about Uriah Heep...

    Excellent band. The critics at some point unfairly compared them with Deep Purple. Two totally different animals.
    Their albums with David Byron are simply fantastic.

    As a band they caught my attention when I first heard the album "Look At Yourself" (even my favorite of all their discography) although I was interested in other bands very different from this one. Then I listened to "Live 1973" and there I was seriously surprised. I began to take an interest in going deeper with those albums with D.Byron and so I appreciated them. What came after Byron has failed to capture my attention (with all honesty)

    The Look At Yourself / Demons & Wizards / The Magician's Birthday triad is one of the most respectable of the hard rock scene in the early 70's

    We will see how this progresses and then I will share a little more here :tiphat:
  18. danielbravo

    danielbravo Forum Resident

    Caracas. DC
    Critics and some journalists called him "the Tower", he was a tall guy and also with platform boots. A phenomenal bassist!
  19. Finch Platte

    Finch Platte Forum Resident

    Fify ;)
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  20. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    And David Byron as well. He had a unique voice.
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  21. old school

    old school Senior Member

    I believe Gary Thain was a member of the 27 club.
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Feel free to express your thoughts/feelings mate.
    This is like pre-dinner drinks.

    I just posted Spice as an intro, something for folks to check out. To be honest, before today I had never heard of them.
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  23. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Oh amen amen-funny, I was thinking just that before I saw your post. Cool looking dude too! I was really sad when I read he died. If I'm understanding the Norwegian Wikipedia page, narcotics?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
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  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    ...Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble...

    Studio album by
    Uriah Heep
    13 June 1970 (UK)
    August 1970 (US)
    Recorded July 1969 – April 1970
    Studio Lansdowne Studios, London
    Genre Hard rock progressive rock heavy metal
    Length 40:07
    Label Vertigo (Europe) Mercury (US) Philips (Japan)
    Producer Gerry Bron

    ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble is the debut studio album by British rock band Uriah Heep, released on 13 June 1970 by Vertigo Records in the UK. The original vinyl release was a gatefold sleeve, featuring frontman David Byron on the front sleeve, almost unrecognisable beneath cobwebs.

    It was issued in August 1970 by Mercury Records in the United States as just Uriah Heep with different sleeve artwork (a centipede type monster), and with the track "Bird of Prey" in place of "Lucy Blues". The album was reissued by Bronze Records later in 1970 after the band signed to that label.[3]

    The album shows the band trying out various genres – a mix of heavy metal and progressive rock – rather than the hard rock that they would become known for on later albums.[1] Tracks 3 and 8 were recorded as Spice songs prior to the band's renaming as Uriah Heep, and featured session player Colin Wood on keyboards.[4] When Ken Hensley joined Spice in early 1970, the tracks were not re-recorded.

    The album was generally panned by the mainstream critical press upon its release, although it has since been acknowledged as an early classic of the heavy metal genre.[2] Rolling Stone magazine's Melissa Mills began her review by saying, "If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide. From the first note you know you don't want to hear any more."[5]

    • Gerry Bron – producer
    • Peter Gallen – engineer, mixing
    • Peter Olliff – mixing

    1. "Gypsy" Mick Box, David Byron 6:37
    2. "Walking in Your Shadow" Byron, Paul Newton 4:31
    3. "Come Away Melinda" Fred Hellerman, Fran Minkoff 3:46
    4. "Lucy Blues" Box, Byron 5:08
    5. "Dreammare" Newton 4:39
    6. "Real Turned On" Box, Byron, Newton 3:37
    7. "I'll Keep on Trying" Box, Byron 5:24
    8. "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" Box, Byron 6:22

    US release
    1. "Gypsy" Box, Byron 6:37
    2. "Walking in Your Shadow" Byron, Newton 4:31
    3. "Come Away, Melinda" Hellerman, Minkoff 3:46
    4. "Bird of Prey" Box, Byron, Ken Hensley, Newton 4:05
    5. "Dreammare" Newton 4:39
    6. "Real Turned On" Box, Byron, Newton 3:37
    7. "I'll Keep on Trying" Box, Byron 5:24
    8. "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" Box, Byron 6:22

    2003 expanded deluxe CD
    1. "Gypsy" Box, Byron 6:37
    2. "Walking in Your Shadow" Byron, Newton 4:31
    3. "Come Away, Melinda" Hellerman, Minkoff 3:46
    4. "Lucy Blues" Box, Byron 5:08
    5. "Dreammare" Newton 4:39
    6. "Real Turned On" Box, Byron, Newton 3:37
    7. "I'll Keep on Trying" Box, Byron 5:24
    8. "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" Box, Byron 6:22
    9. "Bird of Prey" Box, Byron, Hensley, Newton 4:05
    10. "Born in a Trunk (Alternate Version)" Box, Byron 4:31
    11. "Come Away, Melinda (Alternate Version)" Hellerman, Minkoff 4:15
    12. "Gypsy (Extended Mix)" Box, Byron 7:07
    13. "Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (Alternate Version)" Box, Byron 6:32
    14. "Born in a Trunk (Instrumental)" Box, Byron 4:31
    15. "Dreammare (Live at the BBC)" Newton 3:08
    16. "Gypsy (Live at the BBC)" Box, Byron 5:15

    2016 Sanctuary expanded deluxe edition disc 2: An Alternate ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble (all tracks previously unreleased)
    1. "Gypsy" 6.57
    2. "Real Turned On" 3:47
    3. "Dreammare" 5:10
    4. "Come Away, Melinda" 4:01
    5. "Born in a Trunk" 4:53
    6. "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" 6:56
    7. "I'll Keep on Trying" 5:33
    8. "Walking in Your Shadow" 5:11
    9. "Lucy Blues" 5:20
    10. "Born in a Trunk" 4:47
    11. "Magic Lantern" 7:57
    12. "Bird of Prey (Alternate U.S. Version)" 4:06
    As was often the case the US release is different from the general release. This is something I have never really understood, but for our purposes we will go through the original album version, so as not to disjoint the next album and so forth. Tracks on the US album appear on Salisbury and such, so we'll stick with the original release and take the other songs in as they come on following albums. I'm not sure how much that happens over the early albums, but hopefully it is just the debut, and an attempt to get a good first impact on the biggest market in the world.

    The album ended up doing some good business, going top twenty in Australia, Finland, Italy and hit 22 in Germany. It got to number 41 in Japan in 1972, and just peaked into the US at 186 .

    I think this was an excellent debut from the band, because it covers a broad spectrum of the type of songs that they were going to present the world. We have the grinding punching hard rock, mellow ballad, blues number..... it is quite an eclectic mix of tracks, but for me it works together as a whole to create an excellent debut album.

    I would imagine that Byron's vocals would have got the attention of the listeners that heard this. I also imagine that a few bands coming up on the music timeline in a few years seem to have heard a few things on here that would appear to had some influence.
    On this album Byron ranges from power rock singing to vibrato laden falsetto, and although not everyone's cup of tea stylistically, he carries it off really well.

    To me, musically, the band have a great range also, Easily moving between the styles and sounding very comfortable in them all, and also managing to retain a distinct band style between the varying tracks.
    It is hard to imagine the band without Hensley, and for me his importance on this album leaves me surprised that he was fresh to the band. Up until yesterday I had always assumed that he was there from the start, because so many of the musical highlights on here are based in part on his keyboard work, which really is excellent.
    Mick Box is obviously a hugely important element in here also. When thinking about this album, beyond the "that is a cool song" perspective, I was struck with how thoughtful his contributions here are. Mick isn't an everybody look at me guitarist. On here he really shows great discernment of what and when to play. I know as a guitarist myself, that especially when you're young, the temptation is to just overplay all the time, to show everybody what you can do. What is striking on here, is Mick's ability to chain himself down to just doing what needs to be done, and doing it really well. That isn't to say there aren't some great lead breaks and such.... it is the ability to sit out, and then just put in that one little thing that gives the guitars presence a much bigger impact.... anyway this will become more apparent as we go through the songs.
    The rhythm section is solid, and all together the guys, in my opinion, put together a fantastic debut album that showed everything it needed to.

    As I said earlier, the album cover creeped me out as a kid. Not the US one, the original one. The dead body kind of appearance on the cover probably wasn't the most commercial way of presenting the album, but I would assume also that it got some people's attention. This is 1970, and I was one or two years old, so I have no "in time" knowledge of how it was received, so anyone that does, please let us know. Perhaps it was more common than I know to have a cover like this, but it seems very different and somewhat challenging to the public.

    So for me this album is a sensational start to the bands career, and lays it all on the table. The Musicality and the sound is spot on, and I think this works on every level.

    Please let us know when this album was discovered by you, what your thoughts were then, what your thoughts are now, and anything else that crosses your mind. I will hit the first song either tomorrow morning or Monday morning, and we'll be on our way.

  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

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