Friday, March 9 at 8 p.m.
Among venerable UK rock institutions, Deep Purple, Yes and Uriah Heep are left upholding the tradition of quality original progressive hard rock forged at the very beginning of the golden era for this music.
Beginning in the late ’60s, Uriah Heep helped invent a uniquely British form of heavy metal with their debut album, Very ’Eavy, Very ’Umble, a historically massive album in the history of a musical format that would rule the ’70s and only intensify in the ’80s.
From those roots, with classic, crucial slabs of nascent metal such as “Gypsy,” “Bird of Prey” and “Walking in Your Shadow,” Uriah Heep began their ascendance both in the UK and in the US, culminating in their most enduring works, Demons and Wizards, The Magician’s Birthday and Sweet Freedom, all of which went gold in the states and entered the Billboard Top 40.
Across 25 studio albums, along with myriad live releases and compilations, Uriah Heep have managed to sell 40 million records worldwide, four million in the US and 36 million internationally. With particular success in Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, Eastern Europe and Russia, where Uriah Heep was the first Western rock band to play live in Moscow in December 1987.
Perhaps even more admirable than the global love for the band, has been the quality and consistency of the band’s music across a myriad of personnel changes, some of them potentially critical, beginning with the loss of charismatic vocalist David Byron after the band’s ninth studio album, High and Mighty, issued in June 1976.
But in 1982, the band stormed back (as they would again in 1995) with a classic of British heavy metal called Abominog, which entered the top 40 in the USA. This album featured Peter Goalby on vocals and is revered by Heep fans, on par with such classics as 1971’s Look at Yourself and 1972’s Demons and Wizards. Similar stadium-rocking records Head First, issued in 1983, and Equator, issued two years later, capped off this exciting era.
For over 30 years, from 1986 to 2007, Uriah Heep had consisted of patriarch Mick Box on lead guitars, Bernie Shaw on vocals, long-time member Lee Kerslake on drums, Trevor Bolder on bass and Phil Lanzon keyboards. Only with the retirement of Lee Kerslake and the death of Trevor Bolder did the band find it necessary to add new blood. Russell Gilbrook became Heep’s drummer and then Dave Rimmer came along, quickly becoming the missing piece of the all-important rhythm section.
Through the 1990s and 2000s, Uriah Heep issued three albums of completely new music—Wake the Sleeper, Into the Wild and Outsider—with a fourth scheduled to be recorded in October of 2017. The run really begins with the highly regarded Sea of Light from 1995, up to 2014’s Outsider, which features the late-period hit, “One Minute.”
Even now, nearly 50 years after the band’s inception, the sun seems to be shining down upon Mick Box and Uriah Heep. Uriah Heep are one of only a small clutch of vital heritage acts touring worldwide and regularly recording and releasing high quality, exquisitely produced full-length records that continue to capture the imagination.
Uriah Heep’s songs and music have stood the test of time and with even more new songs on the horizon the mighty ‘Heep’ are as strong and powerful as ever.
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