The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Uriah Heep


5-21-08 Uriah Heep

After discussing Black Sabbath yesterday, I thought I would write about Uriah Heep today…

LP DEMONS AND WIZARDS MERCURY US SRM-1-630

1972 8 TRKS U.S. pressing

CD LANSDOWNE TAPES, THE VICEROY US VIN 6015.2

1994 14 TRKS (60's recordings)

LP MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY, THE MERCURY US SRM-1-652

1972 8 TRKS insert

LP SALISBURY MERCURY US SR 61319

1970 6 TRKS US version

LP SALISBURY VERTIGO FR 6360 028

1970 6 TRKS UK version

LP VERY 'EAVY...VERY 'UMBLE VERTIGO UK 6360 006

1970 8 TRKS UK original issue

CD VERY 'EAVY...VERY 'UMBLE kami JVC JPN VICP-61828

1970 11 TRKS ('02 issue) kami sleeve (3 x bonus tracks)

7" WAKE UP (SET YOUR SIGHTS) (Mono) / (Stereo) promo MERCURY US DJ-294

1970 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

No, I’m not a huge fan – but I encountered them at roughly the time that their debut LP came out. I likely heard them towards the end of 1970 – and the UK cover of “Very ‘eavy…Very ‘umble” really impressed me. If Black Sabbath were merely singing about devil worship etc. – then Uriah Heep had a photo of a dead guy on the cover of their record! Who was that, anyway? Any Heep-Heads know?

13 years old is a tad young to be a label snob – but I was trying my best to hear all of the records on the British Vertigo label, circa ’70 – ’72. I really liked May Blitz and Black Sabbath – so, naturally I asked about the first Uriah Heep LP as soon as I saw it in the hippie record store. As I recall, they were happy to play it to me – a direct hit! Gypsy!

Many moons later, I got the illuminating “Lansdowne Tapes” CD – to hear the ‘progression’ from Spice to Heep – great liner notes, too!

Odd, but the next time I heard anything about Uriah Heep, they were already being regarded as ‘figures of fun’ – a band to be made fun of. Tales and drugs and death, unnecessary heaviness – and assorted Spinal Tap-like antics.

Of course, the debut Heep LP is straight-forward hard rock of 1970 – not bad at all. They changed the cover and track listing for the US release, so I’m not surprised at all that it took a lot longer for the US market to awake to them.

I couldn’t resist getting a little paper album cover (kami sleeve) CD of the debut in Japan – it has some nice bonus tracks. Is that Elton John’s Nigel Olsson on drums? I think it is.

So, Uriah Heep = guilty pleasure?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Back in late 2006 Uriah Heep did an acoustic tour of Germany and their "special guests" were... The Nits??!!?? Hey man, teh interwebs don't lie.

http://www.nits.nl/photodiary/611.html

Do you suppose that was the most extreme case of "strange bedfellows" ever?

Have I ever heard Uriah Heep? Uh, no. Can't say I have.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Well, they're what is sometimes called "dumb B-grade hard rock" - but I think nearly all of the original members have gone to meet their makers - no idea at all who is in a modern day version of this band.

The Nits singer, Henk, always used to stress to me that they were not a 'rock band' - but I can say without hesitation that Uriah Heep - in any form - should be a 'rock band' - acoustic or otherwise, Germany or otherwise!

6:28 PM  
Blogger diplomaticpermissiondeepi said...

I'm pretty sure thats David Byron on the cover. I know that Barry Winton told me who it was, and Barry would know as he was their most devoted fan. I have just found out whilst in converstion with Peter Sherster, that Uriah Heep were good mates with Sam Apple Pie. They are both from Walthamstow Essex...near Epping Forest, one of the locations for filming 'The Avengers'...ahhh Laurie Johnson. I have been researching Zappa, and found some great photo's of Frank playing with Sam Apple Pie at Amougies Festival Oct 1969. From Zappa in France by French photographer Christian Rose.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

I was a fan in high school (1971-73). I didn't explore the early records but "Demons and Wizards" and "The Magicians Birthday" were solid hard rock records that sounded fine to me in an early 70s kind of way. I saw them live at the Orlando Sports Stadium with Long John Baldry opening. I lost interest as prog rock took more and more of my attention.
Uriah Heep=guilty pleasure?....yeah....

9:52 PM  
Anonymous David Martin said...

I was fortunate enough to see URIAH HEEP live in Melbourne, Australia on the MAGICIANS BIRTHDAY tour. They were pretty damn brilliant- one of the most exciting bands I have seen. Hot musicians, great songs, stupendous live sound. Forget the first two albums, collect the next three, plus the Live album from 1972- this one is as good as the uniformly loved UFO "STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT"live set.There is no embarrassment in loving vintage period, David Byron fronted HEEP- it is class all the way.

9:33 AM  

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