Last week I wrote about growing up in Tucson with my cousin Tom LeClair, who is dying from cancer. As I sat and spent his final days with him, I told stories about the great times we had in Tucson. Sadly, my cousin passed August 8, a few days after I wrote the article. It made me happy that I was able to read it to him and make him smile. Several things made him smile and it got me thinking…
My cousin and I grew up loving the band Uriah Heep. I read somewhere that this band was often called the Beach Boys of heavy metal. I never thought that, however, for being a “metal band” they had very melodic music. It could be why I liked them so much. My cousin loved the song The Wizard by Uriah Heep. We would sing it for hours and my cousin had me learn it on guitar for him so we could sing it over and over.
Sadly, I don’t think a lot of people remember who they were. I am unsure where I first heard Uriah Heep which started in 1969 as an English band. My memory seems to fail me. However, what doesn’t fail me is how my cousin and I wore out the albums Demons and Wizards and The Magician’s Birthday which both came out in 1972.
Heep never had any number one songs in the USA. They were hits in other countries, but here in the USA, they just didn’t make it big. A few of their albums went gold. Some of their big songs were Easy Living, Sweet Lorraine, Sunrise, Gypsy, and the Wizard.
Heep had a great singer David Byron, who died at the age of 38. I cannot compare his voice to any such singer today. In fact, I cannot compare this band to any band, though I heard someone once say they were a lot like queen, I strongly disagree, Queen did lots of pop rock songs and there was nothing pop rock about Uriah Heep. Ken Hensley, the keyboardist was very underplayed as well as he was a very underrated musician.
Since the passing of my cousin, I have been listening a great deal to Uriah Heep with singer David Byron. I keep wondering why America did not embrace this band, and sometimes think perhaps they were way too advanced for us for the time period or maybe their competition was too big for them with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and other big rockers of 1972.
I will always have Uriah Heep on my Ipod. They are a staple to my classic rock collection. Now, with the passing of my cousin, I will continue to listen to them as they now have become a reminder of something my cousin Tom and I shared, love of music. So if you get a chance, head over to Youtube and listen to The Wizard.
Did you listen to Uriah Heep?