Uriah Heep
Uriah Heep - Official Web Site



October 1970 - November 1971

From the top: Mick Box, Paul Newton, Ken Hensley, Iain Clark, & David Byron.

Many more pics and snippets from Paul Newton's archive here

 

Whatever, Heep's first visit to the States beckoned, and with travel sickness pills clasped tightly in sweaty mitts they headed off, complete with new drummer lan Clark (recruited from fellow Vertigo band Cressida), to a country that immediately warmed to them in a big way. That first trip threw them straight into the lion's den, playing 20,000 seat arenas in support of top US pop band Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf.

 "Playing with Three Dog Night was all wrong musically," recalls Box, "but it was invaluable experience for us." With that experience behind them it was time to go to work on album number three. Bron's deal with Phillips/Vertigo was now over, which left him free to set up his own label with the benefit of having acts already signed to him. (The first releases on the new label, Bronze, were re-issues of Heep's first two albums.) The recording of

Look at yourself took place during the surnmer months of 1971, marking a hat-trick of visits to Lansdowne, which was fast becoming a second home for them, and things were clearly gelling nicely.

 "LOOKAT YOURSELF was the point in time when the band really found a solid musical direction," confirms Bron. And then there's the cover, featuring a mirror that offers your reflection, distorted, of course - Box's idea. Never mind the sleeve, it's the music that counts with LOOK AT YOURSELF. 

The disparate ideas that had been a prominent feature of SALISBURY had suddenly stopped travelling at parallels and began to entwine, producing a more unified sound and direction. What's more apparent is the confidence shown, notably with 'Look At Yourself', 'Tears In My Eyes' and more particularly 'July Morning', a true classic of epic proportions that is as ingrained in the tradition of British rock as the likes of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway To Heaven' and Deep Purple's 'Child In Time'. 

Ken Hensley: "I think that 'July Morning' is one of the best examples of the way the band was developing at that point in time. It introduced a lot of dynamics, a lot of light and shade into our sound." Box remembers the album more for the way the band fell into line with each other, and 'July Morning' aside, there's certainly a consistency of sound that testifies to that. 

The UK audience acknowledge that too by making it Uriah Heep's first chart album, going in at No.39. Yes, things were going well; success in Germany had opened up large parts of Europe for them, inroads had been made into the USA and even Britain, critical reaction aside, could not ignore the band. 

Things were good but they were going to get better. A lot better. The advent of 1972 was to witness substantial changes in the Heep camp, brought about, predominently, through the continuing development within the band, as Hensley explains. "The relationship, musically and personally, between myself, Mick and David developed so quickly, it was spontaneous. 

And the three of us were increasingly becoming the nucleus of the band, looking to fill the other two places." Both lain Clark and Paul Newton were not happy chappies, for various reasons, and Newton was the first to go, making way for one Mark Clark to come in, though his too was to be a brief stay.


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