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
Clarke (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.
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
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
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 Clarke 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.