URIAH HEEP – Back in 1983, Uriah Heep released their 15th studio album – Head First. Granted, this was not the original Classic Rock lineup of Uriah Heep. The sound and style of Uriah Heep had changed considerably as the ’70′s came to a close and the colorful ’80′s came reeling in. With the 1982 Uriah Heep album – Abominog ushering in a new lead vocalist in Peter Goalby, Head First would be the second of three albums that this vocalist would be fronting. (Equator from 1985 would be the third and last Uriah Heep album featuring Peter Goalby as lead vocalist). For comparison purposes, the class of Rock/Hard Rock vocalists that best fits alongside Peter Goalby are: Lou Gramm, (Foreigner), Kelly Hansen, (Foreigner/Hurricane) and Brian Howe, (Bad Company/Ted Nugent), to name just a few.
I consider Head First, to be a Hard Rock swirling with early ’80′s commercial Heavy Metal album. Head First is AOR for certain and is not lacking with melodic Rockin’ songs. This is not a blockbuster of a heavy album by any means. Instead, Head First is an album of songs that gives off some cool vibes… vibes that I still find appealing after all these years. My favorite song on this album is hands-down: The Other Side Of Midnight. When I first heard this song played on FM back in ’83, I was hooked. This song is very much a psyche-you-out listen, with it’s up-tempo and melodic Hard Rock sound.
In 1983, I was a junior trying to survive in High School and working part-time as a grocery store bagger and shopping cart gopher. The supermarket I worked at was named Finest… only there was nothing very fine about it. One cool aspect about working for this dingy and depressing supermarket was it’s next door neighbor store… Bradlees. This department store had a semi-impressive records & tapes department, so I used to spend most of my $20 – $30 paycheck there on music. I bought this Head First album there… only I don’t have it on vinyl anymore. (itunes cured my hankering for this album though).
Stay On Top and Sweet Talk are two other extremely melodic and accessible songs that probably made it to the FM airwaves way back then. I just can’t say for certain. Stay On Top is “kinda like” an anthem represented on Head First. This song has a bit of toughness about it… early ’80′s Heavy Rock toughness that is. Sweet Talk is dominated by the keyboards played by John Sinclair. It’s the keys that really makes Sweet Talk elevate with it’s pumped-up tempo and mood. During his musical career, John Sinclair was also the keyboardist for The Babys and Ozzy Osbourne.
Bob Daisley plays bass on Head First and is most famous for his Rock ‘N’ Roll stints with Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne. Longtime Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake was on board for Head First. Lee Kerslake was also the drummer for Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 debut album – Blizzard Of Ozz and 1981′s Diary Of A Madman.
Lonely Nights is the Bryan Adams cover song that Uriah Heep plays a bit heavier than the original. Not by much though. Lonely Nights is from the Bryan Adams 1981 sophomore release titled – You Want It You Got It. Both the Bryan Adams and Uriah Heep version of this song just screams with that early ’80′s Rock sound, feel and… may I add vibe? No, no, no… I HATE the word “dated”. It makes ME feel… um, uh… old. Regardless of my rhetorical nonsense here, Lonely Nights is undisputedly a very emotional and inspirational song, in my Metal opinion.
If there has ever been that #1 constant with Uriah Heep, since day one, it is lead guitarist Mick Box. A founding/original member of Uriah Heep, Mick Box seems to have quietly become a Rock legend in his own much deserving right. Ever since the 1970 Uriah Heep debut album – Very ‘eavy… Very ‘umble, Mick Box has been on lead guitar. Fast forward to 2008 and Uriah Heep have released their 21st studio album – Wake The Sleeper. Uriah Heep is still Rockin’ the lights out live in 2010 from what I have read and been told… a Rock historic band that I would love to see live sometime soon. Then, I could boast that I have seen Mick Box play guitar… in real time.
Classic Rock, 1980′s mainstream Heavy Metal & Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Progressive Rock and AOR fans should take a keen liking to Head First from Uriah Heep. This is a band that stretches across quite a few Rock genres, both past and present.
* For more info on Uriah Heep, just click on the link below:
Uriah Heep, as they appeared on the Head First studio album:
Peter Goalby - lead vocals
Mick Box – guitar
John Sinclair - keyboards & backing vocals
Bob Daisley - bass
Lee Kerslake - drums, percussion
Original Track Listing For Uriah Heep – Head First:
The Other Side Of Midnight
Stay On Top
Love Is Blind
Rollin’ The Rock
Straight Through The Heart
LONG LIVE URIAH HEEP!
40 years of Uriah Heep Rock ‘N’ Roll is something to celebrate.