Half a century not out has seen this bedevilled British rock band survive the trials and tribulations that drink, drugs and death wreak in its wake to continue marching forward to the singular sound of their own drum.
Not so much a musical soap opera but an epic ongoing tale of a band that emerged from the early days of a newly formed hard rock movement to rapidly grow and gloriously ride the rollercoaster of fame and success. Uriah Heep heroically coped with the steep dips as well as the heady highs on their journey to become one of the very few existing rock bands to chalk off their fiftieth milestone.
To mark this momentous landmark, BMG has corralled Heep’s entire recorded releases together with four CDs of their favourite Heep songs compiled by Hensley, Box, Newton and the much-missed Lee Kerslake.
As huge as this quality packaged box is there is an unforgettable elephant in the room as absolutely no unreleased material, plenty of which does exist, is included to turn this into a treasure trove instead of a very well presented repackaged trawl through what is already out there.
Nevertheless, this will certainly appeal to a newer generation of fans who have deep pockets to match their putative passion. However, seasoned fans, many of whom will surely have most if not all of the recorded contents found herein, might feel that this collectable falls short of their hopes and expectations as completists.
Still, there’s much to keep any fan’s ears occupied for quite some time as the contents include 19 CDs covering all the studio albums and the live 1973 album. There’s 1LP of The Magician’s Birthday with new Roger Dean artwork. And there’s tour programmes, memorabilia and notes written by integral band members plus the aforementioned member’s curated CDs.
Not so much a Return To Fantasy as a return to everything that has already been previously put out there in the music racks.
With a gathered mass of unheard recordings most likely encrusted by very ‘eavy cobwebs, this is a missed opportunity to give the ranks of the true diehard Uriah Heep fans what they really want.
50 Years In Rock
By Paul Davies