Uriah Heep was one of the bands that helped to begin and further the progressive fantasy element of Rock music way back in 1969. Their debut album, Very ‘eavy, Very ‘umble (1970) started the ball rolling. By the time they arrived at their third album, what they strove to become was in full bloom. One of the songs from Look At Yourself (1971) was “July Morning”, a favorite on FM radio, and the “Look At Yourself” title track. Just a year later, they released Demons And Wizards (1972), an album that landed them a solid US hit with “Easy Livin'”. The UK, ahead of US interest also gave life to “The Wizard” from the same album. The rest of the story is history as the band gained more of a fan-base as they released albums and singles. By the time they reached their debut US Warner release, Sweet Freedom (1973), they were doing what they wanted. The excellent hit song off that album was “Stealin'”.
Over time, the core band began to disintegrate beginning with Gary Thain. He was soon joined by David Byron, the band’s brilliant vocalist. Both ended up dying as a result of their addictions. The band, from a point after the release of David Byron, changed line-ups frequently losing and regaining core members. Mick Box is the only remaining founding member, and the one that insured that Uriah Heep never went away. Amazingly, despite the challenges that presented themselves, Uriah Heep remained artistically viable. Although the band had different members, Box chose them wisely as every Uriah Heep fan will say, the output of the band was, more or less, excellent additions to a growing library. David Byron was an impossible vocalist to replace so they didn’t try; they just filled in the blanks as they went along in admirable fashion.
BMG is currently undertaking a restoration project of Uriah Heep classic releases (which I’ll gladly follow through every release and report on). The label began with a superb 2CD anthology that explored Uriah Heep from its ‘umble’ beginnings to 1990, a core afterlife, if you will. The set is called Your Turn To Remember: The Definitive Anthology 1970-1990. (Your Turn to Remember is taken from the band’s song of the same name found on their Return To Fantasy (1975) album, which has two songs represented on the first CD.) Within its paneled casing, the two CDs explore Uriah Heep well, with CD one concentrated on the David Byron years, and CD two working with subsequent vocalists (High And Mighty – 1976 utilized David Byron and is the only represented album on CD 2 to do so. But although CD 2 contains a number of songs with various voices, they never suffered because the music was so strong.
The set contains 33 songs representative of Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble in 1970 and Raging Silence from 1989, and the fifteen studio albums recorded between those two. As with any set, selections may not fit every one’s idea of a perfect anthology, but this one certainly whetted my appetite for the whole albums. Listening to this anthology, which I’ve done to excess already, has brought up memories that needed revisiting by hearing whole albums. And with the upcoming remasters, it’s going to be a great 2017 for classic Uriah Heep remasters and bonus tracks.
The included 20-page booklet crams in a wealth of album covers, posters, and an eye-opening new interview with Mick Box, and Ken Hensley. The booklet concludes with a two-page track-list of songs found on the 2CDs, complete with credits.
This anthology is a must have set for Uriah Heep fans. It makes traveling on long, lonely highways feel like you’re traveling with long time friends.