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Classic Heep: Anthology
Uriah Heep
Classic Heep: Anthology
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2

The missing link between Deep Purple and Queen, '70s Britrockers Uriah Heep had it all: epic rock anthems, quasi-operatic vocals, and gothic ax 'n' organ grooves that could send Quasimodo into paroxysms of air guitar. This...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Uriah Heep
Title: Classic Heep: Anthology
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mercury
Original Release Date: 9/15/1998
Release Date: 9/15/1998
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR), British Metal, Hard Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 731455886320

The missing link between Deep Purple and Queen, '70s Britrockers Uriah Heep had it all: epic rock anthems, quasi-operatic vocals, and gothic ax 'n' organ grooves that could send Quasimodo into paroxysms of air guitar. This 30-song collection mixes infectious frat-rockers such as "Easy Livin'" and "Sweet Lorraine" with attenuated anthems featuring more demons and wizards than you can shake a scepter at ("Magician's Birthday," "Rainbow Demon," "High Priestess," "The Wizard," "Paradise/The Spell" ... you get the idea). Heavy with just the right amount of histrionics, our Heep could even swing into ballad mode, albeit with mixed results: "Rain," penned by keyboardist Ken Hensley, is surprisingly gorgeous, whereas an early cover of the Weavers' "Come Away Melinda" is a bit overwrought. A band whose reach could exceed their grasp, Uriah Heep was the product of a less cynical and calculated time whose innocence and inspirations are well served by this anthology. --Billy Grenier

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CD Reviews

The best years well documented
Robert Dumas | Pawling, NY USA | 04/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I think that when reviewing any anthology of an artist's work -- especially an artist that's been around a while -- one should focus on what the producers decided to include, or not include, the production values, mixes and packaging, but not necessarily the music itself. After all, it stands to reason that if one is considering purchasing an anthology (particularly if it's a pricey multi-disc collection), one is already a fan of the band in question. You already know what the music sounds like.Such is the case with Uriah Heep and me. The Heep was probably the first rock 'n' roll band I became obsessed with as a kid. One listen to "Look At Yourself" and I was hooked. The one-two punch of "Demons & Wizards" and "The Magician's Birthday" followed and I was officially a total convert (a Heep Head?). I even went back and purchased the first two LPs. Eventually, I had every Heep record on vinyl from 1970-1982.However, times and tastes change. Lead vocalist David Byron was fired in 1976 and replaced by John Lawton. A couple years prior to that, Gary Thain -- one of the GREATEST bass players in the history of rock -- passed away. He was replaced by John Wetton (King Crimson), who was later replaced by Trevor Boulder (Spiders From Mars). With Byron and Thain gone, and soon there after Ken Hensley, the group's primary songwriter and keyboardist, leaving too, Uriah Heep no longer held its charm for me. The band lives on today with a couple of original members, and though I wish them all the luck in the world, it's not the same.This anthology summarizes Uriah Heep's first nine albums -- the David Byron years. It is these records that made Heep's reputation -- for good or ill -- and truly defined their sound. As a longtime fan of this era of the band's career, this anthology was the perfect solution for me to have some classic David Byron Uriah Heep in my collection without having to go out and re-buy the first nine albums in CD form. That would be costly.The collection is somewhat lopsided toward the band's first few albums and, for my taste, maybe there's a little too much here from "Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble" and "Salisbury." While songs like "Gypsy" and "Lady In Black" are requisite inclusions, I could have lived without "I'll Keep On Trying," "Bird of Prey," or "The Park." Not these are bad songs... no, no, no. It's simply that these songs are included at the expense of others later in the band's career.For example, "Stealin'" and "Sweet Freedom" are included from "Sweet Freedom," but it would have been nice to also have the epic "Pilgrim" from that release. The album "Wonderworld" -- a personal favorite -- is somewhat under-represented here. Thank goodness, the title track is included. Unfortunately, the only other "Wonderworld" track here is "The Easy Road," a somewhat overly maudlin piano ballad that pales dramatically when compared to "Rain" from "The Magician's Birthday." The best tracks from the "Wonderworld" LP are missing: "So Tired," "I Won't Mind," and "Suicidal Man." (I'm going to have to buy "Wonderworld" now!)One the positive side, only the title track from "Return To Fantasy" is included here. It's just an okay song, but definitely the best from that album. Even Hensley admits as much in the liner notes. The band hadn't quite recovered from the death of Gary Thain while recording this. Consequently, "Return to Fantasy" is a cloying hodgepodge of experiments gone terribly wrong.Also on the positive side is the inclusion of two tunes from the vastly underrated "High and Mighty" -- Byron's last album as a Heepster. Representing this lost gem are the elegant "Footprints in the Snow," with Byron never sounding better, and "Weep In Silence," which spotlights some of the finest guitar work Mick Box has ever put on tape. He shreds on this track, folks. Check it.Of course, just about everything from "Demons" and "Magician's" is included here -- as it should be. Those albums defined the band and brought them their American audience. I also almost consider those two to be one big record -- they were similar in theme (good using love to triumph over evil) and released very close to one another. Both share very cool Roger Dean artwork on their covers.One thing about the critics -- both professional and amateur: They've never liked Uriah Heep. No wait. That's an understatement. They HATED Uriah Heep. I've read reviews over the years that said things like "Makes a good Frisbee," or "I want to poke out my eyes and stick my fingers into my brain so I don't have to listen to any more Uriah Heep." One review of "Wonderworld" (in Circus magazine) simply said, "The more you listen, the more you wonder."Well, to each his own and if you don't "get it" then you don't "get it." Fine with me. But I never understood the vitriol with which this band is smeared. Even a couple of the reviews here are just downright mean and nasty. You know darn well these particular reviewers never bought this anthology. (Again, why would one buy a greatest hits package from a band you a) never heard of or b) already hated?) Nope, they just wanted an opportunity to take another cheap shot at the Heep. Kind of sad, really.Anyway... if you were a fan of the classic days of Uriah Heep, this is a great, great anthology. Like me, you should have a ball spending hours listening to these great, thundering ol' tunes and leafing through Ken Hensley's interesting, insightful liner notes. Buy it and "let the party carry on!""
Great music from a great band!
Robert Dumas | 09/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"They are the greatest under rated band around. They had so many great songs, yet two only made it to the radio in the 70's which were Easy Livin and Sunrise. Ken Hensly is an awesome keyboard player and great vocals. My favorite songs in order are: 1)Easy Livin 2)Lady in Black 3)The Park 4)all the rest! A must buy album for rock n roll!"
Finally A Good Anthology
J. E FELL | Carterville, Illinois United States | 04/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The title of this cd could be the David Byron Years Anthology 1969-76. The late David Byron was the lead singer of Uriah Heep until 1977 when he was replaced by John Lawton of Lucifer's Friend. This band has been knocked by critics throughout their career but the music on this anthology is good. It is progressive rock somewhat similar to Deep Purple. The lynch pins of the band during this period aside from Byron were keyboardist/guitarist Kenny Hensley who later joined Blackfoot and guitarist Mick Box. This 2 cd anthology contains all the tracks which were on the old lp "The Best of Uriah Heep" However this remastered 2 cd anthology contains many other album favorites from this period such as "Traveller In Time", "Circle Of Hands", "Rainbow Demon", "Blind Eye" and "The Magicians Birthday". Among the interesting cuts included is the non-lp single b-side "Why". This anthology contains their two biggest hits to this point "Easy Livin'" and "Stealin'". Concentrating on their "classic" period when the band also contained the late Gary Thain on bass and Lee Kerslake later of the Ozzy Osbourne Band on drums is a plus. This line-up produced their best albums. Fans of great organ and keyboard playing will especially enjoy this set. Kenny Hensley is an underrated keyboardist and songwriter. Just listen to "July Morning" or "Sunrise" among others to hear him at his peak. The last part of the second disc features the band after John Wetton was added on bass. The sound is excellent and the song selection is lot better than the skimpy "Best Of" album. However I might have chosen a few tracks such as "Seven Stars", "Something Or Nothing" , "So Tired" or "I Won't Mind" which were featured in their live sets instead of some of cuts from their earliest period or the later albums with John Wetton. All in all though this is a great introduction for the budget minded to a classic progressive hard rock band."