Uriah Heep Is Involved In a Big Trouble With The…

Despite a variety of undermining forces, Uriah Heep succeeded in establishing themselves among the elite hard rock bands of the 1970s.

All these years later, it’s hard to appreciate that they were a vital part of a British invasion that had been spearheaded by Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

Open hostility from the press was no problem, and tens of thousands of fans regularly flocked to see them wherever and whenever they played. Nevertheless, a number of internal complications were exerting themselves upon the band by 1974.

Among these were friction with Gerry Bron, the founder of Bronze Records and the band’s producer, plus a growing rivalry between vocalist David Byron and keyboard player/guitarist Ken Hensley.

“David was difficult at the best of times,” said Bron. “He was always creating these impossible situations, but Ken was no angel either. Those facts were more apparent than ever on the Wonderworld album.”

To make matters worse, Ken was still the group’s principal songwriter and, as always, Heep were relying on him to deliver another killer album.

The strain of the troublesome Wonderworld sessions was to prove almost too much for David, Ken and even for the eternal trooper, guitarist Mick Box.

“It was a bloody nightmare,” recalled Mick with a wistful shake of the head. “Ken spent most of the time in his room crying and David was just on this unbelievable bender. Trying to hold it all together was almost impossible.”

“Our strength at the time was that we could make anything sound great,” stressed the guitarist. “Ken could bring in a bareboned idea on acoustic guitar, we’d give it the Heep treatment and it’d take on a life of its own. We felt indestructible. We still say it: give us a stage to perform on and nobody can beat us.”

But Box had also noticed that Byron’s ego was becoming out of control. He says: “While the rest of us were in it for the ride, [the fame] started getting to David a bit.

And the cracks began to show. Management only listened to one person, which was Ken Hensley, and David felt upset by that.”

Considering, Wonderworld emerged as a reasonable effort. It may have lacked the strength of its predecessor Sweet Freedom, but it certainly remained very much in the Heep mould.

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