Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Uriah Heep - Head First

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Head First, the fifteenth studio album from English rock band Uriah Heep. The album peaked at number 150 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 56 in Germany, number 46 in the UK, and number 19 n Norway.

The band’s line-up for this album was Mick Box (guitar and vocals), Bob Daisley (bass), Peter Goalby (lead vocals), Lee Kerslake (drums and percussion) and John Sinclair (keyboards, synthesizer, guitar and vocals).

Side one opens on “The Other Side of Midnight”, a hard rocker that promises a fulfilling late night sexual encounter. The opening music and style instantly made me think of Foreigner for some reason.

“Stay on Top”, the second single, went to number 76 on the UK charts. The bass line has a funk flavor to it while the song’s message is a highly motivated one of striving to be the best.

The first single “Lonely Nights” peaked at number 85 on the UK charts. This lighter, pop song is a cover of the opening track from Bryan Adams’ 1981 album You Want It You Got It.

“Sweet Talk” opens with a telephone’s ring tone and leads into a long distance conversation from an obsessed fan. The urgency of the music underscores the whole stalker-vibe.

“Love Is Blind” closes out the side with a standard musical sentiment regarding some relationships.

Side two begins with the sweeping majesty of the instrumental “Roll-Overture”. It tends to stop rather abruptly though.

“Red Lights” roars out of the gate with a ton of energy and power.

“Rollin’ the Rock” opens with a hushed, reverent tone. A slow throbbing drumbeat in the background, like a heartbeat, and the synth-strings further set the tone before the song explodes on the chorus. I got a whole Def Leppard feel from it.

The heartbeat drum beat carries over to the next track as well. “Straight Through the Heart” is a song about betrayal and emotional devastation.

“Weekend Warriors”, the final track, was the B-side to the first single. I like the driving rhythm of this one about guys who race their vehicles on their days off.

The CD release of the album from 2005 includes five bonus tracks, including live versions of a couple of the original vinyl tracks.

I cannot recall for sure how much of Head First I heard back during 1983. If I did, it likely would have been on an album-oriented rock station. Even so, I likely would not have been able to identify the songs as belonging to the Uriah Heep catalog. That’s how much off my radar this record was.

Listening to this one via Spotify three decades later, I certainly enjoyed it. The songs sound a lot like the arena rock bands of that time that I liked. This is definitely one I am going to add to my list of to-download albums in the near future.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Thanks for mentioning this album is on Spotify - I'm definitely going to check it out. I've been listening to a lot of my favorite older Metal lately...

The music of Uriah Heep was unknown to me until 1983 when I saw them open concerts for both Def Leppard and Judas Priest in a four week period. As I was there for the headliners, I remember little about the Heep except a wailing organ solo. Don't know what song it was but during my quest to find out, I discovered their track "Easy Livin'" which was promptly added to my library. It always reminds me of Deep Purple, another favorite.