BMG are rightfully spending a lot of time celebrating fifty years of Uriah Heep, one of the UK’s most enduring and revered rock bands. Forty million albums sold so far and still producing high-quality new output, there is much more to come from the current lineup.
Uriah Heep – Wonderworld – High And Mighty (BMG)
Release Date: 26 May 2023
Words: Ian Sutherland
This series of picture disc releases celebrate their legacy, though, and we have reached the mid-seventies with Wonderworld and High And Mighty.
1974’s Wonderworld is their seventh studio release and the last album to feature much-missed bass player Gary Thain, while High And Mighty was their ninth and came out in 1976. The latter is, of course, the final appearance on a UH album by also much missed original singer David Byron.
When people think of Heep’s seventies catalogue, it’s the likes of The Magician’s Birthday or Demons And Wizards that usually come to mind. The earlier albums are full of classic tunes, which still regularly appear in live sets, while the later Byron-era output tends to get overlooked.
That’s a shame, as there’s some really good stuff on these albums. So Tired from Wonderworld has all the classic elements in place, the organ, guitar and harmonies working together to make something really memorable. The toe-tapping Something For Nothing seductively slides its way into your memory while I Won’t Mind lets Thain’s evocative playing take the lead in a sparse yet intense tune.
High And Mighty is from a troubled period in the group’s history and weirdly opens with a John Wetton lead vocal on One Way Or Another. It’s a really good song, though, and the next track, Weep In Silence, is even better, a massively underrated slice of Byron balladry.
Other tunes like Midnight, Can’t Keep A Good Band Down, and Footprints In The Snow all make this album worth revisiting.
The picture disc style of these releases is all about what the collectors are looking for, and while the actual packaging is very simple, all the artwork has been retouched. Wonderworld has only been available in a box set previously, while High And Mighty has never been available in this format before.
Whether you want to have something to display or need a reason to look back at a legendary band’s legacy, these releases are worthy of your attention.
To pre-order, visit https://uriahheep.lnk.to/WandHAMPR.