Demons and Wizards (Uriah Heep album)

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For the Demons and Wizards album, see Demons and Wizards (Demons and Wizards album).
Demons and Wizards
Studio album by Uriah Heep
Released 19 May 1972
Recorded March–April 1972 at Lansdowne Studios, London
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock
Length 39:40
Label Bronze (UK)
Mercury (USA)
Producer Gerry Bron
Uriah Heep chronology
Look at Yourself
(1971)
Demons and Wizards
(1972)
The Magician's Birthday
(1972)
Singles from Demons and Wizards
  1. "The Wizard"
  2. "Easy Livin'"

Demons and Wizards is the fourth album released by British rock band Uriah Heep. The album helped the band break to fame and also gave the band its face. It has become a major success worldwide by selling 3 million copies.

Production[edit]

The original vinyl release was a gatefold sleeve, the front of which was designed by Roger Dean and contains a hidden erotic image of male and female genitalia. The inner of the gatefold had pictures of the band and notes by Ken Hensley, whilst the LP itself was housed in a liner on which were printed the lyrics.

The songs "The Wizard" and "Easy Livin'" were released as singles in the United Kingdom and North America, as well as many other markets. "Easy Livin'" entered the US Top 40 at No. 39, making it Heep's first and only American hit. "Easy Livin'" was also a mega hit in the Netherlands and Germany, countries which were becoming a strong market for the band. It reached a disappointing No. 75 in Australia.[1]

New Zealander Gary Thain, a then member of Keef Hartley band, joined Uriah Heep as a permanent member halfway through another American tour. "Gary just had a style about him, it was incredible because every bass player in the world that I've ever known has always loved his style, with those melodic bass lines", Box commented later. Thus the 'classic' Uriah Heep was formed and, according to biographer K. Blows, "everything just clicked into place".

Also, the addition of Lee Kerslake (a former bandmate of Hensley's in "The Gods" and "Toe Fat") on drums solidified the rhythm section into a world class powerhouse.

The result of this newly found chemistry was the Demons and Wizards album which in June 1972 reached No. 20 in the UK and No. 23 in the USA. In Finland the album hit No. 1 position in May and remained on top of the charts for 14 weeks. While the title of it and Roger Dean's sleeve both suggested that the band was romantically working medieval myth into their songs – and surely songs like "Rainbow Demon" and "The Wizard" (co-written by Mark Clarke, during his short stay) did have thematical links with fantasy world – more straightforward, hard-rocking approach was also obvious. To discard any possible insinuations concerning any kind of concept behind it, Hensley's note on the sleeve declared the album to be "just a collection of our songs that we had a good time recording". Both critics and the band's aficionados consider the album as 'definitive' and 'crowning achievement' which (according to AllMusic) "solidified Uriah Heep's reputation as a master of gothic-inflected heavy metal", Ken Hensley has remembered.

"The band was really focused at that time. We all wanted the same thing, were all willing to make the same sacrifices to achieve it and we were all very committed. It was the first album to feature that line-up and there was a magic in that combination of people that created so much energy and enthusiasm".

Two singles were released form the album: "The Wizard" and "Easy Livin'", the second (a defiant rocker, according to Blows, "tailor-made for Byron's extrovert showmanship") peaking at No. 39 in Billboard Hot 100.

Album review and songs[edit]

"The Wizard" was composed by Mark Clarke and Ken Hensley,[2] the album opening track is a ballad whose lyrics deal with a man wandering until he meets "the Wizard of a thousand kings". This could be a possible reference to the druid Merlin, to Gandalf, to an angel or even God. The song is the band's first single to have a music video.

"Traveller in Time" is very famous for its live performances and has been included to their live album "Uriah Heep Live" in 1973. The song was recorded and mixed at Lansdowne Studios in London from March to April 1972. The song is written in the key of E minor.[3]

"Easy Livin'" was the second and last single from the album. It was the band's only hit in the United States, peaking at No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1972.[4][5] The song's greatest success came in the Netherlands, where it reached No. 5 on the singles chart.[6] The single also peaked at No. 25 in Canada.[7] The song is a staple of Uriah Heep's live concerts and has been included in many of Uriah Heep's live albums. In 1988, the band released a live version of the song as a UK single from the album Live in Moscow, with new vocalist Bernie Shaw.[8]

The song is dynamic and fast, but Mick Box uses only five chords to play it, Dm, F, G, Am and Bm. The chords Dm, F and G are played in the intro, followed by three verses, three choruses and an outro.[9]

"Easy Livin'" did not reach their home country's singles charts, but was a big success in Germany where it took No. 15, Netherlands at No. 5, Scandinavia at No. 17, and France at No. 35. Along with "The Wizard" it helped the band gain visibility and popularity in many countries.

In 1995 Radiomafia added "Easy Livin'" in their list of "Top 500 Songs".[10]

"Poet's Justice" was recorded and mixed at Lansdowne Studios in London from March to April 1972.[11] The song was written in the key of E major.[12] It draws from the Led Zeppelin sound, but David Byron's deep vocal takes it out of Zeppelin territory and into Deep Purple or Aqualung-era Jethro Tull.[13]

"Circle of Hands" is the first ballad from the album. The song has been played in many of Uriah Heep's live concerts and it was also included on their first live album Uriah Heep Live in 1973. The song was recorded and mixed at Lansdowne Studios in London from March to April 1972.[11] The song's sound is influenced by the Yes song "Starship Trooper".[14]

"Rainbow Demon" is remarkably heavier than the previous ones, and is the heaviest song on the album. The song was recorded from March to April 1972 at Lansdowne studios in London and was released on the album in May 1972.[11] The song was written in the key of C minor.[15]

"All My Life" was written by David Byron, Mick Box and Lee Kerslake [16][17] and was recorded and mixed at Lansdowne Studios in London during March and April 1972.[11]

"Paradise/The Spell" were recorded and mixed at Lansdowne Studios in London from March to April 1972 and released on the album in May 1972.[11][11] "The Spell" is a continuation of "Paradise", the second acoustic entry on the album, written in the key of C major.[18]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[19]

The album is today regarded by many fans and critics alike as Uriah Heep's best album, often ranked against the preceding Look at Yourself. Even Rolling Stone, which printed an infamously negative review of the band's debut album, ran a positive assessment of Demons and Wizards. "These guys are good. The first side of Demons and Wizards is simply odds-on the finest high energy workout of the year, tying nose and nose with the Blue Öyster Cult," wrote Mike Saunders, who stated in conclusion, "they may have started out as a thoroughly dispensable neo-Cream & Blooze outfit, but at this point Uriah Heep are shaping up into one hell of a first-rate modern rock band."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ken Hensley except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Wizard"   Mark Clarke, Ken Hensley 2:59
2. "Traveller in Time"   Mick Box, David Byron, Lee Kerslake 3:25
3. "Easy Livin'"     2:37
4. "Poet's Justice"   Box, Hensley, Kerslake 4:15
5. "Circle of Hands"     6:25
6. "Rainbow Demon"     4:25
7. "All My Life"   Box, Byron, Kerslake 2:44
8. "Paradise"     5:10
9. "The Spell"     7:32

Demons and Wizards was remastered and reissued in 1996 with four bonus tracks:

1996 Bonus Tracks
No. Title Length
10. "Why" (Original B-side single version.) 4:53
11. "Why" (Long version recorded during the Demons and Wizards sessions early 1972.) 7:39
12. "Home Again to You" (A demo recorded during the Demons and Wizards sessions.) 5:28
2003 Bonus Tracks
No. Title Length
10. "Why" (Extended Version) 10:34
11. "Rainbow Demon" (Single Edit) 3:36
12. "Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf"   2:52
13. "Home Again to You" (Demo version) 5:36
14. "Green Eye" (Demo version) 3:46

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 500,000^
Worldwide sales: 3,000,000

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart performance[edit]

Country (1972) Peak
position
Norway 5
Australia 14
Italy 12
The Netherlands 5
Finland 1
United States 23
United Kingdom 20

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]