Lionheart (band)

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Lionheart (UK)
Origin London, Great Britain
Genres Hard Rock
Heavy metal
Years active 1980–1986
Labels CBS Records
Pony Canyon
Associated acts Tygers of Pan Tang, Iron Maiden, Liar, The Next Band, Wildfire, Def Leppard, Lautrec, Wild Horses, Stampede, Tytan, Grand Prix, Stratus, Airrace
Past members Dennis Stratton
Steve Mann
Rocky Newton
Frank Noon
Jess Cox
Reuben Archer
Les Binks
Clive Edwards
Chad Brown
Andy Beirne
Phil Lanzon
Keith Murrell

Lionheart was a British hard rock band formed in late 1980, originally featuring singer Jess Cox (ex-Tygers of Pan Tang), guitarist Dennis Stratton (ex-Iron Maiden), guitarist Steve Mann (ex-Liar), bassist/vocalist Rocky Newton (ex-The Next Band, Wildfire), and drummer Frank Noon (ex-The Next Band, Def Leppard).

History[edit]

Lionheart made their debut one Saturday night at the Marquee Club in London but suffered from bad press thanks to criticism of Cox. This led to the cancellation of the next two appearances and saw Cox replaced by former Lautrec frontman, Reuben Archer. Former Judas Priest drummer Les Binks replaced the Wild Horses-bound Noon for the 1981 UK tour with Def Leppard with former Wild Horses drummer Clive Edwards eventually replacing Binks. Archer, too, would briefly spend time in Wild Horses before forming Stampede with his step son, guitarist Laurence Archer, Noon, and bassist Colin Bond.

The song "Lionheart", recorded by Reuben Archer, Dennis Stratton, Steve Mann, Rocky Newton, and Frank Noon would belatedly surface on the Heavy Metal Heroes Vol. 2 (Heavy Metal Records) compilation in 1982. Said track remains the only representative recording of the band's early sound as they would change their style significantly later on.

A demo recorded by the core of Stratton, Mann, and Newton landed Lionheart a deal with the American branch of CBS Records in 1984. Enlisting new vocalist Chad Brown and securing the studio services of Leo Sayer band drummer Bob Jenkins, the band proceeded to record their debut album, Hot Tonight, with record producer Kevin Beamish (REO Speedwagon, Starship) in Los Angeles, California. This was a slick AOR-styled effort that failed to capture the old fans' interest or that of their target audience in the United States.

In 1985 the band continued with former Grand Prix members, drummer Andy Bierne and keyboardist Phil Lanzon, appearing on Channel 4's popular ECT program. Lanzon eventually left to join the reformed Sweet (and later Uriah Heep), while Brown gave way to new vocalist Keith Murrell (ex-Airrace).

Failing to make any headway, Lionheart split up in 1986, with Bierne going into management, Murrell fronting Irish rockers, Mama's Boys, and Newton and Mann joining the McAuley Schenker Group. Dennis Stratton later found fame in Japan as part of an all-star Praying Mantis touring line-up alongside former Iron Maiden band mate Paul Di'Anno.

Steve Mann would sign on with Sweet as the guitarist/keyboardist in late 1989, ironically replacing his former Lionheart band mate Lanzon. Mann stayed on into the mid 1990s when he was invited by Frank Bornemann, owner of Horus Sound Studio in Hannover, Germany to play guitar and some keyboards for his band Eloy, completing a line-up that consisted of Klaus-Peter Matziol on bass, Michael Gerlach on keyboards, and Bodo Schopf (ex-McAuley Schenker Group, Sweet) on drums. Mann guested on both The Tides Return Forever and Ocean 2: The Answer and also took part in a tour of Germany.

Unearthed - Raiders of the Lost Archives, a 30-song collection of Lionheart demos, was issued in 1999 by Pony Canyon in Japan.

Discography[edit]

  • Hot Tonight (1984)
  • Unearthed - Raiders of the Lost Archives (1999)

External links[edit]