The Magician's Birthday

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The Magician's Birthday
Studio album by Uriah Heep
Released November, 1972
Recorded September–October 1972 at Lansdowne Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal
Length 37:10
Label Bronze (UK)
Mercury (USA)
Producer Gerry Bron
Uriah Heep chronology
Demons and Wizards
The Magician's Birthday
Sweet Freedom
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B−[2]

The Magician's Birthday is the fifth album released by British rock band Uriah Heep. The story line is "based loosely on a short story" written by Ken Hensley in June and July 1972.[3]

Even though it was recorded mere months after the preceding Demons and Wizards, the album features a notably different sound than the band's previous albums, with the aggressive hard rock toned down in favor of a cleaner appearance with more progressive elements, something which had only been hinted previously. This change in sound would define Uriah Heep's following outputs for roughly a decade.

The original vinyl release was a gatefold sleeve, the front of which was designed by Roger Dean. The innerfold had pictures of the band, with the LP itself housed in a liner on which were printed the lyrics.

Two songs charted in the United States, "Blind Eye" (#97) and "Sweet Lorraine" (#91). "Spider Woman" reached #13 in Germany. The title track is notable for an extended kazoo improvisation on the melody to "Happy Birthday to You".

The Magician's Birthday was certified Gold by the RIAA on 22 January 1973.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

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

Side 1
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sunrise"     4:04
2. "Spider Woman"   Mick Box, David Byron, Lee Kerslake, Gary Thain 2:25
3. "Blind Eye"     3:33
4. "Echoes in the Dark"     4:48
5. "Rain"     3:59
Side 2
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Sweet Lorraine"   Box, Byron, Thain 4:13
7. "Tales"     4:09
8. "The Magician's Birthday"   Box, Hensley, Kerslake 10:21

The 2004 remastered version by Castle (UK) as CMRCD771, adds nine previously unreleased bonus tracks:

2004 Bonus Tracks
No. Title Length
9. "Crystal Ball" (Out-take) 4:08
10. "Silver White Man" (Vocal Out-take Version) 3:40
11. "Proud Words On a Dusty Shelf" (Alternate Version) 3:24
12. "Echoes in the Dark" (Single Edit) 4:23
13. "Rain" (Single Edit) 3:16
14. "Happy Birthday" (The Magician's Birthday Single Edit) 4:44
15. "Sunrise" (Single Edit) 2:49
16. "Gary's Song" (Crystal Ball alternate version) 4:25
17. "Silver White Man" (Instrumental Out-take) 3:43


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[4] Gold 500,000^
Worldwide sales: 2,500,000

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart performance[edit]

Country (1972) Peak
Norway 5
Australia 10
Finland 1
United States 31
United Kingdom 28


Additional personnel


  • Produced By Gerry Bron
  • Engineered By Peter Gallen
  • Assistant Engineer: Ashley Howe

The 2004 Remastered version by Castle (UK) as CMRCD771, team:


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ The Magician's Birthday liner notes
  4. ^ "American album certifications – Uriah Heep – The Magician's Birthday". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH