Gary Thain

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Gary Thain
Birth nameGary Mervin Thain
Born(1948-05-15)15 May 1948
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died8 December 1975(1975-12-08) (aged 27)
Norwood Green, London, UK
Years active1963–1975

Gary Mervin Thain (15 May 1948, in Christchurch, New Zealand – 8 December 1975, in London, United Kingdom) was a New Zealand rock bassist, best known for his work with British band Uriah Heep.


Thain was born in Christchurch. He had two older brothers, Colin and Arthur. He recorded in Christchurch in the band "The Strangers" (not to be confused with the Australian band of the same name).[1] He moved to Australia at the age of 17. It was there he became a member of the band "The Secrets", which eventually dissolved in 1966.[2] Later, Thain was part of the rock trio The New Nadir, and with the drummer Peter Dawkins, he traveled from New Zealand to London, and once jammed with Jimi Hendrix before the trio split in 1969.

Thain joined the Keef Hartley Band, performing at Woodstock in 1969 and, in 1971, they toured with Uriah Heep; Uriah Heep asked him to join the band (replacing Mark Clarke) in February 1972. He stayed in the Uriah Heep until February 1975, playing on four studio albums: Demons & Wizards, The Magician's Birthday, Sweet Freedom and Wonderworld as well as a live album, Uriah Heep Live.

During his last tour in the United States with Uriah Heep, Thain suffered an electric shock at the Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas, on 15 September 1974, and was seriously injured.[3] Due to his drug addiction he was not able to perform properly, and was fired by the band in early 1975 and replaced by former King Crimson bassist/vocalist, John Wetton. Thain died of respiratory failure due to a heroin overdose, on 8 December 1975, aged 27,[4] at his flat in Norwood Green in London.[2]

Thain, amongst musicians of his time, was considered an excellent bass player. His style of playing was melodic and progressively played compared to other bass players of his time. He rarely played along with the root of the measures, but preferred playing his own jazz, funk, or progressive bass line. Many typical professional rock bass players never attained his ability to break up a songs direction.

Albums discography[edit]

Champion Jack Dupree[edit]

  • Scoobydoobydoo (1969)

Martha Velez[edit]

  • Fiends and Angels (1970)

Keef Hartley Band[edit]

Miller Anderson[edit]

  • Bright City (1971)

Pete York Percussion Band[edit]

  • The Pete York Percussion Band (1972)

Uriah Heep[edit]

Ken Hensley[edit]

Me and the Others / The New Nadir[edit]

  • Uncovered (2009)

Singles discography[edit]

The Strangers[edit]

  • 1963: "My Blue Heaven"/"The Dark at the Top of The Stairs"
  • 1964: "Pretend"/"Alright"
  • 1965: "Can't Help Forgiving You"/"I'll Never Be Blue"

The Secrets[edit]

  • 1965: "It's You"/"You're Wrong"
  • 1966: "Me and the Others"/"Love Is Not a Game"

Champion Jack Dupree[edit]

Martha Velez[edit]

  • 1969: "Tell Mama"/"Swamp Man"

Keef Hartley Band[edit]

  • 1969: "Don't Be Afraid"/"Hickory"
  • 1969: "Halfbreed"/"Waiting Around"
  • 1969: "Just to Cry"/"Leave It 'Til The Morning"
  • 1969: "Plain Talkin'"/"We Are All the Same"
  • 1970: "Roundabout"/"Roundabout pt 2"
  • 1973: "Dance to the Music"/"You and Me"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gary Thain – Dave Chapman". Archived from the original on 2 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Biography". Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  3. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 268. CN 5585.
  4. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 283. CN 5585.

External links[edit]