David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 174: Uriah Heep (Rock 'n Roll Medley)

August 13, 2022

At some point in the mid 1970s, I traded for a live Uriah Heep album. For those who know me, you must assume that has been my deepest, darkest secret.

Honestly, my memory of the exchange fizzles with the fuzziness of many memories. I might have traded for it with Arsenio, a classmate with whom I shared some musical interests, or maybe a kid named Gary, last name long forgotten, with whom I hung out once or twice in Junior High.

I have less memory of what I traded. Part of me thinks it might have been Queen II, as if I had somehow ended up with two copies. That seems unlikely. As my least favorite Queen album, I might have traded my only copy of it, but all these years later, I have a copy sitting in storage.

I am clueless as to why I wanted it. I knew very little Uriah Heep, barely recognizing the Dickensian character referenced with their name.

The album, boringly entitled Uriah Heep Live, was just a black cover with "Bronze Records and Peter Bowyer Present Uriah Heep Live January 1973" stenciled across it. Certainly I wasn't judging this album by its cover. (I am not sure Bowyer ever achieves this level of fame again, either.)

The only Heep song I might have known at the time was "Easy Livin'" settled nicely as the fourth and last song of Side One. Problem was, I didn't have Side One. I must not have figured it out until I got home post-trade, but while there were albums in both of the cover sleeves (it was a double album), only the disc with Side 3 and 4 was Uriah Heep Live.

For the life of me, I wish I could remember what album was in the other sleeve. There's a part of me that thinks it was a Kiss album, but that is probably because Gary-What's-His-Name was a big Kiss fan. Since I never sought out my trading partner to get the actual Side One, I find it hard to believe Gary wouldn't have reached out to me if it was a Kiss album. The only other album that rattles around in this aging brain is Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds, but that is 1978 and well past these two likely trading scenarios.

For the record, pun intended, I don't even have the record anymore. When I moved from Grand Rapids to Edwardsburg, a box of albums never made it. I didn't even notice right away because I no longer had a stereo system on which to play them; it also meant I didn't shed many tears.

In the end, I only remember the second half of Side 4 much, the 8+ midnight closer (or probably more likely encore) "Rock 'n Roll Medley," Byron, Box and the boys blowing through standards I knew well:

  • Roll Over Beethoven
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • Mean Woman Blues
  • Hound Dog
  • At The Hop
  • Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

I was still a little too young to realize the ubiquity of the medley for live shows. However, those 8 minutes still provided the histrionic guitars and swooping organs that made the burgeoning teen feel like he was at a live show. I doubt I had even attended my first rock concert yet. If this happened in 1975, my album collection may have barely totaled 30-40. Maybe that is why I made the trade, longing for some kind of live music experience.

When I started this 365 artists' series, I knew I would have to "reach" for some artists. Even now, as I keep an on-going list of potential artists, it doesn't come to 365 total. I have trusted I would discover some song from some artist not considered that needed a story to be told. Who would have thought I would go with The Archies (Day 130) or Cher (Day 128)? Not to sound callous, but I may never listen to Uriah Heep again, but for a few days, it was fun to listen to this medley and remember Arsenio and Gary, as well as that youthful exuberance towards music. After all, what else are old men supposed to do?

Uriah Heep. "Rock 'n' Roll Medley." Uriah Heep Live. Mercury, 1973. Link here.

Day 173: The Swimming Pool Q's "Some New Highway"

Day 175: 63 Eyes "Never Alone"

See complete list here.