Saturday, January 14, 2012

Uriah Heep: Stealin'

I don’t know what caused me to think about this song yesterday, but for some reason the line “but my life . . . life, life, life, life, life, life, life, life” came to my sick little mind. Our today’s Bubbling Under hit comes from the English hard rock band Uriah Heep and their 1973 single release “Stealin’.” From the band’s seventh album “Sweet Freedom,” “Stealin’” was penned by the band’s keyboardist Ken Hensley and features David Byron on vocals. The song starts with a simple beat by Gary Thain on bass guitar.

The album was the third highest charting LP for the band in the US charting at 33. Higher charting albums included the two previous studio albums: “Demons and Wizards” at 23 and “The Magician’s Birthday.” Both higher charting LPs had covers designed by artist Roger Dean who also did numerous covers for Yes, Greenslade, Budgie, Osibisa, and others.

“Sweet Freedom’s” use of a photo of the band did not seemingly affect sales by not using Dean as the creative designer. The album was certified gold in mid 1974. It was the first album by the band on Warner Brothers in the US as they had previously signed with Mercury in North America.

Their only single to make it (barely) to the Top 40 was “Easy Livin’,” which charted at 39. “Stealin’” was truly a bubbling under hit, as it did receive a modicum of album rock airplay, but the single crash landed at 91 on the Hot 100 charts.

Live Version from 1973

Here’s a live version of the song. It appears that in two spots Dave Byron forgets or changes the lyrics. At one point, he misses the line “wine and women” and later leaves off the majority of the repeats of the word “life.” It is not Byron’s best performance as he is flat numerous times in this video. This goes to show that many bands are better in the studio than they are live; however, there are also exceptions.

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