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Album Notes

By the time Uriah Heep's previous album Head First was released, long time manager, producer and Bronze Records boss Gerry Bron had relinquished management of the band. Agent Neil Warncock was now looking after them in Europe, with Blue Oyster Cult's management team of Sandy Pearlman and Steve Schenck handling affairs in the US. Ashley Howe had produced both the last two albums leaving just Bronze Records as the link between Heep and their former Godfather. Ultimately, even that liaison was to finish, with Bronze being crippled by massive debts. The company finally went into liquidation in June 1983, severing a relationship that had lasted more than thirteen years and a collapse that "cost Heep a lot of money" according to Box.

It was from this point in time that Heep started to put some serious miles on the clock in terms of heavy duty touring. And not content with the usual established markets, now they started to expand their horizons by visiting such obscure territories (in terms of heavy metal) as India, Malaysia and Indonesia. The ensuing period saw Heep adopt the role of global warriors, even venturing into the Eastern Bloc in early '84 before hitting the recording studio for the recording of Equator, Heep's sixteenth studio album.

This was a sad period for Heep, however, as original lead vocalist David Byron died in early 1985 due to alcoholism. Pete Goalby would dedicate The Wizard to David in the band's live set.

New manager Harry Maloney had lined up a worldwide deal with CBS's Portrait label, and on paper it could not have looked any rosier. This time producer Tony Platt was brought in, though on reflection, it's probably fair to say that Platt's unique style of production was not quite suitable for Heep. Equator is certainly not a bad album; on the contrary songs such as Poor Little Rich Girl and Heartache City have strength of character while Rockarama, though sounding a little deliberate, proved Heep could still rock out. All in all it was a solid piece of product that had the potential to do extremely well. An extensive UK tour was planned to coincide with the release, their first full UK tour since the one with the Sloman/Dechert line up in late 1980. CBS, however, failed to put in the required promotion work for the album. The band remembered arriving in Australia to do something like 36 shows in 40 days and the local CBS reps didn't even know there was an album out!

The band's relentless touring schedule, however, began to take its toll, particularly on Pete Goalby, whose voice was suffering. Goalby's voice finally went while in the middle of an Australian tour and so, somewhat disillusioned by the apparent lack of support from CBS, the endless touring and having so little time to write, Goalby made his decision to say au revoir. Goalby's departure was followed soon by that of John Sinclair, who along with Pete had enjoyed a big say in Heep's writing for the previous three albums, electing to join Ozzy Osbourne. These departures, however, would lead directly to the most stable period in Heep's history beginning with the band's next album, Live In Moscow.

Note: most of the above notes come were written by Kirk Blows, the author of the booklet which accompanies the 1990 3 CD anthology Two Decades In Rock. Additional material by Robert M. Corich and Jay Pearson.

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