Head First was the follow up LP to the highly successful Abominog album of 1982. It was also the fifteenth studio album to arise from the Heep recording factory. Again recorded at Gerry Bron's Roundhouse Studios, the album was in a similar mold to Abominog. This winning formula again proved to be to the liking of the press with the once hostile reviewers giving almost top marks. Membership changes were afoot though. Bob Daisley was tempted back to Ozzy Osbourne's band leaving the way open for Trevor Bolder to rejoin. Because of the return of Bolder the impact of Daisley's departure was minimal.
As the album started to sell, Bronze released a single to accompany the album. They had chosen Lonely Nights written by Bryan Adams, who had just had a minor hit himself with the track in the USA and Canada. The band deemed this yet another Bronze blunder. The band were known to favor The Other Side Of Midnight as a single - it was already in the live set and they felt it was a perfect indication of where they were musically. Once again the band's preferences were ignored.
Stay On Top was chosen as the second single. This single and its corresponding video attained moderate airplay. Stay On Top was one of the best stabs at commerciality the band had ever attempted as its A-side. The flip side was a non-album track called Playing For Time, a powerful keyboard and guitar based track that the album could well have benefited from if it had been included. The double EP released soon afterwards was a variation on the Playing For Time single that incorporated another sliver of vinyl containing Gypsy, Easy Livin', Sweet Lorraine and Stealin'. All this was packed in a mini double gatefold sleeve. A 12" of the same material was planned for general release but by 1983 the Bronze Record empire was starting to crumble. The 12" never ended up on the shelves.
As the band toured the world promoting the new album, big trouble was brewing back home at Bronze Records. Bronze Records collapsed in a web of debts and mismanagement problems, with much of the failure being attributed to the collapse of Gerry Bron's airline, Executive Express.
Head First was a good album but because of the problems with their label the band found it impossible to capitalize on any success the album should have had. The main reason for its failure was probably due to the total lack of promotion while out on the road. Bronze Records was put into bankruptcy and the band for the first time in their recording career were out in the cold. They found themselves looking for record deals elsewhere within months. The band were to sign with the CBS Portrait label for the next album. Named Equator, this album and several other recorded tracks have remained unissued on CD to date. Watch this space!
© 1991, 1997 Robert M. Corich
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Content Copyright © 1997 Jay Pearson
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