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High & Mighty

Reissue Liner Notes

High And Mighty was Uriah Heep's ninth studio album. Released in May 1976, it was the second of two albums to include bassist John Wetton in the band. John Wetton had previously played in Family, King Crimson and Roxy Music. He was later to gain mega fame and fortune in one of the biggest grossing acts of the eighties, Asia.

By 1975, Uriah Heep were big business for the Bronze Records empire. The band had headlined all over the world, attained incredible album sales and were viewed as one of the premier rock acts of the day. The public loved them and the press as always vilified them. The band, however, had more than their share of bad luck and misfortune. Gary Thain had recently been replaced by John Wetton and in the aftermath of his firing, subsequently died as a result of drug abuse. Sadly, he died just after the release of Return To Fantasy, the first album he had not participated on since he joined in 1972. Gary's departure from the band was prompted by his substance abuse and consequent ill health, however, he was not the only one on whom the playground of alcohol and drugs was having an effect. David Byron, known to have a few drinks to calm the nerves before shows, was, by the time High And Mighty was recorded, becoming a problem to the normal operation of the band through his overuse of alcohol. Return To Fantasy had been a huge success (the biggest selling album to date in the UK) and the band were keen to follow up the release with new product. Recording took place at The Roundhouse studio (the new Bron recording home) in the summer of 1976, and for the first time since they had been together, they did not involve Gerry Bron as producer. For better or for worse, the album was quite different from anything they had tried before. Essentially it was a nice but rather lightweight album for Heep. The band went out on tour to promote the new product, taking in the USA. It was here that big problems began to surface within the band. David Byron was getting out of control at some of the concerts, and it was having an adverse effect on the band, to say the least. A decision was made to fire the lead singer in summer 1976. With the band down to four members after losing what many people considered to be an irreplaceable frontman, the future of the band was in a precarious state. Wetton left promptly. Now down to a nucleus of Mick Box, Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake, the band had some serious decisions to make. Common sense (for the fans anyway prevailed, and moves were made to recruit a new lead singer and bass player. The 'band of bands' had definitely reached the end of an era. In 1976 it really did look as if the mighty had fallen. As we now know, the band made an incredible resurrection, but that part of the story will have to wait...

© Robert M. Corich

Bonus Tracks

Name Of The Game - Previously unreleased version, originally recorded during the High And Mighty sessions. This version never made the album, which was a pity because it was better than much of the material that did end up on the record. The song did make its release debut on the Ken Hensley solo release From Time To Time (Red Steel - RMCCD0195) in 1994. The version included here, unlike the solo release which was recorded in 1979-80, features the complete band. This version was mixed in November 1995 and re-mastered in July 1996.

Sundown - Previously unreleased song from the High And Mighty sessions. A quirky good fun number. A rough mix was done from the tapes we found, and it then sat "pending" a suitable project. This version was mixed in November 1995 and re-mastered in July 1996.

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