If 1972 had proved a landmark year for Uriah Heep in the escalation of the band's appeal, then 1973 was to prove a landmark year for profits both from touring and in album sales. Uriah Heep had recorded and released two very successful studio albums in the space of twelve months during the previous year and, with the fast increasing repertoire from a total of five studio albums in the space of three years, it was obvious that Bronze Records should want to capitalise fully on the band's rapidly increasing popularity. With the five band members working flat out on an extensive touring schedule, it would not have been possible to start recording another studio album until the summer of 1973. For maximum commercial capitalisation, Gerry Bron recommended a live album be drawn from concerts scheduled for the latter part of 1972 and early 1973. Several English concerts were taped using a mobile studio in early 1973 (with the exception of the album masters, none of the other concert recordings appear to have survived from this period, the original masters being wiped and the tapes re-used long ago). Compiling the album from recordings of a concert in Birmingham, England in January of 1973, Bronze Records prepared the live extravaganza in record time.
Issued as a double album and packaged in a lavish cover emulating a tour programme, Bronze Records took the unusual (of the time) but brilliant step of releasing the double package at the bargain price of just £3.99. This was just a little more than the cost of a single LP in 1973. A vibrant recording and the price coupled with an extensive marketing campaign paid off, the album achieved sales in excess of one million units in a very short space of time. If the press had tried to ignore Uriah Heep (and they had!) it was obvious that this was a band that could be ignored no longer.
Uriah Heep Live 1973 was voted one of the best albums of 1973 by much of the music press and to this day remains rivalled only by Deep Purple's Made In Japan as one of the best live albums of the era. Uriah Heep continued to tour extensively world wide in 1973 taking time out to record what was to become the band's sixth studio album, called Sweet Freedom, this was recorded in France during the summer of 1973.
© 1996 Robert M. Corich
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Content © 1997 Jay Pearson
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