Lyrics | Original Liner Notes | Reissue Liner Notes | Artist Comments | Fan Reviews

November, 1972

Full front & back cover scan - 710 x 347 56K
The Magician's Birthday 

Overall - Second only to Demons And Wizards, this is the most popular and best Heep album. The two albums are very similar in tone, feel, and presentation, much the same way Yes' Fragile and Close To The Edge are similar. In otherwords, if you love one, you'll love the other. The inventive title cut has to be heard to be believed! Grade: A+

1. Sunrise - The follow-up to The Wizard and just as beautiful. Grade: A+

2. Spider Woman - A decent l'il rocker with some great slide work by Ken, but very silly lyrics. Chorus is quite lame and if it wasn't for Ken's slide, I wouldn't listen to this song at all. Grade: B-

3. Blind Eye - A wonderful acoustic piece, this is a fine example of the way Ken's technique of modulating from minor to major keys with great effect. Grade: A+

4. Echoes in the Dark - A great Circle Of Hands-type of song. I could listen to songs like this all day. Great special effects from Ken's moog. Grade: A+

5. Rain - My favorite song on the album and my favorite Heep ballad ever. Absolutely lovely piece that could've been a huge hit if it'd been released on a single. Grade: A+

6. Sweet Lorraine - Heep's follow-up to Easy Livin' in the US, this song uses the Theremin to great effect. Excellent rocker. Grade: A

7. Tales - A great mystical song, this is one of the best-arranged songs Heep ever did. Wonderfully dark, this is a chance to hear what a steel guitar can really sound like outside of a country music setting. Grade: A+

8. The Magician's Birthday - Unique to the Heep catalog, this story is told in 5 parts. The first section, in typical Heep fashion, is the journey to the Magician's castle. The second is the most unusual version of 'Happy Birthday To You' ever done, complete with Lee humming a counterpoint on the kazoo. The third and longest section is the magic battle between the forces of good and evil, featuring the longest and most famous of Mick's solos as well as some ferocious drumming by Lee. Then we reach the fourth section and it appears, as Dave sings the part of the Magician, that evil has won. But, with Ken singing the hero's part, the Finale begins and we learn that love overcomes evil and triumphs in the end! Grade: A+

Silver White Man - (Bonus demo track) Backing track only, so this is just for hard-core fans. Stick with the final version on David's first solo album, Take No Prisoners. Grade: C

Crystal Ball (Gary's Song) - (Bonus track) This should've been on the album instead of Spider Woman. Nice tune but this version doesn't sound fully developed. Grade: B+

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