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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Uriah Heep - 1977 Innocent Victim
Uriah Heep - 1977 Innocent Victim

ARTIST: Uriah Heep
ALBUM: Innocent Victim
LABEL: Bronze
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1991, Castle Classics (UK), CLACD 210 * 1997, Essential (UK), ESMCD560


LINEUP: John Lawton - vocals * Mick Box - guitars * Ken Hensley - keyboards, guitars, backing vocals * Trevor Bolder - bass, backing vocals * Lee Kerslake - drums, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Keep On Ridin' * 02 Flyin' High * 03 Roller * 04 Free N Easy * 05 Illusion * 06 Free Me * 07 Cheat N Lie * 08 The Dance * 09 Choices


The departure of Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron in 1975 saw the band strike out in a different direction. The Byron, Hensley, Box trifecta was suddenly no more - and things would inevitably have to change. Bringing in Lucifers Friend vocalist John Lawton gave the band a new style, his powerful presence and delivery would go some way to appeasing longtime UH fans. First appearing on 1976's 'Firefly' album, he and the band would follow it up with 1977's 'Innocent Victim'. This is an album I'm more familiar with, due to its success in my home country of New Zealand during that year.

The Songs
The single 'Free Me' went to the top of the NZ single charts. When I was growing up, my brother and I were huge UH fans, unlike my Dad who hated them! Then when he heard 'Free Me' on the radio, he loved it. He had no idea who it was, but he would play it ad nauseum. Such was the success of the song down under. But 'Innocent Victim' is not a one-hit wonder, as most ignorant Kiwis thought. 'Free N Easy' is this albums version of 'Easy Livin', while 'Cheat N Lie' could very well be Boston's 'Let Me Take You Home Tonight' part two. The opening strains of 'Keep On Ridin' is pleasant enough, and makes good use of the acoustic/electric dynamic, whereas 'Flyin' High' is as close to pomp as UH could get years before 'Abominog' arrived on the scene! 'Illusion' is in a similar vein to Gary Wright's synthesizer overdosing, the same could be said for 'The Dance' with its dreamy synth explorations. The band sign off with a prog-like excursion called 'Choices', and it builds up drama as it tails off in a big climactic crescendo!

In Summary
The album was re-released in 1997 containing six bonus tracks: 'Illusion/Masquerade', 'The River', 'Put Your Music (Where Your Mouth Is)', 'Cheat 'n' Lie (Live)', 'Free Me (Live)' and 'Free 'n' Easy (Live)'. Quite a likeable album, which has more in common with Lawton's previous band Lucifers Friend around about this time rather than being compared to the familiar material of Heep's earlier daze. Despite the localised success of the album in non-traditional markets, the band were on the slippery slope in terms of future prospects and management, with things coming to a sudden halt in 1980. However, as we know, the band resurfaced in 1982 to popular acclaim, and recommenced a very successful run as Heep Mk II.

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#1 | Harvey Mettle on April 13 2010 15:30:23
Lawton's tenure in UH has been much maligned. IMO this is a great LP. The Dance and Free Me are particular fav's. Worth pointing out that in the USA at least it came out with a different cover. I bought the US edition back then somehow. None of my friends liked UH so I never saw or realised the UK cover was different until years later!
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