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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Iconic Vinyl: Take A Look at Yourself by Uriah Heep


We are of course referring here to the original LP cover that came with the reflective material as seen above.

Look at Yourself," Uriah Heep's third studio album, was released on September 3, 1971. Uriah Heep, a British rock band formed in 1969, was integral to the early 1970s hard rock and heavy metal scenes. By 1971, the band had established themselves with their distinctive blend of progressive rock, hard rock, and heavy metal elements. This period was characterized by a surge in experimentation within rock music, with bands exploring more complex structures, diverse influences, and thematic depth.

The one before was also a classic! Salisbury*

The album preceding "Look at Yourself" was "Salisbury," released in February 1971. "Salisbury" marked a significant evolution in Uriah Heep's sound, blending heavy rock with more orchestral and progressive elements. The title track, a 16-minute epic, showcased the band's ambition and willingness to push musical boundaries, incorporating a brass section and more elaborate arrangements. This experimentation set the stage for "Look at Yourself," which balanced progressive tendencies with a more direct hard rock approach.

Band Members in 1971:

During the recording of "Look at Yourself," Uriah Heep consisted of:

- **David Byron** – lead vocals

- **Ken Hensley** – keyboards, guitars, vocals

- **Mick Box** – guitars

- **Paul Newton** – bass guitar

- **Ian Clarke** – drums

Ken Hensley's role was particularly pivotal as he contributed significantly to the band's songwriting and provided much of the keyboard and guitar work that defined their sound.

Album Cover and Design:

The album cover of "Look at Yourself" is one of the most distinctive in rock history. It features a reflective mirror-like surface, encouraging viewers to literally "look at yourself" as they hold the album. This design was intended to engage listeners directly, prompting introspection rather than focusing on the band members' images. The cover was designed by Keef (Keith MacMillan), a prominent British graphic designer known for his innovative album art. The minimalist design and concept of self-reflection were unconventional for the time, adding a layer of interaction and personal connection for the listener.

Track Listing

The album consists of the following tracks:

1. "Look at Yourself" – 5:09

2. "I Wanna Be Free" – 4:00

3. "July Morning" – 10:36

4. "Tears in My Eyes" – 5:02

5. "Shadows of Grief" – 8:39

6. "What Should Be Done" – 4:13

7. "Love Machine" – 3:37

About the album:

"Look at Yourself" opens with the title track, a driving rock anthem featuring dynamic guitar riffs and powerful vocals. It sets a high-energy tone for the album. "July Morning," a standout track, is an epic piece over 10 minutes long, characterized by its rich keyboards and gradual build-up, showcasing the band's progressive rock influences and Byron's dramatic vocal delivery.

"Tears in My Eyes" combines bluesy guitar licks with hard rock energy, while "Shadows of Grief" delves into darker, more introspective territory with its haunting melodies and complex arrangements. "What Should Be Done" offers a contrasting softer, more contemplative moment before the album closes with "Love Machine," a straightforward, high-energy rock song.

Tour and Promotion

To support "Look at Yourself," Uriah Heep embarked on an extensive tour, which included performances across Europe and North America. This tour helped solidify their reputation as a formidable live act, known for their powerful performances and the theatrical presence of lead singer David Byron. The band's growing popularity during this period was bolstered by their dynamic stage shows, which often featured elaborate lighting and 

Byron's flamboyant showmanship.

Listen to the full version of the classic July Morning 

 The song "July Morning" was the inspiration for a Bulgarian tradition, known eponymously as July Morning or "Julaya", of gathering on the beach on the Black Seacoast on the morning of 1 July to watch the sunrise.[5]

The album was mentioned in the David Sedaris book Barrel Fever, in "Don's Story".

Look at Yourself was remastered and reissued by Castle Communications in 1996 with three bonus tracks, and again in 2003 in an expanded deluxe edition. In 2017, Sanctuary Records released a two-disc deluxe edition.

"Look at Yourself" represents a pivotal moment in Uriah Heep's career, balancing the experimental and progressive tendencies of their earlier work with a more direct hard rock approach. The innovative album cover, compelling tracks, and the energetic tour all contributed to solidifying the band's place in the rock landscape of the early 1970s. Uriah Heep's ability to blend introspective lyrics with powerful musical execution ensured that "Look at Yourself" remained a significant and influential album in their discography and the broader context of 1970s rock music.

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