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FIREFLY

Uriah Heep

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Uriah Heep Firefly album cover
3.52 | 178 ratings | 18 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A
1. The Hanging Tree (3:42)
2. Been Away Too Long (5:04)
3. Who Needs Me (3:40)
4. Wise Man (4:44)

Side B
1. Do You Know (3:15)
2. Rollin' On (6:32)
3. Sympathy (4:50)
4. Firefly (6:18)

Total Time: 38:05
BONUS TRACKS ON 1997 REMASTERED CD:
1. Crime Of Passion (3:37) single b-side
2. Do You Know (3:16) demo version, previously unreleased
3. A Far Better Way (5:50) Out-take, released for the first time on 'A Time Of Revelation' (1996)
4. Wise Man (4:48) TV backing track version, previously unreleased

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- John Lawton / lead vocals
- Mick Box / guitars
- Trevor Bolder / bass guitar
- Lee "The Bear" Kerslake / drums, vocals
- Ken Hensley / keyboards, guitars, vocals

Releases information

1977 UK: Bronze ILPS 9483

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to gladuk for the last updates
Edit this entry

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OutsiderOutsider
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URIAH HEEP Firefly ratings distribution


3.52
(178 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

URIAH HEEP Firefly reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A new beginning

While the history of Uriah Heep is littered with line up changes, the single most important one in terms of their sound took place between the previous album, "High and Mighty", and this one. With David Byron having been sacked as lead vocalist, John Lawton (ex Lucifer's Child) was brought in as his replacement.

In opting for Lawton, the other band members had decided to go for someone with a completely different voice and style, so right from the first few bars of "Firefly" the listener is aware of a fundamental change. Lawton's voice is deeper and much rougher, with more of a blues/jazz tinge.

John Wetton also left the band before this album was recorded, being replaced by ex Spiders from Mars bassist Trevor Boulder. Boulder has gone on to become one of Heep's longest servicing members, and is in fact still in the band today.

The music on "Firefly" is generally lighter than previous albums, with Hensley choosing to create an almost orchestral texture with the keyboards, on which the album is built. Yet again, Hensley dominates the song writing, with only one short track "Who needs me" being a rare Kerslake composition. The title track is a very soft but beautiful piece, a million miles from "Easy Livin'". Even when the band rock, such as on "Been away too long", it's not the all out wall of sound of the early days.

When listening to this album, it is necessary to first put aside any preconceptions about the music it will contain. It's not really a follow up to "High and Mighty" but a new beginning for the band with a new direction and sound. Once that is accepted, it's actually a very enjoyable album, with strong melodies, and tight musicianship.

Nice sleeve too, similar to the Roger Dean creations of earlier days.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#31355) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Nothing finer in the world than the hard progressive rock vibes of 'The Heep'. For me "Firefly" was just one of those albums from the 70's that I played over and over again and along with "Demons and Wizards" was just part of my childhood. For me "Firefly" encapsulated everything and worked on multiple levels... a fine rock album and fine shifting progressive rock sound. No question in my mind that URIAH HEEP had hit full stride by the release of "Firefly" offering to the rock world a creative high energy album. I love the keyboard work that Hensley pumps out on this album with some nice deep organ and vintage keyboard work as well as some of Mick Box's best guitar work. I would say that the title track "Firefly" is likely my most beloved URIAH HEEP track from the mid 70's era albums and I was sure as a kiddie-boo-boo that this was the finest tune in the world (you know what I mean). Overall "Firefly" is still a fantastic album for this music lover.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#31360) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a very lovely hippie rock record! The fantasy oriented covers with romantic theme and light pastel colors fit the musical style of this album perfectly. The keyboards and guitar paint an airy and comfortable sound walls, and the compositions are emotional and mostly glad. The most memorable tracks for me here are "Been Away Too Long", "Wise Man" (which was also being played at their 2005 Helsinki concert) and the title track "Firefly", which is totally marvelous rock suite in three parts. I wouldn't recommend this for those who seek angst from music, but the fans of softer art rock should like this.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#31361) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 03, 2005

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars From the most brilliant hard-rock (even symphonic at times), the Heep's downhill was hard to imagine. Their last three studio albums were average to poor (IMO).

A major line-up change with the replacement of Byron as lead vocalist. This sounds like a thunder. Something like the departure of Gillan from Purple or Gabriel from Genesis. I have to admit that Lawton does a good job here.

On top of that, this is the best Heep album for quite a long time. Energetic, hard rocking like in the golden era. it was quite a good surprise for me.

The first poor track of this album is the rock ballad :"Wise Man". I guess the intention was to please the FM audience ... "Rollin' On" is good blues/rock song like Purple could have produced (Hughes / Coverdale era). Great guitar solo.

"Sympathy" is quite good : great ryhtmic section, good vocals and great harmonies. This sounds like a track from ancient ages ... "Firefly" starts like a symphonic and mellow tune and then turns out as a rockin' Heep song with a great (but too short) guitar solo. The song then returns to the mellowish style. Not bad, though.

Three bonus tracks on the remastered edition if you want to prolong your experience. "Crime of Passion" is another blues/rock oriented song (again, Glenn Hughes could have written this one). There is also a duplication for "Do You Know" and "A Far Better Way" is another good but non essential track.

Of course, this is not an essential album in the music history (nor even in the Heep's one), but at least the Heep rebounds a bit with this effort. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#118595) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars THERE IS STILL LIFE AFTER DAVID BYRON DEPARTURE!

I remember being really worried when this new URIAH HEEP album came out. We all knew DVAID BYRON, the VOICE of the band has been kicked out due to drugs and/or alcohol abuses. At the end of his stay, Byron sometimes couldn't even remember the words of the songs when on stage and has become a distraction for the rest of the band. He will pursue a solo career ( not that successful !!) until his untimately death a few years later! another schocking fact about this sad ending is that there were no URIAH HEEP members at his funeral. ( only JOHN WETTON showed up)

About JOHN WETTON, he too left the ship at the same time and was to be replaced by TREVOR BOLDER of SPIDERS OF MARS fame; To this day,31 years later the ''new'' bassist is still with the band, hair and all!!!

URIAH HEEP didn't try to find a BYRON clone and went quite the opposite way with the arrival of JOHN LAWTON, a very good singer, but more in the blues/rock style a la CHRIS FARLOWE from COLLOSSEUM , very deep and strong.Looking at his picture, you knew the other members would not worry about him playing the sex symbol as his predecessor did. The cover was very nice, very.....prog in the ROGER DEAN style.

You have very good songs on this album and it rocks quite a bit; no, no metal here, but a good hard rock album , very melodic ( this is still URIAH HEEP) but played with a lot of energy like THE HANGING TREE which opens the album. You may find some vey average tracks like BEEN AWAY TOO LONG or the insipid DO YOU KNOW! UH even tries the FM style ''power '' ballad with the very forgetable WISE MAN.

But very good things come later with what was then-side 2: ROLLIN ON is a great mid-tempo rocker with one of those emotional great guitar solos like the one on PARADISE from DEMONS AND WIZARDS ( played i think by HENSLEY and not by MICK BOX) Then you have a great classic UH rocker with a great guitar riff followed by the best track of the album the self titled ''FIREFLY'', a track that could have been featured on any UH albums from the golden age: nice harmonies, great melody, quite proggish, and a great guitar riff in the middle of the song followed by once again one of those simple but very well played guitar solos, a very good song indeed.

The sound of the album is quite lighter than in their haydays; KEN HENSLEY doesn't do any wall of sound with his organ and plays quite more discreetly in the background; very nice production as well!

Not a masterpiece by any means, not an album you are going to take with you when you go in exile, but a good ,simple (light) hard rocking release played with energy and fun you will always enjoy when you play it! Sadly the future will not sound so nice!!!

3.5 stars rounded to

3 STARS

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#131518) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 03, 2007

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars The magic is still present in the second era!

Firefly is one of the records that I am emotionally bonded with, as it was my first full Heep album... With this record begins the second era of Heep, after the departure of David Byron and the arrival of John Lawton on the vocals. Yes, the sound is a bit 'softer' than before, the vocals are bluesier (a bit towards Coverdale) and Ken Hensley's hammond sound is not as evident as it used to be. Don't expect to hear a new Demons and Wizards or Look at Yourself. The production is cleaner and is mainly based on the rhythm section, often giving the impression of an 'empty tone' feeling.

However, the typical Heep melodies and heavy powerful chords are plentiful, with Lawton adjusting perfectly to the new sound. This record has a unique nostalgic rock atmosphere, noticeable at each track, from the ballad Wise Man to the pure rock'n'roll Who Needs me and Do You Know. These three tracks represent the middle-part and are probably the less interesting, in a record that does not really contain weak songs. Sophisticated bluesy mid-tempos (Rollin' On) and heavy prog tunes (The Hanging Tree and Been Away Too Long) mix in a diverse and interesting output, where Lawton's vocals are a very strong asset, giving a different 'vibe' and a remarkable character to the album (a response to the uncertainty after Byron's departure).

Sympathy, with its distinct beautiful guitar passage, can be easily compared to the band's 'all-time' hit masterpieces, such as 'Easy Livin' and 'Look at Yourself', though a bit more melodic this time and less raw. The album concludes with the enchanting title track, prompting the listener to early Heep tunes. These latter two, along with the opening track form, in my humble opinion, the highlights of this album. It is also worth mentioning that the cover fits very well with the music. I don't know what exactly it represents, but it gives you this nostalgic, 'purple' feeling.

Different singer, different sound, still excellent.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#155417) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 14, 2007

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Still a good album

After departure of Byron, Uriah Heep, and specially Mick Box the main man of the band try to find somebody at the same level with Byron but not a copy. They find - Lawton (ex. Lucifer's Friend), he has integrate very well in the Heep music machine. So, the voice here on the first album where Lawton appear is very powerfull, he has a strong voice, easy to remember. The opening track The Hanging Tree shows exactly where Lawton stands in Heep's music. The music become more mainstream, more hard/boogie kinda easy to listen, but not comercial, still some great tunes like The hanging tree, Been Away Too Long and the title track Firefly. All in all a good album, but no more than that. I think the next one is the best Heep album with Lawton on voice. 3 stars

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#158924) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars To me, this was the beginning of the end. Without David Byron Uriah Heep seemed to turn into a new band completely. It was not that John Lawton was not good. He was. But the spirit, or the perfect chemistry if you like, was gone. The sound was lighter, more pop oriented and definitly Ken Hensley was not the same anymore (he latter claimed he should have left the band at the time, but was persuated to stay eventually). The cover is quite deceiving: it looks like a work of Roger Dean, but watch closer and you´ll see it is far from the real thing. The same goes for the music.

Even today, 30 years after the release of this album, I still find hard to listen to it. The songs are ok, at least most of them. The first track, The Hanging Tree, is the only one that has some of the old UH power in it, but the remaining tracks are not nearly as good. In fact, there are some bad ones, and Who Loves Me definitly seems to be included on the album to please the drummer (who was also threatening to leave). Everything sounds a little forced on Firefly. Even the title track, an efford to emulate their earlier prog epics, sounds half baked and rushed.

Clearly a transitional work, I can only recommend this CD to stabilished fans and completionists. Although it has some interesting moments, this is not a good starting point for a newbie. Two stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#165167) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was great follow up album to High and Mighty. With John Lawton now replacing David Byron on vocals and Trevor Bolder replacing John Wetton on bass, there is a distinctly obvious stabilisation of the group in this line up. John Lawton is a formidable vocalist and a worthy substitute to David Byron. His prescence on the classic ' The Hanging Tree' demonstrates immediately that Uriah Heep were not going to dissipate into the ether of punk rock/new age dominance. I guess they have proved that regardless of line up changes and musical shifts to this present day.

Firefly is another solid track as is Rollin On. Personally after High and Mighty I put Uriah Heep on the back burner and am now revisiting some of their later releases post 1976 and if the album Firefly is anything to go by there will be many more enjoyable moments to come.A solid three and a half stars and not least assisted by the invaluable inclusion of John Lawton.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#175985) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 03, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars John Lawton (previously of the great band Lucifer's Friend) and Trevor Bolder (of The Spiders from Mars fame) gave new life to Uriah Heep here! In my opinion, this produced one of the very best and most consistent Uriah Heep albums. John Lawton is a much better singer than David Byron ever was, Lawton can hit the high notes without any trouble and his distinctive voice is simply much more pleasant to listen to.

Another thing that makes this album stand out in the Uriah Heep catalogue is that it is better produced and all the instruments sound clearer and more powerful. The keyboards are more varied than on most other Uriah Heep albums. Usually, the Hammond organ plays the leading role. Here, on the other hand, we have electric piano and symphonic synthesizers playing a much larger role.

But, as always, the most important thing is to have good songs and we have many strong ones here; the title track, The Hanging Tree and the ballad Wise Man are all very good. There are always some lesser good material on Uriah Heep albums, but even the weakest ones here are a bit better than they were on Sweet Freedom, Wonderworld or Return to Fantasy.

Firefly is a recommended album. (If you like it I would also recommend the first five albums by Lucifer's Friend which was John Lawton's pervious band. Great stuff! In my opinion, much better and more progressive than Uriah Heep!)

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177592) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With the recording of Firefly,Uriah Heep enter a new era with John Lawton as vocalist,the first album without David Byron.And I think this album is the best without David Byron on vocals,until the releasing of Wake the Sleeper in 2008!Firefly contains the classic Uriah Heep sound,but with some new rock & roll elements added by John Lawton.He is more oriented to that kind of music.The album mixes some progressive/hard rock songs fron the previous era of the band like - The Hanging Tree,Been Away Too Long,the famous one Wise Man,the magnificent song Firefly.But it is full of light rock & roll songs like Who Needs Me,Do You Know,Rollin On and the cult one - Sympathy.The mixture between two kind of songs is well enough for every high quality collection!

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#181860) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 06, 2008

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Although still very popular throughout Central and Eastern Europe(especially, for some reason, in the Balkans) and with a large(ish) following in the USA, Uriah Heep have very much been a cult item in their British homeland ever since punk rock came along and pretty much ruined everything. However, during the early part of the 1970s they were actually quite a big deal, issuing some excellent progressive-themed albums('Demons & Wizards', 'Salisbury', 'Look At Yourself', 'The Magicians Birthday') and enjoying brief chart success with this more polished mainstream rock effort from 1976, an album that reached the lofty heights of no.13 on the UK album charts and in the process probably giving the group a collective nosebleed. A hard-working and highly prolific outfit('Firefly' would be their tenth studio release in six years) Uriah Heep had always straddled the chasm between earthy hard-rock and colourful prog, their sound doused in metallic riffs, meaty organs and David Byron's semi-Operatic vocals. With Byron's departure, however, the group could focus on producing more radio-friendly rock, new lead singer John Lawton owning a deeper, more muscular tone. With Lawton backed by most of the group's 'classic' line-up of Mick Box(guitar), Ken Hensley(keyboards), Lee Kerslake(drums) and Trevor Bolder(bass; replacing heroin-addled Kiwi Gary Thain) 'Firefly' was the sound of Uriah Heep with one eye firmly focused on the lucrative American market, the progressive flourishes and fantasy themes of their earlier material replaced by hip-grinding rhythms, thick riffs and shorter, more concise songwriting. Tracks such as the surprisingly catchy opener 'The Hanging Tree' and the galloping title-track emphasize this fresh new approach with slick production values, bouncy melodies and Lawton's direct delivery in stark opposition to the ambitious song-suites found on the orchestra-augmented 1972 'Salisbury' and it's progressive brethren. After initial listens It's easy to see why the album sold so well, carrying as it does a populist, everyman streak designed to appeal to a wide rock audience, though in truth much of 'Firefly' simply fades from memory pretty quickly. Most damningly of all, It's actually pretty difficult to distinguish much of the material on offer here from the rest of their post-progressive output, and whilst occasional nuggets such as 'The Hanging Tree' showcase a rare deft touch, the bulk of 'Firefly' contains precious little beyond the simplistic rhythms and repetitive lyrics. A disposable, progressive-lite offering, 'Firefly' features an overtly-commercial tone that has more in common with American AOR than it does with British prog. By no means dreadful then, yet there are many better Uriah Heep albums to be enjoyed. If it's anthemic hard-rock you're after, try the likes of Journey, Foreigner or Styx instead, groups who cleverly blended fist-pumping rock and arty ingredients and epitomized exactly what it was Uriah Heep were hoping to become.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#720460) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Wow! Who knew that, with a new singing and bassist, that Uriah Heep would still live, and give a very progressive rock type of record? No one though that they could, but Mick Box and Ken Hensley, the two original members, pulled it off! The cover art is excellent too, with a beautiful fairy ... (read more)

Report this review (#256513) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Byron left and we all thought Heep is over, but they were pretty alive. Lawton came to the band and they recorded Firefly and what an album this is. From the beginning until the end you can't hear a bad song. Fantastic opener ''The hanging tree'' then ''Been away to long'', ''Wise man'', ''Sympat ... (read more)

Report this review (#233387) | Posted by Floyd_child | Friday, August 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I can safely say if this album had Byron in place of Lawton, this would have been yet another hit from Uriah Heep. Its not that Lawton is a bad vocalist--he's good. But never as good as crystal clear Byron. Two major things had changed for the band in this album. First the vocalist, second the do ... (read more)

Report this review (#84057) | Posted by Sharier | Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Released as the first album after the ousting of their much loved or much hated (depending on who you are) vocalist David Byron, Firefly saw the group replace him with British born John Lawton who had been singing for German hard rockers Lucifier's Friend. Lawton, who was graced with the vocal a ... (read more)

Report this review (#62410) | Posted by | Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Firefly" is the first album to feature singer John Lawton (who hade left Lucifer's Friend to join Uriah Heep) Lawton is a much better singer than David Byron but that doesn't mean that the Lawton era Uriah Heep albums are better than the Byron era albums, quite the contrary actually. But stil ... (read more)

Report this review (#39343) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars FIREFLY was recorded in October/November 1976 with a new line-up. John Lawton, Ex- Lucifers Friend, who, at times, was also a member of the entertaining Les Humphries Singers, replaced the sacked vocalist David Byron, while Trevor Bolder (from David Bowie´s Spiders from Mars) took over John Wet ... (read more)

Report this review (#31358) | Posted by | Sunday, January 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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