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Uriah Heep

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Uriah Heep Head First album cover
2.39 | 168 ratings | 12 reviews | 2% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Other Side Of Midnight (3:55)
2. Stay On Top (3:35)
3. Lonely Nights (4:07)
4. Sweet Talk (3:51)
5. Love Is Blind (3:38)
6. Roll-Overture (2:18)
7. Red Lights (2:57)
8. Rollin' The Rock (5:31)
9. Straight Through The Heart (3:39)
10. Weekend Warriors (3:50)

Total Time: 37:21

Bonus tracks on 1997 Essential remaster:
11. Playing For Time (single b-side) (4:27)
12. Searching (instrumental out-take) (3:52) *
13. The Wizard (live 1984) (4:52) *

Bonus tracks on 2005 Sanctuary remaster:
11. Playing For Time (EP Track) (4:27)
12. Searching (Extended Demo) (4:54)
13. The Other Side Of Midnight (Live) (4:36)
14. Lonely Nights (Live) (6:45)
15. Angel (Live) (5:21)

* Previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Goalby / vocals
- Mick Box / guitars, vocals
- John Sinclair / keyboards, synth, vocals
- Bob Daisley / bass
- Lee Kerslake / drums, percussion

- Frank Ricotti / percussion (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Goodfellow

LP Bronze ‎- BRON 545 (1983, UK)

CD Castle Classics ‎- CLACD 209 (1990, UK)
CD Essential ‎- ESMCD 572 (1997, UK) Remastered by Mike Brown & Robert Corich w/ 3 bonus tracks
CD Sanctuary Midline ‎- SMRCD186 (2005, Europe) Remaster w/ 5 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy URIAH HEEP Head First Music

URIAH HEEP Head First ratings distribution

(168 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (16%)

URIAH HEEP Head First 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
2 stars Heading in the right direction

This was Uriah Heep's last album for the Bronze Label, whom they had grown up with since their early days. The break was down to the financial state of the label more than anything else.

"Head first" has signs of Uriah Heep's slow but ultimately complete recovery. The sleeve is reasonably tasteful (the gallows in the distance not being immediately apparent!). The line up was the same as on the previous "Abominog", a level of stability not seen in the band for some years. They sound much more together as a result, with more adventurous but traditional Heep like vocal harmonies and a slightly stronger set. The songwriting is still questionable, and three tracks are written by non-band members.

"Rollin' the rock" and "Weekend warriors" are the best tracks. The former has some nice transitions from soft phases to loud rock, while the latter is a more traditional hard rock track, but with a much better hook than other tracks on the album. Goalby's vocals are once again strong, more in the way of John Lawton than David Byron, but solidly performed. Box throws in a few of his instantly recognisable solos, but unkind as it is to labour the point, the Hensley effect is still noticeable by its absence.

Definite signs that the band are getting back on their feet, but still a bit to go yet.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I guess this album won't please many prog fans, as it is quite clearly a hard-rock album of the 1980's instead of art rock record. I am not so fond of the sonic aesthetics of that era, but I think this album has some nice qualities. There are some pleasant ideas on the compositions, and the album forms quite fine two LP-sides of continuous music. The opener "The Other Side of Midnight" is quite catchy hit song (how perverse!), and the band has played it still on their gigs even at the 21th century. The A-side of the LP has few typical Heep-fillers before the last song of the side; "Love is Blind" being quite nice powerful tune. The B-side of the LP is much better, beginning a movie soundtrack sounding orchestral intro, which leads to "Red Lights", an exciting rock song for the hectic highways. The music continues without stops to "Rollin' The Rock", which has nice quiet and loud parts forming great hold and release contrasts. This song is followed by a ballad "Straight Through the Heart", which is without doubt very, very sweet, but I liked it still. The ending song "Weekend Warriors" is also ok. I had quite silly impression from that song, as I first misheard the verse going as "Viking Warriors", well that might have fitted as well. Though I liked this albumit, a prog listener should be very careful with it. Don't buy it without prelistening first carefully.
Review by b_olariu
3 stars I agree that Uriah Heep are not a prog band, maybe in the early '70 some works are , Ken Hensley was the prog musician in the band. By the way this is still a good one, hard rock and nothing more. Head first are between Abominog and Equator, in every way. A still enjoyble one from the band.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I was not really impressed with "Abominog", their previous release. Could the same line- up produced something better ? Their AOR/FM orientation was not really the best choice IMO. Unfortunately, with this release, they'll keep on investigating in these sounds.

Both "The Other Side of Midnight" and "Stay on Top" although heavy rock numbers are rather dull. The first interesting track is "Lonely Nights" thanks to its catchy melody and good rhythmics. A very nice and poopy tune. More in line with their work in " Conquest" which I quite liked (surprisingly). I guess that since heavy metal was rather popular in these days, that the Heep tried to attract fans from the genre with numbers like "Sweet Talk" (still formatted fo radio broadcasting). Not too bad though.

Another good rock song is "Love Is Blind". I have already written that when the Heep sticks to good (hard) rock songs it could still be pleasant (the best years being of course behind).

"Roll-Overture" could have been featured on "Salisbury" : it is one of their most symphonic (even a bit pompous) number. ELP is not far away. This could have been an intro to an epic song. Instead, it introduces the rather violent "Red Lights". Fabulous rythm here, and high pitched vocals as Byron had used us to. It is really a return to old the good old days (reminds me definitely "Bird Of Prey " from... "Salisbury" back in 1971). It has been ages than the Heep had not produced such a great song. Fantastic guitar work (thanks Mick). The absolute highlight here (too short, unfortunately. But this was already ture for some of their legendary tracks like "Easy Livin").

"Rollin' the Rock" is also a good number. Almost prog intro (for about 2'20") with very nice vocals and backing keys. The song then rocks strongly for a little while, like if the Heep was hesitant to produce a prog song (IMO, there were never really prog with the exception of "Salisbury", the album). I have always categorized them within the hard- rock genre. This song is again a very good surprise. Strong and efficient. Another highlight. The same spatial vocal from "Bird Of Prey" can also be heard at the end of the song (very briefly, I must say).

This album is rather pleasant : a global good rock feeling throughout the whole work. Here and there some weak songs like the AOR "Straight To The Heart"(but there was a time during which only poor songs were proposed). So, let's not complain too much. The closing number "Weekend Warriors" is again a solid hard-rock song with a fantastic rythm and a good melody. A very good song indeed to end this rather interesting (and surprising) album.

As I concluded in my review for "Conquest", the Heep is back on business. Should they only avoid this AOR sound here and there, it would be far much better.

Three stars. I hope the Heep will go on like this for their future releases.

Review by Cristi
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
3 stars Head First is crafed in the manner of Abominog, it's a really good album but to my ears is not as good as Abominog; first of all three songs are written by non UH members, including a Brian Adams cover - fortunately a lot better than the original - thank God! Searching is an unnecessary bonus track , not bad but a bit repetitive. Stay on Top never impressed me except for the great bass. As for the rest of the songs they're really great. Especially great work from Goalby and Box shine here.

Although I like Abominog more than Head First, I still give it three stars; as with Abominog, HF won't satisfy many progheads, except maybe for those who also enjoy AOR, hard rock and classic heavy metal.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars After the success of Abominog Uriah Heep released this album, clearly influenced by the AOR and hard rock bands of that period. If the formula seemed to work well on the previous album, even at the cost of some of their trademark sound, now the band sounded too american and commercial for my taste. The cover looks better than Abominog, but the music inside does not.

Here the problem is not even the kind of sound, really. It´s the quality of the songs that suffers. While the first post Hensley album had some very strong tracks, here they simply tried to follow the path, but ended up recording tunes that not as good. Head First was a tentative LP: not really bad, but the band was trying to look what they´re not. Like throwing away the last vestiges of their glorious past and gain a whole new audience. Yes, that happened a lot at the time. It may nave worked for some (like Scorpions) but not for UH. At least not as much.

Anyway, things would go even more downward by the next release, Equator. But fortunaltly after that, UH would rise again, slowly, but steadly, with a better line up and stronger CDs. Head First is for collectors and hardcore fans, only.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
1 stars Oh... no, what's this! This album unarguably is the weakest to that date by Uriah Heep and a candidate for the weakest ever by the band. It's quite boring and its best song it around 2.2 - 2.3 stars. I mean the best song on the album. The sound is parted and blunt. Almost awful! Amateur quality of music. It don't looks like professional way of making music. I think the best song is... oh I don't know, which is... Maybe Red Lights or Sweet Talk or Love is Blind. But even the best songs are so boring. I believe this is one of the albums that have listeners only because of the name of the band. If you are Uriah Heep's fan you need this album only for the completion of the discography and nothing more! 1 star.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second album of the Goalby-era is made of the same ingredients of the previous "Abominog". It is also moulded by the same hands. Despite the low ratings it's a solid effort, a hard rock number with hints of that new wave of heavy metal hailing at that time from the UK: a lot of energy and good vibes.

The overall impression is an unstoppable flow of refined music which is difficult to resist and it's hard to tell whether is gleaming AOR or pure heavy rock. There are four highlights IMHO: the opener "The Other Side of Midnight", another kick ass hard rock number in the very same way of "Too Scared to Run". But the most interesting part (for a prog lover) is side 2 with the combo "Roll-Overture" and "Red Lights": the former is a real symphonic break, too short and not far from THE ENID, that leads to the metallic up-tempo "Red Lights" featuring typical Heep's dramatic choruses (awesome!). The title and the general mood of the latter reminds me of UFO and their memorable exciting hard rock attitude. The closer "Weekend Warriors" is in a similar way.

The other tracks are more radio-friendly cuts, arranged here and there with heavy metal grit and passion thanks to Peter Goalby his wonderful set of pipes. Well, I know that for many reviewers this is not Uriah Heep anymore; in particular, its bad fame is in part due to the BRYAN ADAMS cover "Lonely Nights". However, I find the song pretty decent and the whole disc more surprising than that I would expect from such poor ratings and negative reviews. At that time the band dreamed that they could conquer the US charts. They did not but still released an appreciable work.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars In 1983, Uriah Heep had become known as quite the revolving door of ever changing band members. However, they were ready to record another album, especially after a renewed interest in the band after their AOR metal release "Abominog" which saw their turn to power metal that was the popular sound of the 80s. Heavy metal with a lot of keyboard embellishments was the style, and they were determined to fit into that and ride the wave of hair-metal popularity.

So, since "Abominog" was a success for the band, it only made sense to keep the same line-up, which is what they did. The band had already been through many vocalists, and the David Coverfield sound alike Peter Goalby was once again their lead singer, Mick Box (of course) their long time guitarist, John Sinclair as keyboardist, Bob Daisley (from Ozzy Osbourne's band) on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums. It would prove to be a good call to keep the line-up, at least popularity-wise, because "Head First", 1983's album, would continue the popularity for the band.

Unfortunately, the sound of the band only continued to become more radio friendly and free of any progressive traits whatsoever. All of the songs would stay in the 3-4 minute range except for "Rollin' the Rock", a power ballad of sorts, which would break the 5 minute mark. The band at this time was only interested in fitting in with the other metal bands of the time. So, we only end up with a fairly standard sounding 80s album which, if you didn't know who the band was, would only get lost in the piles of hair metal albums being released in the 80s. Nothing special whatsoever.

The opening track "The Other Side of Midnight" is a good opener for this kind of album, but establishes the fact that the album would not turn away from this sound throughout its length. "Stay on Top" is really the only interesting track on the album as it has a nice, driving bass line which is emphasized quite well. But, this isn't enough to convince anyone to get the album. "Lonely Nights" is a cover of a Bryan Adams song, and when I way it doesn't get any better than that for the rest of the album, then you will know what you are getting in to here. Just boring pop-metal music which won't challenge anyone.

The bonus tracks don't really help anything either. You get the non-album b-side to "Stay on Top" called "Playing for Time" (which is all they are doing here), and extended demo track "Searching" and the three live cuts, two of which are tracks from the album and the other one is "Angel" from the equally bad album "Equator", which was released in 1985.

There is nothing on this album that will recall the excellent music from the band's past, in fact, nothing that will even remind you of that at all. This album could have been done by anyone, and you wouldn't know the difference. When it's all said and done, nothing on this album showed any signs of the band getting any worse, but likewise it shows no sign of things getting any better either. Unless you are a fan of the metal that came from the decade that this was released, there is no reason to look for this one at all.

Latest members reviews

1 stars Yet another 1980's release by Uriah Heep that screams average hard rock/heavy metal. Ratt...Bon Jovi...Poison...Judas Priest...Survivor...Scorpions...Spinal's all here in blaring lead vocals, lame rock anthem chants, and mediocre overused guitar solos. The cliches are here in force. ... (read more)

Report this review (#445181) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Well, after the great album of 1982, Abominog, this thing came out. Hardly any prog, with lots of hard rock and heavy metal, it's just a really boring album, to make it easy. There isn't much too it besides some really nice guitar riffs, guitar solo's the we have heard before, and some balla ... (read more)

Report this review (#258246) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Is Uriah Heep a prog-rock band? Well, is Asia a prog-rock band then? Both - are not - a true prog-rock band, but Heep did make several albums in the early 70s with prog nuance. Ken Hensley roaring keys/organ certainly contribute to that. Head First is their second album following their revival ... (read more)

Report this review (#31368) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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