Progressive rockers URIAH HEEP will be rejoined by an old friend for a limited run of dates in May 2013 when they tour The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. John Lawton, who was lead vocalist between 1976 and 1979, will reunite with the group to cover for Bernie Shaw, who requires some time off for a routine medical procedure. John had already been confirmed to perform as a one-off guest at an outdoor amphitheatre HEEP show in Spain on July 12. This show at San Javier will now feature both singers and will serve as an occasion for the band to thank John. As the shows will be recorded for official bootlegs, it promises to be a real treat for the fans. The sets will be skewed to songs reflecting John‘s original tenure with the band, a celebration of classic 1970s URIAH HEEP. this will be a unique chance to catch such a nostalgic performance, fronted by an ex-URIAH HEEP legend, always a friend of the band, who has returned while Bernie Shaw recuperates.
Commented Bernie (pictured below): “To all the lifelong fans and followers of URIAH HEEP, I’m afraid I’m being forced to step back from position of lead singer of one of the best damn rock and roll bands on the live circuit today, albeit for just a couple of weeks rehabilitation, due to medical reasons.
“In order to fulfil contractual obligations, we came up with the idea of contacting John Lawton to ask if he would do the legacy proud, so to speak and do the shows that I won’t be able to do. He’s got the history, and by God, he still has the voice! John and I will be sharing the same stage and singing together in San Javier, Spain later on this summer. ‘Till then, I feel I’m leaving you in very capable hands, and a rare chance to see John singing songs from his era in this present lineup. I am most indebted to John and salute his passion.”
In true HEEP style, the gig schedule is as busy as ever. The “Nail On The Head” tour has already seen the band perform 10 acclaimed shows across the U.K. and the band will have performed across much of Europe by the time they take the Download stage — helping to kick things off in style with an appearance on the opening date, June 14.
Originally founded by Mick Box in 1969, URIAH HEEP is truly one of the pivotal classic acts that helped define the rock sound and an era. Part of the fabled “Big Four” alongside LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and DEEP PURPLE, the HEEP story still has a long way to go. With classic songs like “Lady In Black”, “Gypsy”, “Easy Livin'” and “Stealin'” full of ambition, sophisticated writing, memorable tunes and, of course, the vocals — the five-part harmonies were a clear influence on the operatics of QUEEN.
URIAH HEEP was the first Western rock band to perform in Russia, they have headlined at stadiums worldwide: truly they’ve ensured their place at rock’s top table. With Mick Box always at the helm, URIAH HEEP tours all over the world and is one of music’s most exciting and reliable live acts.
In a more-than-40-year career, URIAH HEEP has released 23 studio albums and sold more than 40 million units; the most recent release was 2011’s “Into The Wild”.
While the band is thrilled to welcome back an old friend in John Lawton, the HEEP story rolls on, and more new music is to come soon.