Magician's Birthday

How does the band follow up with such a huge success as the previous release?  Ken Hensley had a concept album idea he was working on and was writing a short story at the time.   With time constraints placed upon the band the idea would be reformatted into what became this LP.   Three songs from that original idea would form the basis for this release; The Magician's Birthday, Echoes In The Dark and Tales.  This release again would feature cover artwork by Roger Dean and the final one from the classic lineup.

Sunrise may arguably be the best opening track on any Heep release, the mellow feel to the lyrics and the mood of the music set the perfect tone.  Spider Woman had a great guitar riff but the lyrics weren't up to the same level but yet it did reach # 13 on the German singles chart.  Blind Eye [peeked at # 97 on the US singles charts], Echoes In The Dark and Rain [released as well on Ken Hensley's solo album Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf] round out the remainder of side one.   Side one of the album demonstrated a softer side of the classic sound but the last three tracks and Sunrise would stand out on any release.   

Side two opened with Sweet Lorraine [which was also released as a single and charted in the US at # 91].   This song remained in the live set off and on for years but the original track was much slower then the live version, even that is demonstrated on Live 73.  Another Hensley classic in Tales follows this before the album finished off with the epic The Magician's Birthday.   The title track featured David and Ken exchanging lead vocal parts in a tale of good versus evil.   The entire track was never played live by the original lineup.

Overall the album was a success as it charted in the UK for 3 weeks and peeked at # 28.   It was a big hit in Finland as it was the # 1 album for two weeks.   It hit # 5 in Norway and ranked # 10 in Australia.   In the US Magician's charted for 22 weeks and peeked at # 31 and the RIAA certified it "gold" on January 22, 1973.             


Recorded September - October 1972
Lansdowne Studios, London
Initial release November 1972

 

Original Album Credits:

David Byron: Lead Vocals
Ken Hensley: Keyboards, Guitars, Moog Synthesizer
Mick Box: Guitars
Lee Kerslake: Drums and Percussion
Gary Thain: Bass

Produced by: Gerry Bron
Engineer: Peter Gallen
Assistant Engineer: Ashley Howe
Cover Design by: Roger Dean
Photography by: Fin Costello

All Arrangements by: Uriah Heep
EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
1972 Bronze Records Ltd.

Track Listing: (sample audio files marked in yellow)

Side A:
1.
Sunrise (Hensley) 4:04
2. Spider Woman (Box / Byron / Kerslake / Thain) 2:25
3.
Blind Eye  (Hensley) 3:33
4. Echoes In The Dark  (Hensley) 4:48
5. Rain  Hensley) 3:59

Side B:
1. Sweet Lorriane (Box / Byron / Thain) 4:13

2. Tales  (Hensley) 4:09
3. The Magician's Birthday (Hensley / Box / Kerslake) 10:23

1996 Remaster Bonus Tracks:
Silver White Man
Crystal Ball

2003 Re-Remaster Bonus Tracks:
Crystal Ball (out-take)
Silver White Man (out-take)
Proud Words (version)
Echoes In The Dark (edited version) 
Rain (edited version)
Happy Birthday (previously unreleased)
Sunrise (single edit)
Gary's Song (out-take)
Silver White Man (instrumental - out-take)

 

 

 

 

Single Releases:


 The Magician's Birthday US Promo Ad


Magician's Birthday / Russian EP

 


Spider Woman / Austria

 


Spider Woman / Germany

 


Spider Woman / Holland

 


Spider Woman / Spain

 


Sunrise / Japan

 


Sunrise / Thailand EP [version one]

 


Sunrise / Thailand EP [version two]

 


Sweet Lorraine / Italy

 


Sweet Lorraine / Thailand EP

Alternate Promo Ad:


The Magician's Birthday UK Promo Ad

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