Uriah Heep — Return To Fantasy (1975)
The eighth studio album of Uriah Heep is exactly what the title says — i.e. their return to the fantasy concept that brought fame to the band in 1972 and from which they decided to distance themselves ‘for security reasons’ in 1973. A touch of fantasy and mysticism in the lyrics in addition to great music made “Return To Fantasy” a hit in the UK: the album charted for 6 weeks peaking at No. 7*.
In contrast to the UK success, in the USA the reaction was less impressive comparing to the previous years: “Return To Fantasy” charted only for 10 weeks peaking at No. 85. Since the album was primarily addressed to the US audience, those stats were disappointing.
“Return To Fantasy” was the first album recorded by the new line-up: John Wetton (ex-King Crimson) replaced Gary Thain who was sacked from the band in the end of 1974. Tracks already recorded with Gary on bass were re-recorded by John. The recording sessions took place at Lansdowne and Morgan Studios in the spring of 1975. “Return To Fantasy” was released in July 1975 by Bronze Records, and the band embarked upon a massive tour that should last for a year. Gerry Bron announced that during that tour Uriah Heep would play to a million people.
“Return To Fantasy” is similar to “Wonderworld” in terms of each member’s contribution to the songs. Hensley, Box, Byron, and Kerslake are credited as co-writers on the most tracks, except for “Your Turn To Remember” and “A Year Or A Day”. The fact that Ken’s contribution to the album seemed to decrease comparing to the previous years is quite understandable if you take into account that in 1975 he released his second solo album, “Eager To Please”, and most of his new material was realised there. Later Byron told in the interviews that most basic ideas for “Return To Fantasy” were his own, and it was the reason why the next Uriah Heep’s album, “High And Mighty”, was based entirely on Ken’s songs.
- Return To Fantasy (Hensley/Byron) 5:52
- Shady Lady (Hensley/Box/Byron/Kerslake) 4:46
- Devil’s Daughter (Byron/Box/Hensley/Kerslake) 4:48
- Beautiful Dream (Hensley/Byron/Box/Kerslake) 4:52
- Prima Donna (Byron/Box/Kerslake/Hensley) 3:11
- Your Turn To Remember (Hensley) 4:22
- Showdown (Hensley/Byron/Box/Kerslake) 4:17
- Why Did You Go (Byron/Box/Hensley/Kerslake) 3:53
- A Year Or A Day (Hensley) 4:22
- David Byron — vocals
- Ken Hensley — keyboards, guitars, synthesizer, vocals
- Mick Box — guitars
- Lee Kerslake — drums
- John Wetton — bass guitar
Producer — Gerry Bron
Engineer — Peter Gallen
Assisted by: Dave Burns and Dave Harris.
Bonus tracks on re-issue CDs:
- Shout It Out (B side of Prima Donna single)
- The Time Will Come (B side of Return To Fantasy single)
- Beautiful Dream (previously unreleased)
- Return To Fantasy (edited version)
- Shout It Out
- The Time Will Come
- Prima Donna (alternate demo)
- Why Did You Go (alternate demo)
- Showdown (alternate demo)
- Beautiful Dream (alternate demo)
- Return To Fantasy (extended version)
* Charts stats according to davidbyron.net.
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