Ken Hensley, Uriah Heep founding member, dead at 75
Ken Hensley, former keyboardist, vocalist and founding member of hard rock/prog band Uriah Heep, has died at age 75. The sad news was shared via Uriah Heep's Facebook where the band's Mick Box wrote, "We may not have always been the best of friends, but there were some wonderful times we shared too, which are the ones I will always remember. Ken wrote some amazing songs in his tenure with the band, and they will remain a musical legacy that will be in people’s hearts forever. His communication through lyrics and melody have stood the test of time, and with the power and chemistry of the band bringing those songs to life, we achieved success we could only have dreamed of."
Having formed in 1969, Uriah Heep had a string of classic albums in the '70s, including ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble, Demons and Wizards, The Demon's Birthday, and more. Hensley wrote or co-wrote many of the band's most famous songs, including "Easy Livin'" (their only U.S. Top 40 hit), "Lady in Black," "July Morning" and "Stealin'."
Hensley left Uriah Heep in 1980 and went on to play with American group Blackfoot, John Lawton, and formed his own group, Ken Hensley & Live Fire. He reunited with the band a few times over the years as well.
Tributes to Ken have been rolling in on social media. "Ken was more than just a great songwriter," wrote Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt. "He had the meanest Hammond sound EVER! He made that instrument roar like a beast! There’s so many songs he wrote that feels like they’re part of my DNA now. It’s incredibly difficult to fathom how much his music has meant to me, and the rest of us in Opeth."
David Coverdale, of Deep Purple and Whitesnake, wrote "Starting the day with sad news....R.I.P. Ken...XXX."
Rest in peace, Ken.
Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake died in September.