David Byron is a British musician, songwriter and vocalist of the legendary rock band Uriah Heep. The singer lived a very short but bright life. Despite the fact that he passed away due to a serious form of alcoholism, for fans of rock music, he will forever remain a genius musician with strong and expressive vocals.
The beginning of the creative path
David Byron (the musician's real name is David Garrick) was born on January 29, 1947 in the small trading town of Epping (Great Britain). David's entire family was very musical. His mother was a vocalist in a jazz band, and David himself began singing when he was five years old.
When Byron was 16 years old, a local musical group offered the young man a job. He performed with him only once, and then moved to a team called "The Stalkers". In this collective, the soloist was fired, and after the first audition, David was accepted into the team.
After a while, David Byron and Mick Box (guitarist of "The Stalkers") formed their own group, which they called "Spice". It consisted of bass player Paul Newton and drummer Alex Napier. The band toured a lot, the musicians got a contract and released their single titled "What About The Music / In Love". During this period, David Garrick suddenly and without explanation changed his name to David Byron.
Musical career with "Uriah Heep"
The group "Spice" gradually gained popularity, regularly giving concerts in clubs. A major change for the better came when manager and producer Jerry Bron joined the team at the end of 1969. On Bron's advice, keyboardist Ken Hansley (formerly of The Gods and Toe Fat) was recruited into Spice in 1970. Ken Hansley turned out to be an innovative musician, very passionate about shaping a new sound in the manner of the band. This fact had a huge impact on the subsequent development of the team. The band was renamed "Uriah Heep" and the musicians began to create their own unique style of hard rock. They incorporated elements of jazz, progressive art rock and heavy metal into their music.
The main difference in their style was the original backing vocals and David Byron's stunning vocal skills. These musical experiments of the group played a significant role in the development of rock music in general. People began to listen to "Uriah Heep": first the musicians gained popularity in Germany, later in Great Britain and America.
The first album "Uriah Heep" "Very 'eavy … Very' umble" was released in the summer of 1970 in America. The record was restrainedly accepted by music critics, they heard in it only the "heaviness" of hard rock, not understanding the main thing - the addition of elements of folk, jazz and symphonic music. Later this disc was put on a par with the cult albums "In Rock" by the group "Deep Purple" and "Paranoid" by the group "Black Sabbath". The main compositions for the album were composed by Box and Byron. The most spectacular work was the song "Gypsy".
During this period, the creative unity of Box-Byron-Hansley arose and began to form. The best expression of this musical union came with the release of their second album, Salisbury. On this disc, Ken Hansley was the author of half of the compositions and the co-author of the second half.
In 1971, Uriah Heep recorded their third CD, Look at Yourself. The title track on the album was "July Morning", which immediately became a hit in Western Europe. The song was originally conceived by David Byron and Ken Hensley. At first, the composition consisted of three fragments in C minor. After many arrangements and corrections, these three passages became the intro, verse and chorus of "July Morning".
According to the observations of music critics, Look at Yourself showed a rare combination of heavy metal and progressive rock styles, and undoubtedly the extraordinary vocal prowess of David Byron, whose voice has become the standard for other vocalists to emulate for many years.
In 1975, Byron released his first solo album, Take No Prisoners. In addition to guest musicians, Ken Hansley, Mick Box and Lee Kerslake participated in his recording.
The album was not commercially successful and was similar in style to "Uriah Heep" in many ways. One of the album's compositions, "Man Full Of Yesterdays", was dedicated to the bass player of "Uriah Heep" - Gary Thane. Gary had serious problems with drug addiction and passed away after the album was released. Many connoisseurs of music later noted that David saw himself in this composition in the near future.
By 1976, David Byron was having serious alcohol problems. In this regard, his relationship with the musicians of "Uriah Heep" began to deteriorate. As a result, at the end of the next tour in the summer of 1976, the musician was fired from the group.
All subsequent soloists of "Uriah Heep" expected constant comparisons with Byron, more and more proving the extraordinary vocal abilities of the musician.
After leaving Uriah Heep, David teamed up with guitarists Clem Clemson and Jeff Britton to form his own band, Rough Diamond. The group did not have much success, and the album "On the Rocks" released by the collective became the last disc by David Byron.
The musician's problems with alcoholism worsened more and more. There were several disrupted concerts, at one of which, Byron lost consciousness as soon as he entered the stage.
On February 28, 1985, the musician was found dead in his own apartment. He did not die of alcohol, as many thought, but of a heart attack. At that time, David gave up drinking. After autopsy, no alcohol was found in his blood, but his liver was completely destroyed.
David Byron met his love in 1970. Gabriella Liman was only 15 years old, and he was 23 years old. The girl worked as a fashion model at a rock festival where David performed. After they met, they began to correspond, soon it grew into a serious relationship and love. They married on January 28, 1977, when Gabriella came of age. The musician dedicated the song "Spider Woman" to his beloved wife.