Uriah Heep, singer/multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley was born in Hertforshire, England, on August 24, 1945. During the mid-'60s, he formed the psychedelic blues combo the Gods with Greg Lake (subsequently of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, although only Hensley remained from the original lineup by the 1968 release of their debut album Genesis. Upon issuing To Samuel a Son the following year, the band added Cliff Bennett and rechristened themselves Toe Fat. A pair of John Peel-produced LPs followed before Toe Fat split and in 1970, Hensley signed on to play guitar and keyboards in Spice, soon renamed Uriah Heep in honor of the Charles Dickens character. Despite near-unanimous critical animosity, Uriah Heep earned a loyal following in hard rock circles and in 1973, Hensley recorded his solo debut, Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf, with the aid of bandmates Lee Kerslake and Gary Thain. Eager to Please followed two years later and after completing Uriah Heep's 1980 album Conquest, Hensley left the group to mount a full-time solo career, issuing Free Spirit in 1981. The year following he joined the Florida hard rock outfit Blackfoot, remaining with the group until they disbanded in 1984. Hensley then settled into semi-retirement, collecting his unreleased material on the 1994 collection From Time to Time.
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