Former Uriah Heep keyboardist Ken Hensley passed away on November 4: Mick Box expresses ‘deep shock’ at his death
Born Kenneth William David Hensley on August 24, 1945, the keyboard player first attracted the national spotlight as a member of The Gods, who featured future Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, and recorded two albums, 1968’s Genesis and 1969’s To Samuel A Son, for Columbia Records. The group also released the album Orgasm under the pseudonym Head Machine.
Hensley joined guitarist Mick Boxand vocalist David Byron in the band Spice in February 1970: shortly afterwards, the Londoners changed the group’s name to Uriah Heep.
“We'd actually recorded half the first album [1970’s classic …Very ‘Eavy… Very ‘Umble] when we decided that keyboards would be good for our sound,” Mick Box recalled. “I was a big Vanilla Fudge fan, with their Hammond organ and searing guitar on top, and we had David's high vibrato vocals anyway, so that's how we decided to shape it.”
“I saw a lot of potential in the group to do something very different,” remembered Hensley.
Hensley wrote or co-wrote the majority of Uriah Heep’s songs until his departure from the band in 1980, including the hit singles Easy Livin’, Stealin’, Lady In Black and Free Me.