The story of David Byron - from success with Uriah Heep to the last days of his life

"David was one of the best vocalists I've ever worked with, simply because he never sang songs: he lived for music..."

David Byron - full biography: photos, facts, details of his personal life

David Byron - a well-known British rocker, whose popularity came in the composition Uriah Heep, a hard rock band, one of the founders and vocalist of which he was ... With her, in fact, Byron recorded 9 worthy albums and reached the first positions of the world rock arena. After leaving the group, he plunged headlong into solo swimming, and perhaps the list of his victories and achievements would be much wider if he lived to this day: unfortunately, the life of one of the most influential British musicians was cut short in 1985 year, aged 38 years... Despite the status of a violent rock and roll, the fate of David Byron was quite difficult and by no means as carefree as it might seem at first glance ...

The early years of the future legend

David Byron
David Byron

David Byron, probably one of the greatest representatives of hard rock! Being the frontman Uriah Heep, he became the idol of millions! His rich discography also includes solo work, however... he is not often remembered today. And it's really sad, because this man had a great influence on the current generation of hard rock musicians and vocalists ...

David Garrick (real name of our hero) was born January 29, 1947 in Essex, in the South of England. To some extent, he can be envied, because he grew up and was brought up in a creative family, because of which (for the most part) his future career was literally destined from an early age ... In October 1973 the musician gave an interview Muziek Expressin which he said the following:

“For the first time I performed a song 22 years ago, that is, at the age of 5 years! This is where it all started… My mother sang in a jazz band, so I had someone to look up to! In fact, my whole family was very musical… Who played musical instruments, who tap-danced…” David continues: “At about the same age (5 years) I got my first fame! I performed in a children's TV show, although it was not a very serious step towards fame: I had an ensemble that didn’t even have a name - it didn’t give a single concert and broke up exactly two weeks later!

David Byron
David Byron

However, in 16 years fate gave David second chance:

“A local group offered me a job. I performed with them once and immediately moved to Mick Box's band, The Stalkers…”

After David performed "Johnny B. Goode", he was accepted into the group immediately!

Musical beginnings and the birth of Uriah Heep

Uriah Heep
Uriah Heep

As already mentioned above, David Byron began his ascent with the guitarist Mick Box! However, in the ranks The Stalkers friends were not listed for long: already in 1967, Byron and Box founded their own project called Spice, which would later receive the more famous and influential name in rock history Uriah Heep! By the way: titleUriah Heep) was inspired by the name of a character in the novel Charles Dickens "David Copperfield".

Major Success

Uriah Heep
Uriah Heep

As for the name itself David, then at some point he decided to become "Byron". According to the memories Boxing, it happened spontaneously and without explanation, but, as the guitarist put it, "... the wife of the then manager somehow influenced the name change."

After the group changed its name, it finally made many countries talk about itself! At first it was Germany, then Great Britain, even later their work reached States… Byron, in turn, impeccably personified the charismatic and expressive frontman: he was not only the creative epicenter of Heep, but also a co-author of the group's early hit tracks! As the participants themselves said, many songs - including "Easy Livin'." - specially designed "Under Byron": that is, first of all, his effective stage presentation was taken into account ... Cold and restrained at first, very soon the critics began to praise his outstanding vocal, close to opera!

In 1973 year Uriah Heep under Byron's direction, they released what is arguably one of the greatest live albums of all time: Live 1973 was recorded during a cold English January in the historical Birmingham Town Hall in the industrial heart of the Midlands. This disc demonstrates the band at the very peak of their bright and unrestrained power...


David Byron
David Byron

Generally, Byron sang on 10 albums Heepamong which Salisbury, Sweet Freedom and last joint High and Mighty. Already in the middle 70s he released his solo record, which was attended by his former colleagues in Heep - Boxing, Hensley and Kerslake. Over the years of fame, David Byron also gained a dubious reputation as a drunk, which ultimately led to his dismissal from the group: it was a very romanticized and sad conclusion to the Spanish tour. 1976 years ... Ken Hensley recalled:

“David couldn’t put up with the fact that things could go wrong the way he wanted… And then he sought solace in a bottle…”

In place of Byron came John Lawton, and according to the group's manager, Bron, "he was fired in the interests of Uriah Heep»:

"The rest of the group felt they could no longer reconcile David's position with their own..."

Solo career

After his dismissal, Byron took up a solo career, as a result of which he recorded 3 albums: Take No Prisoners, Baby Faced Killer and That Was Only Yesterday, recorded a year before his death. During this period, together with Clem Clempson and Jeff Britton, it forms Rough Diamond - a project in which the eponymous and completely unsuccessful commercially LP was recorded.

After David tried his luck with The Byron Band, formed with Robin George: several singles and an album were released On the Rocks, however ... success was not followed.

At the beginning of 80s former members of Uriah Heep, Boxing and Trevor Bolder, offered Byron a hand with a proposal to reunite (the reason was the departure of Ken Hensley), but the once rejected David refused.

The last years of his life

David Byron
David Byron

Over the years, Byron's alcohol addiction only worsened ... His last concerts turned into a series of setbacks and failures, especially the one at the Marquee club, which was disrupted due to the fact that the musician lost consciousness just a few minutes after entering the stage ... February 28, 1985 influential rocker David Byron was found dead in his apartment in Reading: the cause of death was a heart attack ... He was only 38 years

And although the official cause of death was not alcoholism (alcohol was not found either in the blood or in the singer's house), its long-term consequences were obvious: the musician's liver was completely destroyed ...


David Byron
David Byron

Finally, I want to listen to colleague and comrade David Byron, Mika Boksa:

“David was one of the best vocalists I have ever worked with, simply because he never sang a song: he lived for the music… So he touched everyone who heard his voice, he was very convincing. I think that was his biggest asset. After that, he became a charismatic person and was a star 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ... And he never abandoned his role: as long as I could do my job, leave the stage and be an ordinary person like anyone else, he did not could - he had to live with music ... "


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