Uriah Heep entered the ’80s on a downward slide. Conquest was released in 1980, and following the departure of Ken Hensley, and eventually the whole Conquest line-up – the band had split up in ’81. Mick Box would revamp the band welcoming back Lee Kerslake, and adding Bob Daisley [bass], John Sinclair [keys], and lastly singer Peter Goalby. the latter had not been chosen in previous auditions [in favor of Sloman]. Producer Ashley Howe highly recommended Goalby this time, and the band got to work on a new album.
Abominog was released to strong reviews, and the single “That’s The Way That It Is” [penned by Paul Bliss] – charted in various countries, including the US where the video for the song was in regular rotation on MTV. the band toured extensively – everywhere, making a very respectable return to North America. the band’s follow up was Head First – with less outside penned tracks, but with record company problems at Bronze and at Mercury [North America], the album suffered on promotion and getting out there, particularly in North America where changes at Mercury pre-determined the album’s fate. For me this was a stronger album – particularly side 2 – the Best LP side from the band during the ’80s.
Following Head First‘s released, Bob Daisley left Heep and returned to work with Ozzy Osbourne, and Trevor Bolder rejoined [after recording one album with Wishbone Ash]. After some big tours [supporting Def Leppard, Judas Priest, etc…] – the band was out of a record deal, with Bronze eventually folding. They signed to Portrait [a label under CBS] and recorded with the Equator album. Instead of Ashley Howe, Tony Platt was brought in to produce [credits included Samson, Iron Maiden, Krokus, AC/DC…] . For whatever reason, in the mix and use of then-modern technology [guesting was Gary Moberly who played with Sweet in the late ’70s], the album’s sound was tough to handle for many fans, and the MTV aimed pop of “Rockarama” turned off many [despite it being a big single release and video]. But, take the songs, and there are a number of gems on this album. The band would be back out on a huge world tour, which eventually got to be too much for Goalby, who left in 1986, to get out of “the circus”, and focus on other things in his life. John Sinclair also left [joining Ozzy’s band, as well]. Phil Lanzon [ex Grand Prix, Sweet] joined and has gone on to be a major writer for the band.
Initially the band chose American Stephen [Stef] Fontaine [ex Joshua – check out The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye from 1983!], as their new singer. Nothing was recorded during the time, and for various reasons Fontaine was left in the US, following a 3 month North American tour. Fontaine did fit the ’80s stuff vocally, and was a big fan of the Goalby era. “I love the Equator album with a passion! For some reason very few people bought that, but it’s my favorite Uriah Heep record.”
By the new year the band chose transplanted Canadian singer Bernie Shaw [ex Grand Prix, Stratus], and went on to their historic concerts in Moscow, thus releasing Live In Moscow [with 3 new songs in the set]. They would try and repeat the success of Abominog with the recording of Raging Silence, which would feature a number of outside-penned tracks, most notably a cover of Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up” and the big single “Blood Red Roses” – which had been penned for the band by Peter Goalby! The album received favorable reviews, but didn’t succeed where Abominog had. The band would continue to tour, and would enter the ’90s with a line-up that would last for another 16 years.
Following his departure from Heep, Goalby released a solo single, guested on a few recordings [most notably Slade], and in 1992 contributed to John Parr’s Man In Motion album, co-writing and playing rhythm guitar on 3 tracks – including the single “It’s Startin’ All Over Again”. There was also a live performance of War Of The Worlds with Uli Roth, in ’92 [which included a few other singers and orchestra].
Peter Goalby would also get a publishing deal with Rondor Music, and record some demos for a solo album – which never ended up being finished or released. Some of these tracks are easily available through youtube, and showed promise. A shame they were never done, and a bit sad that Goalby dropped out of making music and performing; opting to go on [with great success] working behind the scenes for a guitar company and in latter years a road case company. He was an underrated writer and solid singer and he played a major role and who contributed greatly to Heep’s resurrection and success in the ’80s.
Here’s my list of 10 Heep classics from the Peter Goalby era –
Too Scared To Run
This song kicked off Abominog and the band’s comeback with a huge riff, a heavy rocker that gets you in to this album right away.
Another song from Goalby. I love the 1-2 punch of the beginning of Abominog. Just a great song. Huge solo from Mick!
On The Rebound
I know many will disagree with this one being included. Yes – it’s a cover, it’s got a synth bass line [because Daisley hated it], and it’s very poppy. But – it was chosen to show that the band could do new things. and I’ve said before – you can not go wrong with a Russ Ballard song!
Sell Your Soul
From Abominog. Lee Kerslake kills this. I think playing on the the 2 Blizzard of Ozz albums really played a part in his performance on the Goalby era albums. Love the vocal, the guitar, a very heavy track, and must’ve been great live!
Following the “Roll-Overture” that opens side 2 of Head First. “Red Lights” comes blaring in . It’s one of the hardest hitting, fast rockers of the Goalby era. Great driving song!
The closing song to Head First, and it’s another heavy power rocker. During this era the band closed each album with such a track. Lee and Bob sounded so good together, like this song is as heavy as anything on the BOZ albums. Wish i had lyrics to this album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDO_KbIsrfY
A great little forgotten rocker from Equator. Ya know, for all the ballads, covers, and a few too poppy tunes the band did during this era, they really did A Lot of great guitar rock tunes, with Mick Box really coming to the forefront of the bands sound, far more than the 70s.
Poor Little Rich Girl
I love this one – the acoustic, the solo, the vocal. as close to an epic as Heep got in the 80s. One of Goalby’s proudest moments, tho’ he wasn’t happy with the string piece in the middle. It was a single, and a classic Heep tune IMO. (1) Poor Little Rich Girl – YouTube
A b-side. I’ve always loved this tune. Despite ’80s Heep being more guitar heavy, keyboardist John Sinclair came up with a lot of great intros. This one was penned about Goalby’s best four-legged friend, who he took to the odd few shows with a Heep shirt on.
Night of The Wolf
Equator included a few really good rockers [and a few duds]. This one being my favorite. love the spooky intro from John Sinclair, before the band comes in and blazes away. Goalby was so good at these type of songs, big vocal! this is one that must’ve been something live, and one from the 80s that’d be cool to hear in the band’s live set now.
Peter Goalby’s Pre-Heep Recordings-
Fable – Fable
Produced by Peter Shelley, who would create the Alvin Stardust character, and had co-founded Magnet Records. Mike Stone was a co-engineer on this album – Stone would go on to engineer and/or produce Queen, Journey, April Wine, Whitesnake, Helix, and numerous others. Fable was a 5 piece band, who’d release a few singles and this lone LP. Peter Goalby wrote 8 of the 10 tracks, was lead singer, as well as contributing guitar, mandolin and violin.
This is kind of a middle of the road pop-rock album, drawing in a number of different sounds and styles. nothing really heavy, but a number of good songs such as “She Knows How To Love Me” [co-written by Goalby and keyboardist Paul Robbins], “Four Horsemen” [penned by Robbins, who was a big CSNY fan, as the band would regularly perform CSNY tunes in their set], the quirky “Google Eye Eye”, and rockin “Hard Times” [penned by Robbins]. Fave track is Goalby’s “Madolin” , a neat little upbeat folk-pop track, featuring mandolin, with an intro curiously like Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” [interesting to note that Queen was recording around the same time with Mike Stone, in the same studios].
The cover appears to be a tree with the band’s name carved in it. Looks neat on the front, but makes the lyrics on the back [in white] difficult to read. This album also saw a few single releases with picture sleeves, so there must’ve been some push in promoting it early on. I wonder how it did!? Good luck finding a copy!
“We were a very very good cover band, 5-piece, everyone sang. ..I started to write songs and then we started to get noticed, then the other guys started to write a bit….No real direction – just pleased that we had some of our own stuff to play.”
Both Peter Mackie and Paul Robbins would go on to work with Roy Wood [ex The Move, ELO]. Not sure what became of the others, but would be curious to know [!?]
Following Fable, Magnet was only interested in re-signing Goalby, but wanted to groom him as a pop singer [Magnet had a roster of pop and glam acts]. He recorded a few solo singles, as well as writing for others — he penned the hit “The Bump” for Zig Zag, as well as the follow up – “Keep On Bumpin” – both produced by Barry Blue! John Fiddy would produce as well as handle orchestra arrangements on one of Goalby’s solo singles [Fiddy had previously worked on Heep’s “Salisbury”]. – “They put me in the studio with a guy who put loads of strings on my songs and took them down the Jack Jones route.” . When he asked by Magnet boss Michael Levy [Lord Levy] what He wanted – Goalby told him he wanted to be a rock singer, and left Magnet soon after.
At some point before Trapeze, Goalby was in Blackmore’s Rainbow for a month, after playing a song he wrote in to the phone for Blackmore and then going to New York [Heep alumni Mark Clarke had also briefly been in Rainbow prior to Goalby. *thanks HK] – “I found Ritchie very difficult. I did not know what he really wanted, I just could not fit in.”
Trapeze – Hold On / Live In Texas
Following his solo deal, and turning down a few band opportunities – Goalby joined Trapeze as singer and 2nd guitarist, to aid Mel Galley. This line-up also featured Pete Wright on bass and the late Dave Holland on drums. In what would be the last Trapeze studio, Goalby penned 3 tracks – the single “Don’t Ask Me How I Know”, “When You Go To Heaven”, and “Livin’ On Love” – all solid tracks on this album. This album is a big step up from the lighter Fable and his poppy solo single since. Co-Produced by Jimmy Miller – known for his work with the Stones, and who’d go on to work briefly with Heep, with sessions that were never finished or released.
Trapeze went out on tour [they were always big in certain areas of the US, most notably Texas]. Live In Texas – Dead Armadillos was released in 1981, but by then Goalby had opted to join Uriah Heep. The band was huge in Texas, but management couldn’t get the band support much beyond that. “I remember the next time we toured America, we were special guests to Nazareth. when we hit Houston they asked if we wanted to go on second. Mel said No, and when we finished our set – most of the crowd left with us!” This is a great energetic live set, featuring 6 Trapeze classics, and Goalby sounding like he always belonged. It was his first time playing in the US. Also featured Steve Bray on drums, who would briefly join The Byron Band!
*Cherry Red Records [UK] recently released a 2 CD Trapeze collection – “Leavin’ The Hard Times Behind : The Best of Trapeze”. Disc 1 features 17 Trapeze classics, while disc 2 features the first concert Peter Goalby ever sang with the band, aired on radio at the time, in April of ’77. The packaging also featues plenty of liner notes, and insight from former bandmembers – including Goalby. Check it out > https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/trapeze-leavin-the-bad-times-behind-the-best-of-trapeze-2cd/
More on Trapeze another time….
Peter Goalby quotes – 2002 KJJ