Ken Hensley, Former Keyboardist and Guitarist for Uriah Heep, Dead at 75
Former Uriah Heep member Ken Hensley has died at the age of 75.
The musician wrote and performed with the English rock band throughout the 1970s, principally playing keyboards and synthesizers. However, he also contributed guitar and vocals during his time in Uriah Heep. He even sang lead on the outfit's 1971 single "Lady in Black," a song solely credited to Hensley.
The musician died on Wednesday (Nov. 4), although a cause of death has not been made public. Hensley's brother, Trevor, announced the news in a Facebook post the following day.
"I am writing this with a heavy heart to let you know that my brother Ken Hensley passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening," Trevor said. "His beautiful wife Monica was at his side and comforted Ken in his last few minutes with us. We are all devastated by this tragic and incredibly unexpected loss and ask that you please give us some space and time to come to terms with it."
The keyboardist was born Kenneth William David Hensley on Aug. 24, 1945, in London, as Classic Rock reported. Before his time in Uriah Heep, the musician performed as a member of a band called the Gods, which featured future Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. The Gods released a pair of albums on Columbia Records in 1968 and 1969 before changing their name to Head Machine and issuing a final effort, Orgasm, in 1970.
Hensley joined Uriah Heep in 1969 as the Gods were wrapping up. His invitation to join the act, then fronted by the late David Byron, came from Heep's bassist at the time, Paul Newton. Hensley stayed with the band till 1980.
With Heep, Hensley contributed to the studio albums ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble (1970), Salisbury (1971), Look at Yourself (1971), Demons and Wizards (1972), The Magician's Birthday (1972), Sweet Freedom (1973), Wonderworld (1974), Return to Fantasy (1975), High and Mighty (1976), Firefly (1977), Innocent Victim (1977), Fallen Angel (1978) and Conquest (1980). His playing can also be heard on live albums such as 1973's Uriah Heep Live and the 1986 retrospective recording, Live at Shepperton '74.
As noted by Ultimate Classic Rock, Hensley spent time working with rock and metal acts such as W.A.S.P., Cinderella, Blackfoot and others following his departure from Heep; he also led his own band, Live Fire.
In Thursday's Facebook update, the musician's brother said that "Ken will be cremated in a private ceremony in Spain. … Ken has gone but he will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts."
Hensley's death comes not long after his fellow Uriah Heep bandmate, Lee Kerslake, also passed away. Kerslake played drums with Heep for most of the '70s, returning in 1981 and leaving again in 2007. He also drummed for Ozzy Osbourne at one time. Kerslake died on Sept. 19 at the age of 73.
Uriah Heep, "Lady in Black"
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