R.I.P. Uriah Heep Keyboardist and Songwriter Ken Hensley
He contributed to the British rock outfit's first 13 albums
"Ken wrote some amazing songs in his tenure with the band, and they will remain a musical legacy that will be in people's hearts forever," Uriah Heep guitarist Mick Box wrote. "His communication through lyrics and melody have stood the test of time, and with the power and chemistry of the band bringing those songs to life, we achieved success we could only have dreamed of."
Born in 1945, Hensley formed a band dubbed the Gods in his 20s with the likes of Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones), Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep, Ozzy Osbourne).
Hensley would join Uriah Heep in 1969, when they were known as Spice, and remained with the group until 1980. In addition to successful singles "Lady in Black" and "Look at Yourself," his playing and songwriting appeared across the band's first 13 albums.
After leaving Uriah Heep, Hensley moved to the United States, leading his own bands and performing with Blackfoot, W.A.S.P., Cinderella and more.
KISS guitarist Paul Stanley recalled touring with Uriah Heep in the 1970s, writing that Hensley was "a huge part of their success and a true rockstar."
In a tribute of his own, Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt called Hensley "more than just a great songwriter. He had the meanest Hammond sound EVER! He made that instrument roar like a beast! There's so many songs he wrote that feels like they're part of my DNA now. It's incredible difficult to fathom how much his music has meant to me, and the rest of us in Opeth."
5th November 2020: I received devastating news this morning from Ken's manager Steve Weltman that Ken Hensley has passed away. I had just finished watching his video of the unboxing of the 50th Anniversary Box Set last night, where he seemed absolutely fine and justifiably proud of his time in Uriah Heep, which has just added to the shock. We may not have always been the best of friends, but there were some wonderful times we shared too, which are the ones I will always remember. Ken wrote some amazing songs in his tenure with the band, and they will remain a musical legacy that will be in people's hearts forever. His communication through lyrics and melody have stood the test of time, and with the power and chemistry of the band bringing those songs to life, we achieved success we could only have dreamed of. My sincere condolences go to his family and wife Monica and may he rest in peace. #kenhensley_uriahheep Mick #URIAHHEEP
RIP Ken Hensley. Uriah Heep toured with us in the seventies. We were thrilled to have them share the stage with us. A classic British powerhouse with a slew of killer songs and soaring harmonies. Ken was a huge part of their success and a true rockstar. https://t.co/IkjQOBsQyV— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) November 5, 2020