The Magician's Birthday

The Magician's Birthday is the fifth album by British rock band Uriah Heep, released in November 1972 by Bronze Records in the UK and Mercury Records in the US. The concept was "based loosely on a short story" written by keyboardist Ken Hensley in June and July 1972.[1]

The Magician's Birthday
TheMagiciansBirthday.jpg
Cover art by Roger Dean
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1, 1972
RecordedSeptember–October 1972
StudioLansdowne Studios, London
Genre
Length37:34
Label
ProducerGerry Bron
Uriah Heep chronology
Demons and Wizards
(1972)
The Magician's Birthday
(1972)
Sweet Freedom
(1973)
Singles from The Magician's Birthday
  1. "Sweet Lorraine" / "Blind Eye"
    Released: 1972 (North America only)
  2. "Spider Woman" / "Sunrise"
    Released: 1972 (Europe and Japan)

The original vinyl release was a gatefold sleeve, the front designed again by Roger Dean. The inner fold had pictures of the band, with the album itself housed in a liner on which were printed the lyrics.

The single "Sweet Lorraine" / "Blind Eye" reached No. 91 in the US Hot 100 chart.[2] The single "Spider Woman" reached No. 14 in Germany.[3] The Magician's Birthday was certified gold by the RIAA on 22 January 1973.[4]

The album was remastered and reissued by Castle Communications in 1996 with two bonus tracks, and again in 2003 in an expanded deluxe edition. In 2017, Sanctuary Records released a two-disc version.

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [5]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[6]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal9/10[7]
Record Collector     [8]

The Magician's Birthday received mixed reviews from contemporary critics. Mike Saunders, writing for Creem, called the album "a package full of dreck", finding the first side of the LP "listenable" despite poor production and side two downright "irritating".[9] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau described the songs on the album as "third-hand heavy metal fantasies (...) hooked to some clean, powerful arrangements, and a good melody or two."[6]

Modern reviews are more positive. AllMusic reviewer remarked the album's prog elements and wrote that "The Magician's Birthday never quite hits the consistent heights of Look at Yourself or Demons and Wizards, but remains a solid listen for Uriah Heep fans".[5] Joe Geesein of Record Collector praised the musicians and the good sound of the album's reissue, but wrote that most of the songs "don’t stand up quite out so well" in comparison with opener "Sunrise" or the single "Spider Woman".[8] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff called The Magician's Birthday "another colourful, mystical journey", although "somewhat disjointed, less accessible and in total much less metallic" than previous efforts, "culminating in the band's most harrowing, nightmarish epic of them all, the ten minute title track."[7]

Track listingsEdit

All tracks are written by Ken Hensley except where noted[1].

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Sunrise" 4:04
2."Spider Woman"Mick Box, David Byron, Lee Kerslake, Gary Thain2:25
3."Blind Eye" 3:33
4."Echoes in the Dark" 4:48
5."Rain" 4:00
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Sweet Lorraine"Box, Byron, Thain4:13
7."Tales" 4:09
8."The Magician's Birthday"Box, Hensley, Kerslake10:21
1996 Remastered Edition bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
9."Silver White Man"Byron3:40
10."Crystal Ball"Thain4:08
2003 Expanded Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
9."Crystal Ball" (out-take and previously unreleased version)Thain4:08
10."Silver White Man" (out-take and previously unreleased vocal version)Byron3:40
11."Proud Words" (previously unreleased version) 3:24
12."Echoes in the Dark" (edited version - previously unreleased) 4:23
13."Rain" (edited version - previously unreleased) 3:16
14."Happy Birthday" (previously unreleased) 4:44
15."Sunrise" (single edit - previously unreleased) 2:49
16."Gary's Song" (out-take - previously unreleased)Thain4:25
17."Silver White Man" (instrumental out-take)Byron3:43
2017 Expanded Deluxe Edition disc 2 (all titles previously unreleased)
No.TitleLength
1."Echoes in the Dark" (alternate version)3:13
2."Sweet Lorraine" (alternate version)4:56
3."Blind Eye" (alternate version)5:08
4."Tales" (alternate version)4:02
5."Silver White Man" (alternate version)4:08
6."Sunrise" (alternate version)4:25
7."Crystal Ball" (alternate version)4:09
8."Spider Woman" (alternate version)2:38
9."The Magician's Birthday" (alternate version)10:50
10."Rain" (alternate version)4:40
11."Silver White Man" (instrumental alternate version)3:43
12."Happy Birthday" (alternate version)4:42
13."Sunrise" (alternate single version)3:36
14."Sweet Lorraine" (alternate single version)3:38
15."Gary's Song - Crystal Ball" (alternate version)4:23

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from album liner notes[1]

Uriah Heep
Additional musicians
Production
  • Gerry Bron – producer
  • Peter Gallen – engineer
  • Ashley Howe – assistant engineer
  • Gilbert Kong – mastering
  • Mike Brown and Robert Corich – remastering (1996 and 2003 reissues)

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Country Organization Year Sales
U.S. RIAA 1973 Gold (500,000)[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c The Magician's Birthday LP jacket (US Edition). Mercury Records. 1972.
  2. ^ a b "Uriah Heep Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 15 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Single - Uriah Heep, Spider Woman". Charts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "RIAA Database: Search for Uriah Heep". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Guarisco, Donald A. "Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: U". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 17 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (October 2003). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 1: The Seventies. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 302. ISBN 978-1894959025. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Geesin, Joe (December 2015). "Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday". Record Collector. No. 448. Retrieved 18 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Saunders, Mike (March 1973). "Uriah Heep: The Magician's Birthday (Mercury)". Creem. Retrieved 20 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1961: U > Uriah Heep". Sisältää hitin / Timo Pennanen. Retrieved 11 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday (Album)". Norwegiancharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Album – Uriah Heep, The Magician's Birthday". Charts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Uriah Heep Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ AA.VV. (25 April 2006). Album Chart-Book Complete Edition 1970~2005. Tokyo, Japan: Oricon. ISBN 978-487-1-31077-2.
  15. ^ "The Magician's Birthday - Uriah Heep". Danske Hitlister.dk. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 26 May 1973". Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 18, No. 25, February 03, 1973". Library and Archives Canada. 3 February 1973. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "Uriah Heep Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 4 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)