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Ken Hensley

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Kenneth William David Hensley (born 24 August 1945, Plumstead, South East London, England) is a keyboard (especially Hammond organ) player, guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer best known for his work with Uriah Heep during the 1970s.

He wrote or cowrote the majority of Uriah Heep’s songs during this period, including such hits as “Look at Yourself”, “Lady in Black” (on both of which he also sang lead vocals), “Easy Livin’”, “Stealin’” and “Free Me”.

Biography

Born in London, Hensley moved with his parents, three brothers and sister to Stevenage, Hertfordshire in 1955. He started to learn how to play guitar at the age of 12, from a Bert Weedon manual. His first gig was at The Mentmore Pen Factory, in Stevenage (September 1960). After that, he played with The Blue Notes, Ken And The Cousins and Kit And The Saracens (1962). In 1963, this band evolved into The Jimmy Brown Sound, and they even recorded some now lost songs. At this time, Hensley’s first “professional” opportunity almost came about: they were going to back Ben E. King on a British visit, but it never happened.

In Early 1965, Hensley lost his interest in soul music and formed a band called The Gods, with the young guitarist Mick Taylor, well known later for his work with The Rolling Stones. Ken wrote most of the material, sang and played the Hammond B3 organ (mainly because the band already had the talented Mick Taylor on guitar). What he didn’t know then, was that he would be such an influential musician playing exactly the organ.

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