Former Uriah Heep Keyboardist Ken Hensley Dead at 75

That 70s Guy

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Nova Scotia Canada

Ken Hensley, co-funding former keyboardist with Uriah Heep, died at the age of 75 at home in Spain on Nov. 4, his brother confirmed.

Hensley wrote many of the band’s songs during his tenure from 1970 to 1980, performing guitar and lead vocals on a number of occasions. He later worked with W.A.S.P., Cinderella, Blackfoot and others following his departure and led his own band, Live Fire.

“I am writing this with a heavy heart to let you know that my brother Ken Hensley passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening,” Trevor Hensley wrote on Facebook. “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.”

He noted that “Ken will be cremated in a private ceremony in Spain, so please don’t ask for information about a funeral. Ken has gone but he will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts.”

In a statement, Uriah Heep said Hensley's death took place after a “very short illness," adding that he "was one of the most important musicians of the past half-century. His work with Uriah Heep in the 1970s helped to make the band hugely influential. … A very spiritual person, Hensley became an inspiration to many and known for encouraging talented artists.”

Band leader Mick Box said: “I am in deep shock at the news Ken Hensley has passed away, and my sincere condolences go to his family and wife Monica. 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.”

In an interview with Eonmusic last month, Hensley explained why he had no writing credits on Uriah Heep’s debut album, Very ‘Easy, Very ‘Umble. "When I joined the band, I had a publishing contract with another publisher, which meant they had to hide my name," he explained. "I did, in fact, write songs for the first album, but we just weren't allowed to publicize it, and so it was disguised under Paul Newton's name.”

He noted that the "reason I became the dominant writer was because I always wrote a lot of songs. In the days of vinyl, you could only put eight or nine tracks on an album, and I would go in with 10, 12, 15 songs, and the other guys would bring maybe one or two, so naturally, that's the way it came out.”

Hensley left Uriah Heep after becoming disillusioned with lineup changes, and said, despite a reunion show in Russia in 2015, he had no desire to return. “But to think about what we achieved together and the things that we did and everything else, it still puts a smile on my face,” he said.

The cause of Hensley's death was not revealed. He had recently finished writing a memoir titled My Book of Answers, which is set for publication in February.

Read More: Former Uriah Heep Keyboardist Ken Hensley Dead at 75 |


Senior Member
Feb 28, 2013
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RIP to the driving force behind classic Uriah Heep. I always hoped for a proper reunion of most of the Lawton era, but 4/5 of the quintessential lineup has been reunited.



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Sep 4, 2011
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London Town
Very sad I always thought Ken was interesting in Uriah Heep being a Hammond organ player and a guitarist plus he was a song writer as well.

RIP Ken.


Walking down a dusty road
Aug 8, 2013
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Back in the saddle
One of my all time favourite musicians, I am in total shock.
For me he gave Uriah Heep their unique sound, especially during the David Byron era. His use of the Hammond organ was bettered only by Jon Lord of Deep Purple. Man, that sound. Uriah Heep and Ken Hensley played a massive part in the soundtrack of my youth.
He holds a special space in my heart and he will be sorely missed.
R.I.P. :rip:

Nai Noswad

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Jul 17, 2019
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The lands of Marshall Stack.
Only been reflecting recently how much Ken's talent has had an impact on me.. from a record collector and Uriah Heep fans perspective. Since 1971- I have moved these holy grail albums and his solo releases from flat to bedsit, via storage units and houses. Literally a piece of me has gone today.. my life's troubles are intrinsically wrapped up in his music.... and other artists of this time.
He's up there.. twinkling with the stars, giving them hell!
Not forgotten - very heavy and very humble.

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