Sad news in the world of classic rock today, as Ken Hensely, the founding keyboardist behind British rockers Uriah Heep, died yesterday morning. He was 71 years old.
Ken’s passing was announced via his brother Trevor Hensley, who posted the following tribute on Facebook:
“I am writing this with a heavy heart to let you know that my brother Ken Hensley passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening, 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.
“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.
“Stay safe out there.”
I am writing this with a heavy heart to let you know that my brother Ken Hensley passed away peacefully on Wednesday…
Posted by Trevor Hensley on Thursday, November 5, 2020
Hensley was the keyboardist for Uriah Heep from 1968 to 1980, meaning that he played on many of their most important albums, including their 1970 debut Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble, 1971’s much-loved Look At Yourself, 1972’s Demons and Wizards (which featured the band’s massive proto-metal single “Easy Livin'”), and 1973’s much-loved Sweet Freedom (which featured the band’s single “Stealin'”).
Uriah Heep’s influence on hard rock and metal was vital to those genres developing in the directions they did. The London band’s mixture of grinding guitars and galloping biker rhythms helped pave the way for acts like Judas Priest and Saxon, not to mention latter-day artists like Ghost and Ruby The Hatchet. So much of their sound was Hensley’s work on keys, which added the band’s larger-than-life psychedelic rock vibe.
Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to Hensley’s friends, family, fans and collaborators during this difficult time.
Words by Chris Krovatin