Uriah Heep was formed in the late 1960s by Byron and Box, initially calling themselves Spice. They re-named the band Uriah Heep from the name of a character in the Charles Dickens novel, David Copperfield. They then asked fellow Brit Ken Hensley to join, and he brought along drummer Lee Kerslake, his bandmate in the Bournemouth, UK-based club group, the Gods. (The Gods were also home to future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and Greg Lake, prior to King Crimson and ELP.) An early drummer was Nigel Olsson (who would spend 40 years on and off drumming for Elton John), and over their nearly 40-year existence, the band has had over 36 members. Today, only Mick Box remains from the original lineup.
Vocalist David Byron, who sang on all the radio hits the band ever had, developed a serious drinking problem, and by 1977, he was out of the band. The group continued with new vocalist John Lawton, but failed to have any more hits. By the mid and late-1980s, most of the classic lineup had left, including Lee Kerslake who joined Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Ozz in 1981. Vocalist David Byron launched a failed solo career in 1978, but his drinking caught up with him and he died in 1985. . Uriah Heep continued to tour and release studio and live albums.