Former URIAH HEEP singer John Lawton has died at the age of 74. Lawton was the frontman for URIAH HEEP from 1976 to 1979, appearing on the albums “Firefly” (1977), “Innocent Victim” (1977) and “Fallen Angel” (1978).
URIAH HEEP issued the following statement: “It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29 June 2021.
“Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible.
“He went peacefully with his wife at his side. John will be greatly missed.
“A private funeral service to celebrate John’s life will be held following his wishes, with only family and close friends attending.
“We would appreciate that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.”
URIAH HEEP guitarist Mick Box shared a special memory of John from the late Seventies, saying: “One of my abiding memories is HEEP playing ‘Wise Man’ on ‘Top Of The Pops’. If ever there was a song which did not give a hint of the band’s hard rock background, this was it, and I was worried that we would be accused of selling out to commercialism. I needn’t have worried, as John sang it so powerfully that he not only made the song his, hard rock fans loved it too.”
Following his departure from URIAH HEEP, Lawton would record a solo album, ‘Heartbeat’, in 1980, before rejoining his old band LUCIFER’S FRIEND for the 1982 release ‘Mean Machine. They would disband a year later, yet reunite in 2015 for some live shows and a new album called ‘Too Late To Hate’.
Lawton would also rejoin URIAH HEEP for a European tour in 2013 to cover for Bernie Shaw, who required recovery time after a medical procedure.