July Morning

Album: Look At Yourself (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • This 10-minute song was essentially put together from different ideas from Ken Hensley and David Byron. While recording Look at Yourself, the band noticed that they had three separate parts of compositions that were all in C minor, so they tried putting them together, thus those parts became the intro, verse and chorus buildup of "July Morning."
  • The song became a classic, and has left its marks in many different ways. The organ melody in the intro has been used as a wedding march on some occasions, and the song has also been the inspiration for a Bulgarian tradition named after the song. Every June 30, Bulgarians from all over the country travel to the coast of the Black Sea to watch the rising of the sun on the 1st of July. They often sing the song while the celebration takes place. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden, for above 2
  • "July Morning" inspired a Bulgarian show of resistance against a repressive Soviet Communist government and became an annual festival that has only grown more popular with each passing year.

    The song, written by Heep members David Byron and Ken Hensley, doesn't have anything overtly political in the lyrics. It seems to be about a guy waking up on a July morning resolved to find his own road and an unnamed love.

    It's natural to assume that the "love" is a romantic interest, but that's not exactly how the song is formed. Things are kept ambiguous enough that the "love" can be something more like a grand purpose, a passion, or perhaps love of life itself.

    The ambiguity may in part be why the song was able to resonate so much with Bulgarians in the 1980s. During that time, a Soviet-backed communist government held power over the people. Young Bulgarians started travelling to the coast of the Black Sea, camping out, making music, and just having fun into the early hours of July 1. It was a sort of a soft, spiritual rebellion against the joyless Soviet state, as well as a great excuse to party. It's been compared to the hippie festivals of the 1960s in the United States.

    Bulgaria broke out of Soviet rule, but the festival has continued ever since. In 2012 it had upwards of 12,000 attendees, and one-time Uriah Heep singer John Lawton performed "July Morning."
  • In a Songfacts interview with Ken Hensley, he related the story about how he came to write the song. "Uriah Heep was on tour in the UK with an American band named Sha Na Na and we were sharing a bus, which meant we had to wait for them to finish before we could go home," Hensley said. "This was boring!"

    To entertain himself, Hensley started noodling around with his acoustic guitar. "It began with a true statement," he said. "'There I was, on a July morning,' and then my imagination took over."

    Hensley worked the song out over the next few days and played it for the rest of the band in their rehearsal room.

    "I played it to the band on my acoustic guitar and, by the end of the day, it had become the song that so many people grew to love," Hensley said. "That was magic!"
  • Manfred Mann played Moog synthesizer on the song.

Comments: 6

  • Norm from Motueka NzTruly this is one of those songs that I carry in my music conscience. I first heard it as a very young man, that is pretty much when pop and soft rock lost their appeal. 41 years later I'm still staggered by this tome of a song. Uriah Heep Rocks.
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music lovers,

    I think that Both the idea of the lyrics And the music of the song came from the song 'Early In The Morning' sung by Cliff Richard in 1969. Because both the lyrics and the music are very similar. But I think that the songwriters didn't start writing the song because I think that they tried to but they didn't know how it start. But something came up to them in 1970. Another British rock band called 'Deep Purple' released an album that had a song called 'Child In Time' in 1970. When they heard that song, I think they thought 'This is a good song and also that must a song that we looking for ! ' So they started to writing a song 'July Morning' just like a long and emotional version that Deep Purple did on 'Child In Time'. So They remembered the song 'With A little Help From My Friend ', Joe Cocher's cover version in 1968 and added the intro of the song to the 'July Morning'. So their intro are very similar, too. They arranged the rest of the parts of the song like Deep Purple did, too ! So their performance, too ! And the rest is history.
  • Valentin from Beijing, Chinaa true 70s anthem...I was pissed when I had found just a couple of words about that great song in wiki...whatever!
  • Ani from Yerevan, ArmeniaGoing to see Uriah Heep in 11 days (16 october 2009)!!! Waiting so impatiencely!!

    I hope they will perform "July Morning" as well, one of their many great songs!
  • Lester from New York City, NyThis is a great song, and they always delivered when they played it in concert.
  • Someone from Sofia, BulgariaThe above one is true :)))
    Greetings from Bulgaria!
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