Stealin'

Album: Sweet Freedom (1973)
Charted: 91
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Songfacts®:

  • This song was written by keyboardist Ken Hensley. The lyrics tell the tale of an outlaw on the run, and points out the regrets that come with living a self-obsessed life.
  • The line, "I've done the rancher's daughter" got the song banned from radio airplay in some areas. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden, for above 2
  • Despite "Stealin" having some of Uriah Heep's most intriguingly literary lyrics, writer Ken Hensley said in his Songfacts interview that there wasn't actually a real deep meaning to the song, at least when he wrote it.

    "We had just come off of our second of third US tour experience and my imagination was really charged with the American 'experience,'" he said. "None of this story is true of course and it's really what the band do this song in rehearsal that made it such a huge hit!"

    Still, art has a way of transcending the artist, and "Stealin'" continues to have deep meaning for Heep fans, no matter what Hensley intended. These lines tend to connect with listeners:

    Stood on a ridge and shunned religion thinking the world was mine
    I made my break and a big mistake stealin' when I should've been buyin'


    Shunning religion calls to mind something mystical and profound, while "a big mistake stealin' when I should've been buyin'" could be described as Dylanesque. On one level it's very simple, yet is just ambiguous and mysterious enough to set the imagination flying. It's a technique used by many of rocks' great songwriters.
  • Hensley wrote the song at the flat of Heep bassist Gary Thain.
  • The B-side for the single was "Sunshine."

Comments: 5

  • Randy R Byrd from Jacksonville FloridaFirst song I ever sang on stage 1989
  • AnonymousI still play that song regularly.
    Ok. I also play all the early
    Blk. Sabbath stuff
    Every Sunday religiously. ;)
  • Michael Johnson from Cochise ArizonaI first heard uriah heep stealing on a mix tape in 1980 listening to it at high school fell in love with it never got to see them in concert but i did seek out all of their albums lost them all when house burned
  • Rick from Salisbury, NcI went with a friend to the Uriah Heep / Rod Stewart concert in Charlotte, NC about '78 I think it was. We were some of the first ones at the coliseum that day and went down to the stage and stood at the front row. We were there when Uriah Heep came out and by the time their concert was over we were about 100 feet back from the stage and got separated from each other. We found each other, finally, and went upstairs to the nosebleed section and sat on the steps and watched Rod Stewart. He was actually a downer after the rocking Uriah Heep concert. It wore us out, and we had to rest during Stewart's concert! Dave Byron was tremendous!
  • Jb from Tustin, CaLook up Jam in the dictionary and this title will be somewhere in the definition!
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