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.