Jeff Perkins  November 2009 - Jeff is the author of the David Byron book BORN TO PERFORM

Like many fans I will never forget seeing David Byron and Uriah Heep on stage. The power of the band, the unforgettable music and the presence of such a charismatic figure taking centre stage was nothing short of being a life changing moment along my musical path.

Many years later I was lying on the floor listening to that voice again. I decided, perhaps rashly, to try and write a biography of this extraordinarily gifted front-man. For once I actually carried through the idea and embarked on a journey exploring the real person behind the huge on stage persona.

This journey took me back to his childhood, through the early years of Spice, and then of course, Uriah Heep. We followed the trail from the early gigs in their local pubs to world tours, massive album sales, fame, fortune, and the thing that David craved most of all stardom and the rock and roll lifestyle that it brought. He was after all a genuine rock star through and through.

I was lucky enough to talk to Ken Hensley about David and he used the expression ‘born to perform’ several times to describe exactly what he had been about. It was the perfect title for the book. We spoke with friends, neighbours and fellow musicians who revealed some heart warming stories about the man behind the microphone. We followed the post-Heep years, his rather overlooked solo career and ultimately his tragic decline and early death. The manner of his passing shocked me and seemed to be a world removed from the star that I had seen on the stage all those years previously.

Having put the book together I was delighted to see it selling quicker than I had ever imagined. Clearly there were plenty of people who, just like me, had not forgotten seeing or hearing David Byron. It shouldn’t have been a surprise of course as anyone who witnessed those magical Heep nights, with this charismatic singer, or has heard him on Live 1973 or seen the photographs will testify. Rock stars with this sort of power and impact simply don’t come round that often.

For a long time after its release I could hardly listen to a Uriah Heep song for I had become too close to the story. Now at last I can once again listen to those wonderful albums and hear that voice which remains to this day as spine tingling as ever. I am delighted to see being set up to help promote the memory of this superb performer. I would like to thank Dave and Louis for their unfailing dedication to all things Heep, their work in getting David his own long overdue space on the internet, and for allowing me to write this introduction.