Roger Dean (artist)
William Roger Dean, known as Roger Dean, is an English artist and publisher. He is best known for his work on posters and album covers for musicians, which he began painting in the late 1960s; the artists for whom he did the most art are English rock bands Asia. The covers feature exotic fantasy landscapes, his work has sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide. William Roger Dean was born on 31 August 1944 in Kent, his mother studied dress design at Canterbury School of Art before her marriage and his father was an engineer in the British Army. He has brother Martyn and sisters Penny and Philippa. Much of Dean's childhood was spent in Greece, and, from age 12 to 15, Hong Kong, so his father could carry out army duties. Dean was keen on natural history as a child, Chinese landscape art and feng shui became particular influences on him during his time in Hong Kong, he has cited landscape, "and the pathways through it", as his greatest influence and source of inspiration. In 1959, after the family had returned to England, Dean attended Ashford Grammar School followed by his entry in 1961 to the Canterbury College of Art studying silversmithing and furniture design and graduated with a National Diploma in Design.
He was removed from a life drawing class by the principal for being "young and impressionable", was informed he could not take it due to maths and physics being his other subjects, leading a switch to studying industrial design. As the school was trying to become accredited in the subject, Dean bypassed its foundation level course but disliked the way the subject was taught and questioned the teachers as to why people had to live in "boxes" and their response in that "form follows function". Towards the end of the course at Canterbury, Dean was faced with the option of pursuing either architecture or industrial design, he enrolled at the college in 1965 to study furniture design and became a student of Professor David Pye. Among his research was the "psychology of architecture" and what made people feel comfortable in buildings, he did a thesis about "producing a sense of tranquillity in domestic architecture". He graduated from the college in 1968 with a masters first degree honours, won a silver medal for "work of special distinction".
By this time, Dean was interested in "designing the future boxes for people to live in". He considered Rick Griffin's artwork for Aoxomoxoa by The Grateful Dead as his "first big visual shock" and bought the album prior to owning a record player. Among Dean's first successes was his sea urchin chair design which spawned from his research at the Royal College and completed in 1967, he filed a patent for it in the following year. It has been considered to be a predecessor to the bean bag, whereby the chair compresses and adapts to the shape and size of the user; the design was completed when Dean was one of the few students picked from the Royal College to design and make objects in famed designer Cherrill Scheer's factory. The chair remains one of Cherrill's favourite pieces, it is now a part of the permanent collection at the Albert Museum. In 1968, during his third year at the Royal College, Dean was assigned a project which involved the design of a contemporary landscape seating area of the upstairs disco at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho.
This led to the design of his first album cover, Gun by rock band Gun, after owner Ronnie Scott asked him to adapt a demonic-themed design that Dean made in his sketchbook for his thesis, for the album's cover. Dean agreed, was paid "around £5,000" for his work. Dean earned more money from the album's cover than he had done with architecture related work, realised covers took much less effort, he decided to venture into cover design not purely for the money, but its wider audience and its use "as a propaganda tool showing people what might be and what could be". Dean began to pick up work where he could, including covers for various jazz artists for Vertigo Records which he disliked, calling them "austere exercises" and too restrictive for the ideas he wished to convey; the experience led Dean to establish a commission before starting work he wanted to do, leading to a short period of financial hardship. At the same time, he wanted to release a book on architecture but faced rejection from 27 different publishers.
Dean designed the logo to the independent label Fly Records in 1970. This led to Dean working on a single for their musician Marc Bolan which involved typesetting the liner notes and lyrics, but Dean had not done the technique before and completed them by hand with the assistance of a graphic designer, in order to show the printing staff where the typesets were to be placed; the positive reaction Dean received from his style of writing led to him handwriting the text for further Bolan singles. This was a similar case for Dean's design for Clear Blue Sky by Clear Blue Sky, where a painting had been completed except the typesetting, "So to bluff my way through the meeting I had to handwrite it all and hope they would never ask about it"; the label's staffers were enthusiastic, which gave Dean the confidence to pursue more handwriting and graphic work. By 1971, Dean's desire to produce artwork for rock bands had grown though continued with architecture and headed a small exhibition of his work in Florence.
Following discussions with A&R man David Howells, who had assigned Dean the sleeve for The Gun, Dean agreed to work on the cover of Osibisa by afrobeat band Osibisa. The design is a result of a brief that Dean described as "credible African fairytale imagery" and features "flying elephants and not a
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew on the genres of blues and blues, from country music. Rock music drew on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, incorporated influences from jazz and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar as part of a rock group with electric bass and one or more singers. Rock is song-based music with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become diverse. Like pop music, lyrics stress romantic love but address a wide variety of other themes that are social or political. By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, jazz-rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene.
New genres that emerged included progressive rock. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and alternative rock. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals at the beginning of the 2000s. Rock music has embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major subcultures including mods and rockers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. 1970s punk culture spawned the goth and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race and drug use, is seen as an expression of youth revolt against adult consumerism and conformity.
The sound of rock is traditionally centered on the amplified electric guitar, which emerged in its modern form in the 1950s with the popularity of rock and roll. It was influenced by the sounds of electric blues guitarists; the sound of an electric guitar in rock music is supported by an electric bass guitar, which pioneered in jazz music in the same era, percussion produced from a drum kit that combines drums and cymbals. This trio of instruments has been complemented by the inclusion of other instruments keyboards such as the piano, the Hammond organ, the synthesizer; the basic rock instrumentation was derived from the basic blues band instrumentation. A group of musicians performing rock music is termed as a rock group. Furthermore, it consists of between three and five members. Classically, a rock band takes the form of a quartet whose members cover one or more roles, including vocalist, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist and keyboard player or other instrumentalist. Rock music is traditionally built on a foundation of simple unsyncopated rhythms in a 4/4 meter, with a repetitive snare drum back beat on beats two and four.
Melodies originate from older musical modes such as the Dorian and Mixolydian, as well as major and minor modes. Harmonies range from the common triad to parallel perfect fourths and fifths and dissonant harmonic progressions. Since the late 1950s and from the mid 1960s onwards, rock music used the verse-chorus structure derived from blues and folk music, but there has been considerable variation from this model. Critics have stressed the eclecticism and stylistic diversity of rock; because of its complex history and its tendency to borrow from other musical and cultural forms, it has been argued that "it is impossible to bind rock music to a rigidly delineated musical definition." Unlike many earlier styles of popular music, rock lyrics have dealt with a wide range of themes, including romantic love, rebellion against "The Establishment", social concerns, life styles. These themes were inherited from a variety of sources such as the Tin Pan Alley pop tradition, folk music, rhythm and blues.
Music journalist Robert Christgau characterizes rock lyrics as a "cool medium" with simple diction and repeated refrains, asserts that rock's primary "function" "pertains to music, or, more noise." The predominance of white and middle class musicians in rock music has been noted, rock has been seen as an appropriation of black musical forms for a young and male audience. As a result, it has been seen to articulate the concerns of this group in both style and lyrics. Christgau, writing in 1972, said in spite of some exceptions, "rock and roll implies an identification of male sexuality and aggression". Since the term "rock" started being used in preference to "rock and roll" from the late-1960s, it has been contrasted with pop music, with which it has shared many characteristics, but from wh
Russell Gilbrook is the latest drummer for the British rock band, Uriah Heep. Over the last few years Gilbrook has been establishing himself on the UK clinic tour scene, he completed a tour with Liberty DeVitto. He has worked/toured with Chris Barber and his band and Alan Price, on whose album, Gilbrook featured, he replaced Cozy Powell in Bedlam. Gilbrook has played with Pete Bardens and featured on one of his albums. Gilbrook has worked with Tony Iommi, Lonnie Donegan, John Farnham, Van Morrison and Tobias Sammet. Gilbrook teaches on the musician's channel on Sky Television and holds a position at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music and has published several teaching guides, he has demonstrated specialist drum clinics across Europe. For the last few years he has drummed with the Essex based covers band, Exposé, with Dave Moore, Pete Finch, Alan Montague and Ben Newton. Gilbrook has co-designed, with Marrell Drums, he uses British Drum Company drums, Code drumheads, Baskey Drum Mats and Rug Lugs, Paiste cymbals and Pellwood drumsticks.
In 2012, it was announced that Gilbrook would be the drummer in the 2013 album of the metal opera project Avantasia, called The Mystery of Time. Russell Gilbrook's Official MySpace page Exposé website
Philip James "Phil" Lanzon is the keyboardist for British rock group Uriah Heep since 1986. Lanzon has worked both as a session musician and sideman with Grand Prix, Grant & Forsyth, John Lawton, Mick Ronson, Chris Spedding, Sweet, among others. At the age of eight, Lanzon learned to play the piano. In 1966, he played in his first band called The Loose Ends. Covers of soul songs were played. With this band Lanzon tours through Europe. Thereafter he played with The Cats Pyjamas from 1968 until 1969. With this one a few singles were recorded. One of them was "Baby, I Love You " by The Ronettes. Lanzon married, started a family, began to study harmony and composition at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama. In 1977, he joined a new band: Romance with Neil Carter with UFO and Gary Moore; the band just had recorded a demo of four good songs. This line up included Simon Hanhart who went on to produce many and numerous acts and coincidentally is producing Lanzon's own solo project at the moment, untitled.
In 1978, Lanzon auditioned. Lanzon auditioned them one by one until Bernie came in with his high range and that suited the band perfectly; this incarnation became Paris. He can be heard on the June 1980 recorded Hot Chocolate hit "No Doubt about it". At the end of 1979, Paris became Grand Prix, Lanzon played keyboards on three albums. In early 1980, Lanzon played keyboards on the Cris-Spedding album; the third record Samurai is released in 1983 by Chrysalis Records. The Grand Prix sound can be described as melodic hard rock with some clear Styx and Journey influences. In 1984, Lanzon replaced Vic Emerson of Sad Café for a British tour. Lanzon appears on both Steve Glen singles "That's Alright by Me"/"Just the Way We Are"/"Down Among the Dead Men"/'I'm Alright Jack". In March 1985 Lanzon joined the band Operator, his fellow band members were: Chris Glen, Mick O'Donoghue and Phil Taylor. How promising this line up may have looked, it dissolved in May 1985. In November 1985, he played keyboards on Phil Taylor's Naughty Ol' Santas Christmas Classics.
O'Donoghue and Taylor started GMT the same month, recorded War Games with guitarist Marcus Schleicher, released on CD in 1991. In July 1985, Lanzon played keyboards and drums on Big Bang, an album by German band Tarracco, who recorded their album in Hamburg as in London. It's experimental disco with a lot of drum work by bandleader Dicky Tarrach. Lanzon did his part on another one. In August 1985, Lanzon left Tarraco. In September 1985, Lanzon toured extensively in Australasia; the Sweet recorded their live album Live at the Marquee. He co-wrote three titles on this album,'Jump the fence,' Shot me down in flames,"Over my head.' In July 1986, Lanzon broke up with The Sweet. Lanzon joined Uriah Heep, replacing John Sinclair, went on a US tour. At that point, Steff Fontaine was singer for a few months. In February 1987, Lanzon was asked by Andy Scott to play on the debut single of pub-rock band Paddy Goes to Holyhead. Lanzon had his hands free at the time, so he went into the London Bridge Studio and recorded the single and video spoof of "The Green Green Grass of Home"/" All Those Lies".
In December 1987, Lanzon again went into the studio to record the maxi-CD with the cover song "Delilah". Uriah Heep's Live in Moscow was recorded and released in 1988. In 1991, the criticized Different World was released. In 1994, a techno/dance version of "Gypsy" was released. On this maxi-CD, four different versions of the song were recorded. In 1995, the long-awaited Sea of Light is released. At 8 of the 12 songs Lanzon did his job on the composition part, with "Mistress of all time". In September 1998, Sonic Origami, the latest album by Uriah Heep, was released on the Eagle Records label, including Lanzon's "Between Two Worlds". During a Scandinavian tour in February 1999, Lanzon began to write short stories. Over the new decade he would go on to perfect one of those stories as a screenplay, read by a top Hollywood producer, nothing came of it though; this screenplay is with a major UK publisher for consideration. He has written a musical/play with partner Brian Degas, producer/playwright and creator of the Colditz story and board game.
Heep recorded Acoustically Driven in 2001. Lanzon scored the arrangements for the string quartet; this was followed by touring and festivals. The long-awaited release of Wake the Sleeper, Into the Wild, saw Lanzon's songwriting establishing itself again; some say that "Between Two Worlds", "Golden Palace" and "Trail of Diamonds" were heading more towards the'prog' side of Heep. Their 2014 CD Outsider was acclaimed more touring festivals and rock cruises followed. In 2017, Lanzon released his solo debut, If You Think I'm Crazy!. Lanzon lives in East Kent with Patina, he has three children from only marriage. Look Left Look Right No Doubt About It Easy Does It War Games Grand Prix There for None to See Samurai Let's Dance Steppin' It Up Unearthed - Raiders of the Lost Archives Memorial Show I'm Not Like Everybody Else Hannover Sessions Live at the Marquee Chronology Green Green Grass of Home Big Bang Live in Moscow Raging Silence Different World Sea of Light Spellbinder Sonic Origami Future Echoes of the Past (liv
Uriah Heep (band)
Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969. It has had the same lineup since 2013: lead and rhythm guitarist Mick Box, keyboardist Phil Lanzon, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw, drummer Russell Gilbrook and bassist Davey Rimmer. Of the current lineup, Box is the only remaining original member. Throughout many lineup changes, the band has included many notable musicians, such as vocalists David Byron, John Lawton, John Sloman, Peter Goalby and Steff Fontaine, bassists Gary Thain, Trevor Bolder, John Wetton, Bob Daisley and John Jowitt, drummers Nigel Olsson, Lee Kerslake and Chris Slade, keyboardists Ken Hensley and John Sinclair. Over the course of their 50-year career, Uriah Heep have released twenty-five studio albums, two albums composed of re-recorded material, eighteen live albums and thirty-nine compilation albums. Twelve of the band's studio albums have made it to the UK Albums Chart while of the fifteen Billboard 200 Uriah Heep albums Demons and Wizards was the most successful.
In the late 1970s the band had massive success in Germany, where the "Lady in Black" single was a big hit. The band maintains a significant following and performs at arena-sized venues in the Balkans, Japan, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, they have sold over 40 million albums worldwide with over 4 million sales in the U. S, where its best-known songs include "Easy Livin'", "The Wizard", "Sweet Lorraine", "Stealin'"; the band's origins go back to 1967 when 19-year-old guitarist Mick Box formed a band in Brentwood called Hogwash, which began playing in local clubs and pubs. When the band's singer left, drummer Roger Penlington suggested his cousin David Garrick as a replacement. Box and Garrick formed a songwriting partnership and, having higher musical aspirations than their colleagues, decided to give up their day jobs and go professional, they set up a new band called Spice. Drummer Alex Napier joined. From the beginning, Spice avoided playing covers and, according to Box, always strove "...to do something original."
Managed by Newton's father, the band climbed their way up to The Marquee level got signed by Gerry Bron who saw the band at the Blues Loft club in High Wycombe. "I thought they were a band I could develop and I took them on that basis," remembered Bron later. He signed them to Vertigo Records, the newly formed Philips label; the four-piece found themselves booked into the Lansdowne Studios in London, still under the name of Spice. The name was changed to that of the well-known character from David Copperfield, Uriah Heep. According to Dave Ling's 2001 autobiography of the band and Demons, The Uriah Heep Story, though the "Uriah Heep" moniker was chosen in December 1969, the band continued to play gigs as "Spice" until Ken Hensley joined in February 1970. Uriah Heep decided to widen the sound. "We'd recorded half the first album when we decided that keyboards would be good for our sound. I was a big Vanilla Fudge fan, with their Hammond organ and searing guitar on top, we had David's high vibrato vocals anyway so that's how we decided to shape it," Box recalled.
Gerry Bron brought in session player Colin Wood, followed by Ken Hensley, a former colleague of Newton in the Gods, playing guitar in Toe Fat. "I saw a lot of potential in the group to do something different," remembered Hensley. Their 1970 debut album, …Very'Eavy …Very'Umble, introduced Hensley's heavy organ and guitar-driven sound, with David Byron's theatrical, dynamic vocals soaring above thunderous sonic backgrounds, although acoustic and jazz elements featured in the mix; the album's title references the signature phrase of the Dickens character Uriah Heep. Hensley had little to contribute to the debut: Box and Byron wrote most of the material, including "Gypsy", in many ways "...a marriage of contrasts" that, in time, became their trademark. In a 1989 interview, Mick Box recalled, "The funny thing was we wrote it at the Hanwell Community Centre, Deep Purple were rehearsing in the room next door to us. You can imagine the kind of racket we were both making between us." During the winter of 1970, three quarters into the recording of the album, drummer Alex Napier was replaced by Nigel Olsson, recommended to Byron by Elton John.
The debut was not popular with rock critics but in retrospect the attitude towards it changed. "Those unfamiliar with Uriah Heep may want to try out Demons and Wizards or a compilation first, but anyone with a serious interest in Uriah Heep or the roots of heavy metal will find plenty to like on... Very'eavy... Very'umble," advised critic Donald A. Guarisco. In the course of the album's making the writing relationship between Box and Hensley was beginning to develop. "It was quick, because we were all into the same things. It was like it was meant to be, there was that kind of chemistry," Mick Box recalled; when Nigel Olsson returned to Elton John’s group in the spring of 1970, Keith Baker took his place. The band's second album, was more squarely in the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra. One of the al
In the music industry, a single is a type of release a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song, released separately from an album, although it also appears on an album; these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released. Despite being referred to as a single, singles can include up to as many as three tracks; the biggest digital music distributor, iTunes Store, accepts as many as three tracks less than ten minutes each as a single, as does popular music player Spotify. Any more than three tracks on a musical release or thirty minutes in total running time is either an extended play or, if over six tracks long, an album; when mainstream music was purchased via vinyl records, singles would be released double-sided.
That is to say, they were released with an A-side and B-side, on which two singles would be released, one on each side. Moreover, only the most popular songs from a released album would be released as a single. In more contemporary forms of music consumption, artists release most, if not all, of the tracks on an album as singles; the basic specifications of the music single were set in the late 19th century, when the gramophone record began to supersede phonograph cylinders in commercially produced musical recordings. Gramophone discs were manufactured in several sizes. By about 1910, the 10-inch, 78 rpm shellac disc had become the most used format; the inherent technical limitations of the gramophone disc defined the standard format for commercial recordings in the early 20th century. The crude disc-cutting techniques of the time and the thickness of the needles used on record players limited the number of grooves per inch that could be inscribed on the disc surface, a high rotation speed was necessary to achieve acceptable recording and playback fidelity.
78 rpm was chosen as the standard because of the introduction of the electrically powered, synchronous turntable motor in 1925, which ran at 3600 rpm with a 46:1 gear ratio, resulting in a rotation speed of 78.26 rpm. With these factors applied to the 10-inch format and performers tailored their output to fit the new medium; the 3-minute single remained the standard into the 1960s, when the availability of microgroove recording and improved mastering techniques enabled recording artists to increase the duration of their recorded songs. The breakthrough came with Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone". Although CBS tried to make the record more "radio friendly" by cutting the performance into halves, separating them between the two sides of the vinyl disc, both Dylan and his fans demanded that the full six-minute take be placed on one side, that radio stations play the song in its entirety; as digital downloading and audio streaming have become more prevalent, it has become possible for every track on an album to be available separately.
The concept of a single for an album has been retained as an identification of a more promoted or more popular song within an album collection. The demand for music downloads skyrocketed after the launch of Apple's iTunes Store in January 2001 and the creation of portable music and digital audio players such as the iPod. In September 1997, with the release of Duran Duran's "Electric Barbarella" for paid downloads, Capitol Records became the first major label to sell a digital single from a well-known artist. Geffen Records released Aerosmith's "Head First" digitally for free. In 2004, Recording Industry Association of America introduced digital single certification due to significant sales of digital formats, with Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" becoming RIAA's first platinum digital single. In 2013, RIAA incorporated on-demand streams into the digital single certification. Single sales in the United Kingdom reached an all-time low in January 2005, as the popularity of the compact disc was overtaken by the then-unofficial medium of the music download.
Recognizing this, On 17 April 2005, Official UK Singles Chart added the download format to the existing format of physical CD singles. Gnarls Barkley was the first act to reach No.1 on this chart through downloads alone in April 2006, for their debut single "Crazy", released physically the following week. On 1 January 2007 digital downloads became eligible from the point of release, without the need for an accompanying physical. Sales improved in the following years, reaching a record high in 2008 that still proceeded to be overtaken in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Singles have been issued in various formats, including 7-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch vinyl discs. Other, less common, formats include singles on Digital Compact Cassette, DVD, LD, as well as many non-standard sizes of vinyl disc; the most common form of the vinyl single is the 45 or 7-inch. The names are derived from its play speed, 45 rpm, the standard diameter, 7 inches; the 7-inch 45 rpm record was released 31 March 1949 by RCA Victor as a smaller, more durable and higher-fidelity replacement for the 78 rpm shellac discs.
The first 45
John Lawton (musician)
John Cooper Lawton is a rock and blues vocalist best known for his work with Lucifer's Friend, Uriah Heep and the Les Humphries Singers. Lawton began his musical career in North Shields, UK, in the early'60s with The Deans, a bunch of kids who decided at random that he should be singer, he moved on to West One and Stonewall which included John Miles, Vic Malcolm and Paul Thompson. After Stonewall finished their stint at Top Ten Club in Hamburg in 1969, Lawton decided to stay in Germany, after having been offered the job as singer with legendary German rock cult band Lucifer's Friend with whom he recorded seven studio albums, he joined the Les Humphries Singers, in the early'70s. In 1976 Lawton joined Uriah Heep as their frontman, recording the albums Firefly, Innocent Victim, Fallen Angel and Live in Europe'79, touring Europe and the U. S. until September 1979. During his longstanding career Lawton has worked with some big names of rock, on various projects, including Roger Glover's "Butterfly Ball" live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1975, featuring David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Ian Gillan and Twiggy.
He sang on Eddie Hardin's "Wizard's Convention II" with Chris Farlowe, Denny Laine, Paul Jones and Tony Ashton. Lawton worked with some of the finest record producers, including Tony Clarke, Jimmy Miller, Harold Faltermeyer, who produced the titles Lawton sang on the Lenny McDowell Project "Lost Paradise". Lawton sang with German rock band Rebel known as Zar, on three albums, during the late'80s -'90s including their hit singles "Line of Fire" and "Eagles Flight", moved on to Volker Barber's classical project "Excalibur", he sang on several German commercials, including the "Colgate Gel" TV spots, the "Peter Stuyvesant Travel" spots, the Stuyvesant single "Come Together" and a stint for Harley Davidson Motorbikes. Lawton formed GunHill known as JLB, in January 1994, touring the UK and Europe. In 1995 he rejoined Uriah Heep for 2 weeks, to tour South Africa and Austria with Deep Purple, filling in for their singer Bernie Shaw, suffering from voice problems at the time. Inspired by German top producer Robert Papst and his partner Reinhold Hoffman, Lawton re-recorded one of the Les Humphries Singers' favourites, the 1970s hit "Mama Loo", in January 1998.
In August 2000, his solo album Still Paying My Dues to the Blues, produced by Robert Papst, was released in Europe, UK and Scandinavia, by Hypertension Music Hamburg and distributed through EDEL Germany. During the 4th Uriah Heep Annual Convention in London, May 2000, plans were made for a one-off concert by the so-called Hensley/Lawton Band. Lawton was joined by former Heep keyboardist Ken Hensley, for the first time 21 years after Lawton's departure from Uriah Heep in 1979. With them were Paul Newton, 2 members of Lawton's band Reuben Kane on lead guitar and Justin Shefford on drums, they played a collection of old Heep classics and some of Hensley & Lawton's solo songs, the concert was recorded for a CD release called The Return. In 2001 Lawton teamed up with Ken Hensley to form the Hensley Lawton Band. After extensive touring, during Spring and Summer of 2001, culminating with a concert in Hamburg, featuring a full orchestra and a new rendition of Heep's old classic "Salisbury", both Ken and John returned to their respective solo careers.
On 7 December 2001, both John Lawton and Ken Hensley appeared on stage with Uriah Heep during the annual Magician's Birthday Party at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. This concert was recorded and released as a CD/DVD; the John Lawton Band - "JLB" was taken on by Classic Rock Productions in 2001 to record the acoustic CD Steppin' It Up, which features John & Steve Dunning. One More Night Live at the Mean Fiddler, CD & DVD, was recorded in 2002, followed in 2003 by JLB's Sting in the Tale CD, an original studio rock album; that year followed another Live CD & DVD Shakin' The Tale. JLB had been touring extensively with their last gig in Hamburg, September 2004, when Lawton decided to take an indefinite break. In May 2006 Lawton joined forces with Dutch guitarist Jan Dumée to form the On The Rocks project. On The Rocks - "OTR" featured Brazilian musicians Ney Conceição on bass, Xande Figueiredo on drums, Marvio Ciribelli on keyboards. Lawton and Dumée wrote and recorded the tracks for the debut album Mamonama, released in October 2008.
In September 2008 John Lawton appeared on stage at the Heepvention 2008 in Spain, with former Uriah Heep members Ken Hensley, Lee Kerslake and Paul Newton, together with Jan Dumee from the OTR project on guitar. In December 2008 John entered the world of television by presenting the Bulgarian travel documentary series "John Lawton presents" which includes music from the Mamonama album. Made by the Bulgarian TV company "Skat", the films feature interesting historical landmarks of Bulgarian towns and cities, traditional festivities and interviews with the city mayors and local people. So far the series consists of 19 documentaries, including the municipalities of Karnobat, Tsarevo, Burgas, Pamporovo, Malko Tarnovo, Shumen, Popovo winter, Popovo spring, Lovech, Stara Zagora, Nedelino. In 2009 John again joined Ken Hensley, Lee Kerslake and Paul Newton to appear at Heepvention 2009 in Salo, Finland with a Finnish guitarist completing the line-up. In March 2010, John made his acting debut in the motion picture Love.net and produced by Bulgarian film company Miramar Film.
Part of John's scenes were shot