Mick Box states; «The passing of John Lawton on the 29th of June came as a complete shock and has left me numb. John was a big part of the Heep family, and on stage when he was covering for Bernie, who was having hospital treatment at the time, he said over the microphone «you can check out, but you never leave Heep». That was our John and he was one of the good guys. On a personal note we had some fantastic times in Heep, and some fantastic times too outside of Heep».
«When filming a movie and playing shows with him in Bulgaria we never stopped laughing, and I will always remember those joyous times. I enjoyed the songs we wrote together, and he had an amazing voice that was both powerful, soulful and with a bluesy edge. Rock music has lost one of the great rock voices of all time and his legacy will live on forever. Our condolences go to his wife Iris, their immediate family, and his German band Lucifer’s Friend. John may you rest in peace my friend». Mick
John Cooper Lawton (11 July 1946 – 29 June 2021) was a British 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 then moved on to West One and later Stonewall which included John Miles, Vic Malcolm (later of Geordie) and Paul Thompson (later of Roxy Music).
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 (1969–1976 and 1979–1995) with whom he recorded seven studio albums. He also joined the Les Humphries Singers, in the early ’70s (which included the Eurovision Song Contest in ’76).
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 (Moody Blues), Jimmy Miller (Rolling Stones), and Harold Faltermeyer (Pet Shop Boys), who produced the titles Lawton sang on the Lenny McDowell Project Lost Paradis.
Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969. Their current lineup includes lead and rhythm guitarist Mick Box, keyboardist Phil Lanzon, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw, drummer Russell Gilbrook, and bassist Dave Rimmer.