“Eleventeen”, the debut solo album from late OZZY OSBOURNE and URIAH HEEP drummer Lee Kerslake, has just received a posthumous release via HNE Recordings, the hard rock and heavy metal arm of Cherry Red Records.
“Eleventeen” is a collection of eight songs, seven of them written or co-written by Lee. Lee offers notes and insights for each track, saying “Take Nothing For Granted” “is based around my wife and then some,” evidently with tongue firmly in cheek. Elsewhere, “Where Do We Go From Here”, according to Lee, is about how “ot’s all too late to realize… where do we go from here? I’ve had to many argumentative girls in my life!!!” “You May Be By Yourself (But You’re Never Alone)” was written “when Bob Daisley gave such a loving look to Squish, his daughter. It moved me all those years ago.” According to URIAH HEEP guitarist Mick Box’s dedication on the album, “The song ‘Port And A Brandy’ made me smile as we have shared many of them together over the years.” Next up is a heartfelt rendition of Carole King’s timeless “You’ve Got A Friend”, which Lee dedicates to “all of my friends past and present who I have loved through music.” “Eleventeen” concludes with the instrumental “Mom”, which Lee wrote for “all the mums in the world who we should never take for granted.”
Standing down from drumming full-time for URIAH HEEP in 2007 due to ill health, Kerslake commenced his debut solo album in 2015 with Jake Libretto, completing the album in 2019. At the time, Lee stated about the effort: “WOW, I have to say now the album is finished, there is a great sense of achievement. It’s been a little over three years to record and finish it. It took so long because I could only manage two days a week and sometimes nothing for a period of time as the chemotherapy without my permission kept me away. Never mind, it’s done, and I am very proud of the songs.”
With a career that goes back to the 1960s, Kerslake’s first step into the rock limelight was with THE GODS, recording “Genesis” in 1968 and “To Samuel A Son” in 1969. Joining TOE FAT for their self-titled debut in 1970, via 1970’s “Orgasm” by HEAD MACHINE, so far Lee had shared his musical journey with multi-instrumentalist and song writer Ken Hensley. This musical connection and friendship would be further cemented in 1972 when Lee joined Ken in URIAH HEEP for the classic “Demons & Wizards” LP, remaining behind HEEP’s drum kit for the best part of 30-plus years. Lee also found time to make cameos drumming for Ken Hensley and David Byron solo records along the way, and most notably as a founder member of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, drumming on the multi-platinum “Blizzard Of Ozz” in 1980 and “Diary Of A Madman” in 1981. He also appeared with supergroup LIVING LOUD, a band featuring bassist Bob Daisley, guitarist Steve Morse, singer Jimmy Barnes and keyboard player Don Airey.
Lee sadly passed away in September 2020 at the age of 73. Box said of his longtime bandmate: “It fills me with great pride that he achieved this as his last final musical legacy.”
“Eleventeen” track listing:
01. Celia Sienna
02. Take Nothing For Granted
03. Where Do We Go From Here
04. You May Be By Yourself (But You’re Never Alone)
05. Port And A Brandy
06. You’ve Got A Friend
07. Home Is Where The Heart Is
08. Mom (Instrumental)