Gary Thain was a journeyman bassist who began his career with a number of New Zealand turns before moving to Britain when he was eighteen. Reluctant to be in the spotlight, Thain developed a reputation for his fastidious work rather than any onstage flamboyance.
Although he picked up his first music-press column inches as a member of the blues-rock combo The Keef Hartley Band, it was with prog stalwarts the occasionally critically derided Uriah Heep that Thain experienced his most successful period.
Playing with Uriah Heep in Dallas in September 1974, Thain received a massive electric shock on stage which caused him several months of ill health, during which time his cohorts saw fit to dismiss him from the band. The bassist understandably became reclusive and depressed; he’d had heart problems throughout his life, and now these were being exacerbated by his increasing use of heroin.
The Texas experience having weakened his resistance, Gary Thain died in Norwood, London, apparently from an overdose.
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