Harris - bassist.
Bruce Dickinson - vocals.
Adrian Smith - guitars.
Dave Murray - guitars.
Nicko McBrain - drums.
seminal British heavy metal outfit Iron Maiden formed in
1976 around bassist Steven Harris, the only member to
remain in the group throughout its long history. Begun as
a hard-rocking bar band in London's East End, the band,
then featuring singer Paul Di'Anno, gradually developed
its own sound, combining metal riffs with punk-inspired
energetic vocals and foreboding stage theatrics, setting
the stage for the famed New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
2000, Iron Maiden is a household-name in every part of the
world. After 20 + years and almost 50 million album sales,
Maiden is now rightly regarded as the 'classic' rock band
in every sense: modern masters of that most emotionally
extreme and technically dazzling form of rock music - the
black sheep they call heavy metal. A genre Maiden
single-handedly reinvented for the Eighties, when they
released their first single, the punk-metal collision,
'Running Free', and their uncompromisingly raw debut
album, 'Iron Maiden', in 1980. And a genre which is once
again currently enjoying a vast renaissance worldwide with
Maiden very much involved as always.
Back in the early eighties, Maiden was the band at the
forefront of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal - a
short-lived media-led phenomenon that would propel them
onto the world stage. "People always used to call us
punk-metal when we first started getting reviewed in the
music papers in Britain," bassist and founding
member, Steve Harris, recalls with a rueful smile.
"But I think that was partly to do with the fact that
our singer then, Paul Di'Anno, had quite short hair and
the fact that we used to play so fast. We used to come
across as really aggressive. But that was never really a
punk thing to me - that was a pure metal thing. We used to
frighten the life out of the punks·"
Despite receiving no radio play whatsoever, 'Running Free'
their debut single leapt into the UK Top 40. When the band
were then offered their first appearance on Top Of The
Pops, the UK's biggest weekly TV chart show, Maiden
refused to do it unless they were allowed to play live -
something no artist had done on Top Of The Pops since The
Who demolished the studio during a performance of their 'Quadrophenia'
hit, '5.15', in 1972. The BBC execs were skeptical but
eventually relented and such precocity was rewarded when
their debut album, 'Iron Maiden', was released a few weeks
later and immediately crashed into the UK albums chart at
It was this take-no-prisoners attitude the band started
with, and still adopt to this day, which has served them
so well throughout their career. Since then, every one of
the 11 studio albums and three live albums that Maiden
have released have been major Top 10 successes both at
home in the UK and more than 25 other countries around the
world, including over 20 hit singles - a fact that
sometimes gets overlooked as so few of them have ever been
played on radio - and no less than five consecutive
million-selling albums in America.
Along the way, despite numerous line-up changes the
quintessential Maiden sound - the rumbling-earth bass,
searchlight guitars, spatter-gun drums and lion's roar
vocals - remained mercifully undimmed throughout. Their
second album "Killers" followed in 1981 which
saw the band paying first time tour visits to America,
Canada and Japan. The album achieved the band gold album
status around the world but at the end of the tour singer
Paul Di Anno left heralding the arrival of Bruce
1982 was to exceed all expectations for the new line up.
After a couple of warm up shows with Bruce the band went
in to record the legendary "Number of The Beast"
album. This blew away all competition to enter the UK
Chart at No.1 while the classic Maiden track,"Run To
The Hills", got the band their first UK Top 10
single. This success was mirrored across Europe and also
the American charts. The grueling 180 date , 8 month
'Beast on The Road Tour' again broke new ground for the
band as they did shows in Australia and New Zealand and
saw the band headline their first sold out US Show at the
New York Palladium proving a portent of things to come.
Once again there was a band casualty with Clive Burr ,the
bands drummer, leaving to make way for the now infamous
drummer/prankster/headcase Nicko McBrain.
The band immediately started work on Piece Of Mind which
they recorded in Nassau in the Bahamas The album went in
the UK charts at No.3 when the band started their
"World Piece Tour" in the UK. As before there
was to be no let up in pace and Maiden found themselves
playing to larger and larger audiences selling out
everywhere and gathering more momentum in America with
their first - of many - full scale arena headline tour.
Powerslave was recorded in Nassau in 1985. The
"Slavery Tour" was to give fans a massive
stageshow of lights and production featuring Eddie, the
bands hugely popular mascot and icon, now being
transformed from a walk on part to a huge twenty foot
mechanised monster. The groundbreaking tour started behind
the Iron Curtain in Poland which was the first time a
major band had taken full western production behind the
Iron Curtain. By the third week of the tour the album
itself was released , going straight in the UK Album
Charts at No. 2.
The band found themselves breaking records everywhere
playing the Rock In Rio Festival to 200,000 fans, selling
out Radio City Hall in NewYork five nights running
(illness preventing it from reaching seven) and the first
act ever to sell out Long Beach Arena (Capacity 13000) for
4 consecutive nights. This Long Beach success was captured
in the bands next release "Live After Death",
Maidens first Double Live album and video of the same
name. The Live album charted at No.2 and the video went to
No.1 in the video charts and remained there for some time.
These releases are still regarded by many as one of the
best live albums/videos of all time.
"Somewhere in Time" was released in September
1986, this time recorded in both Nassau and Munich. This
album marked a slight change in their style with the
inclusion of keyboards for the first time but in no way
diluted Maidens classic style. The first single released
off the album "Wasted Years" reached the UK top
twenty and was a track written about the rigours of their
previous tours. The album continued to go gold or platinum
in practically every major territory. The live show as
before was a dazzling spectacle. The highlight featured
Eddie , this time an understage inflatable and portrayed
as a cyborg from the cover artwork, lifting the band off
the stage with his two hands and sending Nicko and drumkit
skywards balanced on his head. "Somewhere On
Tour" again started in Eastern Europe and included
six sell out nights at the Hammersmith Odeon before again
spending the spring of 87 touring through the US and
finishing in Japan some eight months later.
1988 brought "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son",
Maidens' first and only concept album. This wasn't the
original idea at the outset, but in writing and followed
by rehearsals it seemed the material had a common theme
running through out. The first single "Can I Play
With Madness" went to No. 3 in the UK Charts and was
followed by 3 other singles from the album all reaching
the Top 10 - quite a feat without Radio support. The
"Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour" saw them begin
in the US. The high spot of the tour was to be the
headlining of the legendary "Monsters Of Rock
Festival" at Castle Donington which with support by
the likes of Kiss, Dave Lee Roth, Guns and Roses and
stablemates Helloween, they played to a all time record
breaking 107,000 fans. The "Monsters" festival
also had repeated success in Europe after which the band
continued back to the UK to complete the tour with sell
out shows at Wembley Arena for 2 nights the Birmingham NEC
, 2 nights and 4 nights at the Hammersmith Odeon.
The band had previously decided to take the whole of 1989
off however, unable to rest, Bruce and Adrian spent their
time recording their first solo albums and November 1989
saw the group team up again for the launch of the
"Maiden England" video. In January 1990 work had
barely begun on the "No Prayer For The Dying"
album when Adrian decided to leave the band, this being
their first personnel change for some seven years. Bruce
meanwhile had been working through the previous summer
with ex-Gillan and White Spirit guitarist, Janick Gers who
after auditioning was invited to join.
The new line-up recorded the album in the UK at Steve's
own Barnyard studio. Released October 1st the album
entered the UK Chart at No.2. This album was to finally
bring the band their first elusive No.1 single with
"Bring Your Daughter to The Slaughter" going
straight to No.1 for Christmas 1990.
Work on "Fear on The Dark" started early in 1992
and Eddie went through a transformation as for the first
time artist Derek Riggs did not supply the cover art but
instead the band took a more sinister image drawn by
Melvin Grant. "Fear Of The Dark" was to be the
bands third No.1 album and with an elaborate show the band
hit the road again starting this time in Scandanavia.
Again the opportunity to play Castle Donington came to the
band. The show was filmed and later released on video
while several other shows on the tour were being recorded
for a possible live album. Finishing in Japan in November
the band returned unaware of what was lurking around the
In March 1993 Bruce announced his departure feeling he had
got to saturation point with other projects and the band
set to work on finding a replacement while doing a final
"Real Live Tour" tour with Bruce. The band
visited Moscow for the first time and received an amazing
reception and went on to complete 44 shows across Europe.
Bruces final show was to be a live pay-per-view televised
spectacular "Raising Hell" featuring the
magician Simon Drake performing grisly tricks interspersed
with live performance by the band. This included Simon
playing a guitar solo with guitarist Dave Murray severed
hands and Bruce being decapitated!
After an intensive search Blaze Bayley of Wolfsbane was
announced as Maidens new vocalist. The band and Blaze had
already crossed paths as Wolfsbane had supported Maiden on
1990 UK Tour. This new partnership started work on the
darkly smouldering "X Factor" album , again
recorded at Steve's Barnyard Studios but with Steve
himself co-producing it with Nigel Green. The X Factour
started prior to the album launch in October 1995 with
shows in new territories Israel and South Africa. The
album itself went to No.8 in the album chart while the
band continued to tour comprehensively in Europe and the
UK, highlighted with the bands Brixton Academy show before
they continued throughout Western Europe, America, Japan
and headlining many major festivals including the
"Monsters of Rock" in Sao Paulo to 50,000 fans.
1997 saw work start on Virtual XI, aptly named, this being
their Eleventh Studio album. The cover artwork supplied by
Melvin Grant depicted a boy watching a football match
through a Virtual Reality headset while being surrounded
by Armageddon and Eddie. This being a comment on
technology taking over everything and the concern society
shares as we approach the Millennium. This sentiment was
also reflected in the material on the album with tracks
such as "Futureal" and "When Two Worlds
Collide". The football theme was carried through as
Maiden, always being massive football supporters, decided
to promote the album launch with their own Football tour,
1998 being World Cup year. The band set to work on putting
together a dream team of world professionals such as Paul
Gascoigne, Ian Wright, Faustino Asprilla, Marc Overmars,
Patrik Viera and Stuart Pearce, Stuart being an immense
Maiden fan. A Virtual XI team which featured ex-England
stalwarts Terry Butcher, Tony Woodcock, Neil Webb and Paul
Mariner toured throughout Europe playing games against
teams with similarly famous names like Anders Limpar in
Sweden, Gentile and Altobelli in Italy and even meeting up
with the great Eusebio in Portugal.
The first single "The Angel and The Gambler"
featured an amazing video, seeing the band placed in a
completely computer generated environment depicting Eddie
in his new guise along with characters that appear in
"Ed Hunter", the forthcoming computer game.
Their successful nine month "Virtual World Tour"
saw them in Europe, Japan, North America and finally South
With the departure of Blaze Bayley, the return of both
Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith brings a new twist to the
Maiden tale. Now a six piece with a formidable three
guitar onslaught, plans are currently taking shape for a
Spring release of "Ed Hunter", touring in
July/August/Sept., recording a studio album at the end of
the year and a full World Tour this year in 2000.
Metal is currently enjoying a World wide resurgence in
popularity and Maiden will once again be in the vanguard.
And that's where they intend to stay for many more years