"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Column

Sunday Old School: British Heavy Metal Leaders Iron Maiden

Photo of Iron Maiden

Band Photo: Iron Maiden (?)

Where would heavy metal be in a world without Iron Maiden? Love them or loathe them, there's no denying that Iron Maiden is one of the most important bands in the world today; not just in metal, but all of music. They have influenced countless bands and sold millions around the globe and remain as relevant today as they were 30 ago, if not moreso. The band was formed in Leyton, East London by bass player Steve Harris in 1975 and struggled for a good five years before releasing their debut album. They began their success by securing a residency at The Cart and Horses pub where they would attract fans of hard rock that were bored of the popular prog rock bands at the time, but weren't attracted to punk. The band joined forces with a young singer named Paul Di'anno in 1978 and from there began their rise to the top of the emerging New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. They recorded a demo on New Years Eve of that year named, "The Soundhouse Tapes" which sold out within a few weeks and by December the next year, they had signed a major deal with EMI Records. They released their self-titled debut in April 1980 which went straight in the British album charts at number 4 and capitalised on this success by touring with big name hard rock and heavy metal bands such as KISS and Judas Priest (who had just released their classic album, "British Steel" at the time.) Maiden quickly followed this with a second studio album named, "Killers" which featured former Urchin guitarist Adrian Smith, who had replaced guitarist Dennis Stratton. Although "Killers" did not do as well as the previous album in terms of chart success, it did well enough for the band to be booked in the United States, where they were just as well received as they were in England.

The band made another change in the lineup after finishing their tour of America, this time it would be Paul Di'anno who was to find himself sacked. The group hired Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson after he met with their manager Rod Smallwood at the Reading Festival and the band recorded the album, "The Number Of The Beast" which is considered today as one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever made and propelled Iron Maiden from being a succesful band to rock superstars, topping the charts in the United Kingdom. From there, the band recorded a string of albums which continued to sell well and garner critical acclaim, including "Piece Of Mind" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son." Another lineup change was to occur in 1989 when guitarist Adrian Smith quit the band was replaced by former Gillan axe man Janick Gers. This lineup of the band recorded the album, "No Prayer For The Dying" which not particularly well received by fans, though it did earn the band their first chart topping single in Britain with "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter." They followed by releasing "Fear Of The Dark" in 1992 which was better received by fans, but not by much. Following this release and two live albums, singer Bruce Dickinson quit to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley. The "Blaze era" of the band produced several outstanding songs but was not met with great enthusiasm from fans of Dickinson's voice, though both albums recorded with Bayley entered album charts around the world.

Blaze Bayley left the band by mutual consent in 1999 and Maiden shocked fans by announcing that not only was guitarist Adrian Smith returning to the band, but so was singer Bruce Dickinson. After a "greatest hits" tour, the band recorded a brand new album named, "Brave New World" which was well received by fans and entered the top ten in the United Kingdom. The band continued to tour relentlessly being supported by such bands as Halford and Queensryche along the way, before releasing another studio album in 2003 entitled, "Dance Of Death" and hitting the road hard once again. Both of these tours supporting these albums received the live album treatment, in the form of 2002's "Rock In Rio" album and 2005's "Death On The Road" set. After a break from touring the band released another album in 2006 entitled, "A Matter Of Life And Death." Although it proved well receieved, the band angered several fans by performing the entire album on the subsequent tour, with only five classic songs in the set list. After touring in support of the album, the band embarked on the "Somewhere Back In Time" tour which saw them focusing on material from their mid 80s catalogue. After a well earned break, the band entered the studios last to record their fiteenth studio album, which recently revealed to be named, "The Final Frontier," fueling rumours that this is to be their last album. Whether it is or not, the legacy that Iron Maiden carved out for themselves is one that rock superstardom is made of and they will forever be considered one of the greatest bands in the history of heavy metal.

Iron Maiden - "Burning Ambition"

Iron Maiden - "Running Free"

Iron Maiden - "The Prisoner"

Iron Maiden - "Aces High"

Iron Maiden - "The Evil That Men Do"

Iron Maiden - "Man On The Edge"

Iron Maiden - "Different World"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.

You can get related band news and info in the sidebar and on the respective band pages.


25 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Iron Maiden"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. DraconicCrusader writes:

UP THE IRONS!

I can't wait to see them at The Final Frontier! <;3

# May 2, 2010 @ 12:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

2. hellrat writes:

THANK YOU Oz....you're quite a guy!!

UP THE FVCKING IRONS!!!

'cept of course those pitiful years when bayley was slathering at the mic ;)

thanks again man....cheers!!

though you know that it was AMERICA that made em famous, right?? :)

# May 2, 2010 @ 12:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalFodder's avatar

Supporter

3. MetalFodder writes:

Was at the Back in time tour...One of the best shows I have ever seen to this day!

# May 2, 2010 @ 4:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

4. Diamond Oz writes:

Oh dawg you be trollin'! You're very welcome though, glad you enjoyed the article.

# May 2, 2010 @ 4:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. duncan hills writes:

love em or loathe em? i'd just say love em, cos i've never met anyone that loathes em.
truly legends. more fame, sheer scale and longevity than metallica with none of the napster/st anger mess.

# May 2, 2010 @ 5:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

6. Diamond Oz writes:

I know a few people that hate them. I'm not hugely fond of much past the first three albums.

# May 2, 2010 @ 5:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Spaghetti_Motel's avatar

Member

7. Spaghetti_Motel writes:

^You know I could actually tell, being a HUGE Maiden fan I don't want to be picky but I definitely would've written something different. But hey thats just me, still a good article though.

# May 2, 2010 @ 5:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
DeathCrush's avatar

Member

8. DeathCrush writes:

Biggest Iron Maiden fan right here! :P

# May 2, 2010 @ 5:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

9. hellrat writes:

ha! saw yer's and RTs bit of fun the other day ;)

do most agree with Zac of the mighty North....I would've written a fvckin book! :)

their highlight for me was powerslave and its subsequent fvcking EPIC tour (my first show! 10 years old at Tingley in ABQ....ALL FVCKIN TIME...and i've seen some good ones!)....went gradually downhill from there and TOTALLY fell off the fvcking edge of the earth with fvcking blaze....then came cragging back up in the last decade to be great again....if not in necessarily in new material (a bit redundant, eh?), then most definitely in live performance....fvckers have aged BY FAR the best of ANY of the old fart generation.....and while most dudes gotta cut the hard songs from the set, or (ozzy!) sample their own fvcking vox that they cant croak out no more, bruce still has all his chops at hand.....NO slack versions allowed, goddamnit!!

dianno was also just fvcking great in his contributions...some of my all time favorite sh** from that era

right on Oz...many thanks for throwin it down brother

\m/ X \m/

# May 2, 2010 @ 6:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
50bmg's avatar

Member

10. 50bmg writes:

Killers was one of the first records I bought (age 13!) and wore that sh** out. One of my favorite records of all time! d***inson is a tool but I dig his voice and the early Maiden records he did with them were great.

# May 2, 2010 @ 9:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
METAL213's avatar

Member

11. METAL213 writes:

HAIL MAIDEN! Massive influence to countless countless countless bands. I like the first two records with Di'anno (especially the first), but you just can't beat the d***inson albums. The Number of the Beast is easily my favorite and I think their best album ever. Piece of Mind and Powerslave are amazing as well. So excited to FINALLY see them this summer. STAY METAL MY FRIENDS!

# May 2, 2010 @ 11:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
TheIronMan's avatar

Member

12. TheIronMan writes:

@Deathcrush

I don't know... SpagMo is a pretty big Maiden fan. Take a look at the Maiden, Sabbath, Priest thread :P

# May 3, 2010 @ 5:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. THRASH T'ILL DEATH writes:

MAIDEN FOREVER THEY ARE GODS!!! CANT WATE FOR FINAL FRONTIRE TOUR, FIRST STOP!!! UP THE IRONS!!!!!

# May 3, 2010 @ 10:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. eraserhead writes:

Best of the classic metal bands by far. And unlike metallica they havn't worn out their welcome and become a nuissence.

# May 3, 2010 @ 7:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Necrovomit's avatar

Member

15. Necrovomit writes:

maiden are the sh**. and i kinda like bayley. his voice was unique. but by all means he was no d***inson but i still thought it was ok.

# May 3, 2010 @ 11:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar

Member

16. OlafBerzerker writes:

the mighty maiden has eluded me for 20 odd years but that cat and mouse game ends in Toronto this summer. i havent really heard anything post seventh son, but anything to that point is beauty !

# May 4, 2010 @ 12:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Trendkill91's avatar

Member

17. Trendkill91 writes:

Good article man! was interesting to read.

# May 5, 2010 @ 12:29 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar

Member

18. Rychemn writes:

One of the best metal bands ever!!!! Blg 16....if this is your first time seeing them, I can assure you, you won't be dissappointed...I'm flying up to Maryland to see them for my 6th time...it all started for me in 81' opening up for Judas Priest on the "Screaming for Vengence" tour in support of "The Beast on the Road".....than followed by the "World Piece Tour" '83 (Piece of Mind album.....still to this day one of my most favorite tours, and opening for Priest is my #1 of all time!!!) a true metal legend and a sure hall of fame band (someday when those A-holes can get it right!!!).......UP THE IRONS!!!!! \M/ \M/

# May 5, 2010 @ 4:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. RTB writes:

The ironman with the elmo logo...LMFAO.....sorry
I ve got huge luv for maiden...to this day i remain mighty PO what they had to endure at ozzfest a few years back, and what the fans did at the san bernadino show, which was absoulty horsesh!t....
Good band, good guys, with some might hits back in the day..who i hear are still awesome live...seen some of their live apperances via dvd's and they look and sound fine.....another nice piece sir oz

# May 5, 2010 @ 4:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

20. Blindgreed1 writes:

TheIronMan and Deathcrush: Brunohockalugie is the biggest Maiden fan I know. After that, I think it would have to be my bass player (or any bass player for that matter).

Also, I liked everything up to Powerslave. After that everything started to sound the same to me. Not sure why, their stuff was definately different and well done. I guess I just reached the edge of my Maiden threshold. However, since rocking out to Flight 666 again on Monday, i'm looking forward to the next release.

# May 5, 2010 @ 3:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. the messenger writes:

always one of the greatest bands ever. looking forward to their new album.

# May 5, 2010 @ 10:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Trendkill91's avatar

Member

22. Trendkill91 writes:

It shows how important this band is in Metal or even rock for that matter.

Alot of these new up and coming bands are covering Maiden songs.
And its funny , they can never make it sound better then the original , Maiden is defintley one of a kind and definatley one of the most memorable concerts I have been too. The crowd singing with Bruce on 2 minutes 2 Midnight gaves instant chills.

# May 6, 2010 @ 12:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. spiral_architect writes:

i saw maiden on their "give em 'ed til they're dead" tour in connecticut. dio and motorhead opened up. maiden kicked ass, in spite of d***inson's occasional insults to the american crowd. the real showstopper though was dio's leather-lunged delivery of his classic metal hits. 70 something years old and in fine form then. i can only hope he pulls through his cancer and chemo treatments.

# May 6, 2010 @ 5:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

Member

24. wilco writes:

again have to say a super artical
hornsup to oz

# May 7, 2010 @ 6:49 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

25. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers Wilco. It's really nice to see this getting so many views and comments. Got a good band coming this sunday ;)

# May 7, 2010 @ 7:05 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.