Emanating from the mid
70's Punk ridden East End of London, IRON MAIDEN challenged the New Wave by
delivering highly charged, no compromise Heavy Metal. Within a few short years
IRON MAIDEN had eclipsed all others to gain the undisputed title of the biggest
British Heavy Metal band. IRON MAIDEN would reign unchallenged until an
unwelcome change of frontman in the mid 90's.
Formed by bassist Steve Harris and taking their name from a spiked coffin torture device IRON MAIDEN underwent many personnel changes from their initial 1975 line-up. Harris started out as part of INFLUENCE, a band that soon adopted the title of GYPSY'S KISS in time for their debut gig in 1972 performed by the band line-up comprising of vocalist Bob Verschoyle, guitarist Dave Smith, bassist Harris and drummer Paul Sears.
In the main, GYPSY'S KISS gigs were centred around the London pub circuit and the band featured many covers in their set from the likes of DEEP PURPLE and FREE.
After a handful of gigs Harris joined Boogie merchants SMILER joining vocalist Dennis Wilcock, guitarists Mick and Tony Clee and drummer Doug Sampson. Harris departed in 1975 to form IRON MAIDEN roping in vocalist Paul Mario Day, guitarists Terry Rance and Dave Sullivan and drummer Ron 'Rebel' Matthews.
Paul Mario Day was soon ousted in favour of ex SMILER and WARLOCK vocalist Dennis Wilcock who added lurid stage theatrics, such as garish make-up and blood spurting to the act. Rance and Sullivan also lost their positions to guitarists Dave Murray (previously with EVIL WAY) and Bob 'Angelo' Sawyer. Mario Day later fronted MORE and the SWEET.
A matter of months passed before Sawyer was out and Murray's initial tenure was also short-lived as within six months he had joined URCHIN and IRON MAIDEN became a single guitar band recruiting ex HOOKER musician Terry Wapram and also adding keyboardist Tony Moor. However, Ron Matthews left, later turning up in TORMÉ for a live album in 1994 and much later in 1999 as part of ATOMIC ROOSTER.
In his stead came Barry Purkis. IRON MAIDEN's new drummer had a heritage with numerous acts dating back to INOMINE PATRIS in 1972 but this revised line-up only completed one gig.
With both Moore and Wapram leaving for pastures new, Dave Murray was enticed back from URCHIN, although the line-up ructions were far from over as Wilcock quit followed by Purkis. The latter adopted the stage name of THUNDERSTICK and joined Blues Rock orientated competitors SAMSON, whilst Wilcock united with ex IRON MAIDEN guitarist Terry Wapram to form VI.
Another British tour proved enormously successful, as did European dates with openers BLACKFOOT and, yet again, the band supported JUDAS PRIEST in America. Other supports included stints with the SCORPIONS, .38 SPECIAL and RAINBOW. The world tour was rounded off by Australian and Japanese dates.
In the latter part of 1983 the quintet travelled to Europe, where MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP opened, before appearing at one of the biggest Heavy Metal festivals ever. A TV special in Dortmund as part of the 'Rock Pop' televised concert series, the awesome bill also included SCORPIONS, JUDAS PRIEST, KROUS, DEF LEPPARD, OZZY OSBOURNE, QUIET RIOT and MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP over two days.
IRON MAIDEN launched their brand new album, the Ancient Egyptian flavoured in 1984 and the ensuing world tour saw the quintet performing their first dates in Poland during the autumn of 1984. In 1985, the band performed a set of seven sold out shows at the prestigious New York Radio City Music Hall venue with support act QUEENSRYCHE. Further American supports were handled by W.A.S.P., TWISTED SISTER and ACCEPT.
The 'World Slavery' tour caught IRON MAIDEN delivering the decibels to 26 countries over 200 shows and spawned a hit live video and album 'Live After Death'.
Still, IRON MAIDEN toured heavily throughout the end of 1995 including dates in such far flung places as Israel and South Africa, although a planned Beirut show was cancelled by the authorities who insisted the show was likely to incite riots.
IRON MAIDEN's British and European shows saw Doom Metal act MY DYING BRIDE supporting as Steve Harris and Co were also able to perform a full blown tour of the former eastern bloc territories, embracing Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Rumania.
In early 1996 the group opted to play a one off club show at Nottingham's Rock City venue, a date that saw PSYCHO MOTEL, the latest band featuring Adrian Smith, supporting.
A mammoth 'Best Of The Beast' compilation arrived in September of 1996, the most impressive variant being a gargantuan quadruple vinyl set complete with lavish gatefold artwork and a limited edition book. A single, 'Virus', would accompany the album, various B sides of which offered fans a chance to hear archive IRON MAIDEN recordings of 'Sanctuary' and 'Wrathchild' from the 'Metal For Muthas' compilation and 'Prowler' and 'Invasion' lifted from 'The Soundhouse Tapes'.
Throughout 1997 IRON MAIDEN kept a low profile as they worked on a brand new album for release in 1998, although Harris did announce plans for his own record label, Beast Records. Steve's first signings were DIRTY DEEDS, the London based group fronted by ex CHARIOT main man Pete Franklin.
IRON MAIDEN set out on tour once again during 1998 although attendance wise their star was definitely waning, the band's loyal audience drifting away in obvious dissatisfaction at Bayley's abilities. South American shows had the band playing to capacity arena crowds though but with the political situation between Chile and Britain aggravated by the General Pinochet affair IRON MAIDEN wisely pulled out of shows there, ANTHRAX taking their stead. Meanwhile BRUCE DICKINSON's album 'Chemical Wedding' and tour was going great guns.
By early 1999 press
speculation and the wish of the band's fans to see the band back in the top
league finally won the day as Bayley was ousted by a returning BRUCE
DICKINSON. Adrian Smith also rejoined making IRON MAIDEN an unexpected if
welcome three guitar assault! Bayley would later make a return with his new
Metal act BLAZE
and the resulting 'Silicon Messiah' album still retaining management links
with the Sanctuary stable.
The rejuvenated IRON MAIDEN wowed America with a sold out 17 date tour before taking on European venues. Meantime a whole slew of tribute albums arrived in the stores such as Swedish efforts 'Made In Tribute' and 'Maiden Scandinavia', the American Meteor City 'Slave To The Power' release as well as PAUL DIANNO cropping up on '666 The Number One Beast'.
The subsequent 'Brave New World' album (internet reports of an album title of 'Majesty Of Gaia' would be proved false) vindicated the return of Dickinson with a vengeance, this despite tracks such as 'Nomad', 'Dream Of Mirrors' and 'Mercenary' being re-worked versions of tracks originally demoed for the 'Virtual XI' sessions. IRON MAIDEN scored a number 3 album in Germany with the 'Wicker Man' single going top ten in Britain. The album would blaze a trail across the international charts landing at number 7 in their homeland, 39 in the USA and even scoring a number one in the Heavy Metal strongholds both Sweden and Greece. Generally, the European continent's national charts found 'Brave New World' inhabiting the upper reaches, a definitive renewal of fortunes.
A batch of European festival performances were cancelled when Gers sustained injuries after falling offstage in Mannheim. IRON MAIDEN were back in action touring America in the latter half of the year with support from HALFORD and QUEENSRYCHE. Although back in demand and pulling strong crowds IRON MAIDEN's resurgence was marred by the stabbing of four fans at their Los Angeles Verizon wireless Amphitheatre gig.
Quite bizarrely news emerged in 2000 that one of IRON MAIDEN's earliest guitarists Tony Parsons had created an IRON MAIDEN tribute band named METALWORKS 2000 including ex-ALICE COOPER and THE ALMIGHTY guitarist Pete Friezin and ex JUDAS PRIEST drummer Les Binks. Another ex MAIDEN man erstwhile, singer PAUL DIANNO, billed as PAUL DIANNO AND THE BEAST, would also fan the flames in early 2001 issuing a live album comprising entirely of IRON MAIDEN songs.
A more surreal addition to the family came with the emergence of Californian act IRON MAIDENS. A quite unique tribute band being the first all female homage to IRON MAIDEN. The act includes some highly respected players in their own right featuring the PHANTOM BLUE duo of guitarist Josephine and drummer Linda McDonald, PROZACT PRINCESS singer Jenny, ex-BANDIT guitarist Sara and NEW EDEN bassist Melanie Sisneros (a.k.a. "Stephanie Harris").
IRON MAIDEN themselves would bounce back in the expected spectacular style with the mammoth 'Live At The Rock In Rio' album in March of 2002. The same month the band would announce two benefit shows at the Brixton Academy in London in aid of former drummer Clive Burr who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Demand was such the run was extended to three sold out nights and in a further move the band informed fans that all proceeds from the next single, 'Run To The Hills', would be devoted to the MS fund. The single proved to be eminently collectable in three formats boasting exclusive tracks on each including archive 1982 live tracks featuring Burr on drums. The DVD version of 'Rock In Rio' would top the UK music video charts on it's first week of release. Later in the year IRON MAIDEN would pitch in further to aid the Clive Burr Trust auctioning off a mammoth selection of band rarities including a full Nicko McBrain drum kit, autographed guitars and even an Eddie stage prop from the ‘No Prayer For The Dying’ tour.
As BRUCE DICKINSON unveiled plans for a further solo album and his intention to master the art of flying large passenger aircraft rumours also surfaced that NICKO McBRAIN had recently united with erstwhile ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz for an undisclosed band project. This revelation would come as unexpectedly as Spitz had been out of the Rock n' Roll limelight for many years, becoming a vocal Christian since his departure from the band and devoting himself to gaining qualifications in the art of watchmaking. By late December MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was also seemingly involved in this venture.
On September 7th a trio of IRON MAIDEN players — drummer Nicko McBrain, guitarist Janick Gers, and vocalist Bruce Dickinson — surprised DEEP PURPLE fans by joining the Rock veterans on stage during their London Hammersmith Apollo gig for a rendition of the classic 'Smoke On The Water'. A further treat came on October 21st when famed American Progressive Metal outfit DREAM THEATER gave priviliged fans at their second night at the London Astoria by performing the entirity of the 'Number Of The Beast' album live. The band, who faithfully represented the album with the exception of a Jazz flavoured 'Gangland', even rigged up a DREAM THEATER logo backdrop executed in the classic Maiden logo script.
November proved of great importance to fans as the band launched the leviathan 3 CD box set ‘Eddies Archives’, a collection of rare live material issued through Columbia Records dating from 1979 tracks right through until the band’s headline show at Castle Donington in 1988. Incorporated would be ‘Friday Rock Show’ sessions from 1979, material pulled from the Reading Festival in 1980 and 1982 plus a compilation of B sides. In keeping with tradition the whole affair was lavishly packaged coming clad in a limited edition silver Eddie embossed casket. Besides the music the collection added an Eddie head shot glass and a family tree on parchment scroll. A further album, ‘Edward The Great’, would be released in North America the same day as ‘Eddie’s Archives’ on 4th November.
The band would spend early 2003 in production of a new studio album 'Dance Of Death' working with producer Kevin Shirley. This outing would mark the band's first studio effort to be mixed in 5.1 surround sound. A mammoth DVD package 'Visions Of The Beast' emerged that July, chronicling over three hours of music and comprising more than 30 promotional videos. IRON MAIDEN would be confirmed as the headline act at the Castle Donington 'Download' festival in June, the only UK date on their 'Give Me Ed … 'Til I'm Dead' world tour. Oddly US band MURDERDOLLS would be confirmed as main support for the entire European leg. US dates commencing in July saw IRON MAIDEN headlining a strong package tour allied with DIO and MOTÖRHEAD. UK gigs had rising Welsh act FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND as support. October European shows saw German act GAMMA RAY acting as openers. However, progress was marred when Bruce Dickinson came down with influenza and severe laryngitis, necessitating the cancellation of shows in Rotterdam, Holland, Wroclaw, Poland and Helsinki in Finland.
When 'Dance Of Death' was delivered to the public the album garnered the by now customary score of top ten global chart positions with no. 1's achieved in Iceland, Sweden, Greece and Italy. In the USA the record debuted at no. 18, selling over 40,000 copies in its first week of sale. Live dates into 2004 saw South American dates in January - visiting Argentina, Brazil and Chile, a further burst of US and Canadian shows with Sweden's rising stars ARCH ENEMY lending support to the British veterans four show run at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom then Japanese gigs in February.
By February IRON MAIDEN had performed to over one and a half million people in 28 countries. In celebration the band issued a special release entitled 'No More Lies: The Dance Of Death Souvenir EP'. This included remixed versions of 'Journeyman' and the epic 'Paschendale' along with live video of the title track. 'Dance Of Death' itself would be given some very special treatment, issued in DVDA format with Hi-definition 24-bit/96 Khz 5.1 surround sound. The upgraded version of the album also added promotional videos for 'Wildest Dreams' and 'Rainmaker'.
Early May found BRUCE DICKINSON providing some noteable sounds on his BBC radio 'Rock Show' programme, guesting on a cover of DEEP PURPLE's 'Black Night' with THERAPY? and on a rendition of BLACK SABBATH's 'Black Sabbath' with FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND. He would also turn his hand to narration, providing the voice for the BBC world service documentaries 'Legends Of Rock'. Later that same month ex-IRON MAIDEN guitarist Dennis Stratton announced a new band formation dubbed THE DENIAL, in union with original JUDAS PRIEST singer AL ATKINS.
NICKO McBRAIN stepped out of IRON MAIDEN activities briefly for a one off show in South Florida to celebrate his 52nd birthday on 5th June. McBrain would unite with members of DEEPSET, Jonathan Murphy on vocals and Rick Baum on guitar, with the BLACK SABBATH, WHITE LION and GREAT WHITE credited Dave 'The Beast' Spitz on bass to perform a set of covers billed as WRATH CHILD. By July this band unit, adding FAILSAFE's Chris Proano on second guitar, had evolved into McBRAIN DAMAGE, booking US shows throughout the Summer.
IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith and Nicko McBrain would be included on the special guest roll call for the 'Miller Strat Pack' concert on 24th September at London's Wembley Arena. Held in aid of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy the concert celebrated 50 years of the famous Fender Stratocaster guitar.
In the absence of a new album, and delays in BRUCE DICKINSON's next solo outing, IRON MAIDEN plugged the gap somewhat with a 'Powerslave' tin lunchbox, a 'Somewhere In Time' 18" action figure with glowing red eyes, motion-activated lights and movement and an official 2005 calendar. Further IRON MAIDEN product would be delivered in October, with 'The History Of IRON MAIDEN - Part 1; The Early Days' DVD. This package comprised the 'Live at The Rainbow' and 'The Beast Over Hammersmith' concert films, seven songs recorded at the 1983 Dortmund 'Rock & Pop' festival, nine tracks captured at The Ruskin Arms in 1980, a previously unreleased 'Live At Donington' shoot, a newly filmed history of the band, 1981 'Top Of The Pops' performances of both 'Women In Uniform' and 'Sanctuary' plus documentary footage from 'Rock & Pop' German television and Granada TV's 'Colourbox'.
On the television front, BRUCE DICKINSON featured as presenter for a documentary 'Flying Heavy Metal', charting the evolution of the passenger aeroplane, and guested on Discovery Home channel's 'Trainspotting'.
IRON MAIDEN announced plans for a huge live campaign throughout the Summer of 2005. A gig at the 51,000 capacity Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg would sell out completely in less than two and a half hours. Another major gig saw the band performing at the 55,000 capacity Parc de Princes Stadium in Paris. The 6th July concert at the 12,000 capacity Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland sold out within 30 minutes of tickets going on sale, the promoters swiftly adding another show for the following day.
IRON MAIDEN issued a special 25th anniversary single of 'The Number Of The Beast' in January of 2005. Various formats, including enhanced CD, a limited 7-Inch coloured vinyl with free poster, and 12-Inch picture disc, carried live recordings from the Clive Burr charity shows at Brixton Academy in March 2002.
So there you have it, the history of IRON MAIDEN for now!!!
The complete IRON MAIDEN time line, below is a list of every line up and member of IRON MAIDEN right from day one.
1. Paul Mario Day (vocals), Terry Rance (guitar), Dave Sullivan (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Ron Matthews (drums)
2. Dennis Wilcock (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Bob Sawyer (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Ron Matthews (drums)
3. Dennis Wilcock (vocals), Terry Wapram (guitar), Terry Moor (keyboards), Steve Harris (bass), Ron Matthews (drums)
4. Dennis Wilcock (vocals), Terry Wapram (guitar), Terry Moor (keyboards), Steve Harris (bass), Barry Purkis (drums)
5. Dennis Wilcock (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Terry Moor (keyboards), Steve Harris (bass), Barry Purkis (drums)
6. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Terry Moor (keyboards), Steve Harris (bass), Doug Sampson (drums)
7. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Paul Cairns (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Doug Sampson (drums)
8. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Paul Todd (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Doug Sampson (drums)
9. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Tony Parsons (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Doug Sampson (drums)
10. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Dennis Stratton (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Doug Sampson (drums)
11. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Dennis Stratton (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Clive Burr (drums)
12. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Clive Burr (drums)
13. Paul Dianno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Clive Burr (drums)
14. Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Clive Burr (drums)
15. Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Nicko McBrain (drums)
16. Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Nicko McBrain (drums)
17. Blaze Bayley (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Nicko McBrain (drums)
18. Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Nicko McBrain (drums)
It is a little known fact that IRON
MAIDEN are not the only IRON MAIDEN, in 1966 in Basildon Essex a group formed
under the name IRON MAIDEN.
after building up a cult following playing there dark and doomy style of Rock
very similar to Black Sabbath's first album. In 1969 they went into the studio
to record what would have been their first album, the album entitled
"Maiden Voyage" was never released due to the fact that the record
label (Gemini Records) who signed the band went bankrupt, the band then
decided the split and went there separate ways.
In 1998 English reissue label Audio Archives released a re-mastered version of the album from the original master tapes. The album is a classic piece of Sabbath style Doom-metal, and is sadly a forgotten masterpiece, by a forgotten band, who deserve some credit for helping to create Heavy Metal.
The original IRON MAIDEN are
Trevor Thoms - Guitar
Steve Drewett - Vocals
Barry Skeels - Bass
Paul Reynolds - Drums (1966 -1970)
Steve Chapman - Drums (1970)
1966 - 1970
A highly recommended album (If you can get a hold of it, which is unlikely, but I have it, so who cares, ha ha ha)
(Note: the two bands have no connection whatsoever accept for the name)
Please visit my other site type in dangerous106.tripod.com and click on the top (yellow) Iron Maiden logo, to see my site about this long lost band.