The Early Years
Formed in 1976 London, England, Iron Maiden's from-the-start brainchild was Steve Harris, who was born on the 12th of March, 1957 in Leytonstone, London, England, and he would be on the bass. Steve was a former member of Smiler. Named after a medieval torture device, the music was heavy and put pressure on the senses.
The late 70's heavy metal was regarded as stagnant, as there were only a few bands that were still producing quality music, in most people's opinions. At this time a new generation of British bands were being formed. This era, 1979-1980 was known as N.W.O.B.*.M. Also known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. In that genre Iron Maiden belonged as one of the first. This genre introduced young mean bands that played with more energy than the founding fathers of heavy metal such as Black Sabbath. An influence to this genre many people believe is punk music.
In Maiden's early days there were seemingly non-stop line-up changes in the band. When they released their first EP the line-up was Harris on bass, Paul Di Anno in charge of lead vocals, Dave Murray on lead guitar, and last but not least Doug Sampson beating the drums.
In Stratford, London 1977, Iron Maiden made their first live appearance at a pub called Cart & Horses Pub. Maiden could not receive a response from any record companies, so the band senta three-track tape, featuring Iron Maiden, Prowler and Strange to a D.J. named Neal Kay at the Kingsbury Bandwagon Soundhouse. Kay's patronage of Iron Maiden won them an instant welcome, which prompted the release of The Soundhouse Tapes on the band's own label.
In November, 1979 Tony Parsons was added to the line-up as second guitarist for two tracks on the Metal For Muthas compilation. When the band had started having recording sessions for their first album, Parsons was replaced by Dennis Stratton, and Sampson on the drums was replaced by Clive Burr. A promotional single, Running Free made it to the top 50 on the UK charts and appeared on BBC's Top of the Pops, becoming the first band since The Who to play live on the show.
The Iron Maiden album made it to number 4 on the UK's top album lists along with Phantom of The Opera. Soon guitarist Dennis Stratton would be replaced by a man that some believe is one of the best, or even the best guitarist in the world. Adrian Smith
Maiden starting getting noticed, and became very popular among most heavy metal fans, aided by the manager Rod Smallwood and the all too well known Eddie mascot.
The Number Of The Beast release was a great factor to Iron Maiden's development. Possibly without Number Of The Beast, Maiden may have never been as successful in the heavy metal genre. This album was an amazing success for Iron Maiden.
Soon infantry man Bruce Dickinson would replace Paul Di Anno at the lead vocals position. Dickinson was a history graduate and made his first live debut with the band in 1981 on the 15th of November.
Run to the Hills and Number Of The Beast singles made it to the top of the UK charts, Iron Maiden would leave behind the New Wave, just at the time as the era was faltering.
Their success was continued by Piece Of Mind which was a top charter, number three in the UK and made number 14 in the USA. Nicko Mcbrain came into play replacing Burr as the drummer, Nicko was formerly with the French-Metal band called Trust who would support maiden when they toured the UK in 1981.
Two other singles, The Trooper and Flight of Icarus were major hits, as the band went on two massive tours, would sell out within days.
When Powerslave was brought to life in November, Maiden was accused of writing in a self-imposed style, and playing safe with tested ideas. The band's core supporters made sure that Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight were major hits as well. The double-album package in Live After Death was an album of all their greatest songs recorded live on their 11 month tour.
At this time Iron Maiden was widely known and loved throughout the world. Still, after being critiqued on their songwriting they did not change their style in Wasted Years or Stranger in a Strange Land which made it to the top 11.
Since mid 80's Maiden has been staging amazing live shows and tours all over the world bringing their style of heavy metal to fans everywhere. Iron Maiden was more famous as a live band than a studio-band and still are to this day, which was their foundation for their much earned success in the musical world.
Soon Seventh Son of A Seventh Son would release and be another million's sell-out, containing popular songs such as Can I Play With Madness, and the sensitive Evil Men That Do.
After another amazing Maiden world tour, they announced something that would disappoint fans across the world. Iron Maiden were taking a much needed break of a year at least. During this year off, there were many rumors going around about the dissolution of the band, it probably didn't help the rumors that Bruce Dickinson was working on a solo project as well as playing with Maiden.
After the break, strong as ever, the speculation ended as the news of the band surfaced again, bringing hope to the die-hard Maiden fans out there. Harris felt that he didn't much care for the style of the last two albums and felt like returning to their old style of playing. Sadly, Adrian Smith was unhappy with this though, because he believed the new style involved more guitar, which he liked, forced to leave he would be replaced by Janick Gers, former member of White Spirit and Ian Gilian who contributed to Dickinson's solo project.
Maiden's live reputation was reduced to a smaller scale as they started playing in smaller venues. No Prayer For The Dying sounded like mid-time Maiden, and brought enormous single hits in the UK such as Holy Smoke. Iron Maiden would soon have their first ever UK #1.
Their much waited on world tour followed the release. Soon new single Fear Of The Dark would create another #1 Maiden song on the chart. Bruce Dickinson would be replaced by Blaze Bayley from Wolfsbane. His first album was the X-Factor, on this and live gigs he proved his worth easily. This was a hard task for Blaze as he had to learn the whole Maiden style and fight conspiracy at the same time.
The Original Lineup Returns
In February 1999 it was announced that Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith had rejoined the band, restoring the classic 80s line-up. Maiden fans around the world were shocked and excited that not only Smith and Dickinson would rejoin, but also Gers would remain in the band as well To the great delight of their loyal followers an excellent new album was not long in following.
In 2000 regarded as the progressive rock time period, started of with a bang for Maiden as they released the hit album Brave New World. The songwriting style of this album contained both themes about the dark, and social criticism. Maiden gained almost a whole new fan base when they started expirimenting with progressive metal, which was tested in Brave New World. Brave New World's world tour ended in January 2001 with another amazing maiden show at Rock In Rio festival.
As Of 2005, Iron Maiden has announced a tour for the up-coming year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of their first album and the 30th anniversary of their formation. The band plans to hit the road to support a new DVD The Early Years where the band will celebrate music form the 1975-1980 era of music. Still today Iron Maiden is on a lot of peoples lists as favorite band.
Bruce Dickinson-Vocals(1982-1993, 1999-present)
Adrian Smith-Guitar(1980-1990, 1999-present)