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Iron Maiden is a British heavy metal rock band that is famous for such hits as “Run to the Hills”, “The Trooper”, and “The Flight of Icarus”. The name “Iron Maiden” was taken from the name of a medieval torture device, and the most recognizable member of the band is the zombie “Eddie”, who is found on virtually all Iron Maiden merch.
Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 by the current bassist Steve Harris. The original band consisted of Steve Harris on bass, Paul Day as lead singer, Dave Sullivan and Terry Rance were the guitarists, and Ron Mathews was the drummer. This line-up was very short lived. The band would undergo several changes before achieving wide stream success.
The first album released by Iron Maiden was aptly named “Iron Maiden”, which was released on April 14, 1980. By this time, the lineup had changed to Steve Harris on bass, Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton on guitar, Clive Burr on drums, and Paul Di’Anno on vocals. Shortly after the release of Iron Maiden, the band opened for Kiss on the European leg of their “Unmasked” tour. Shortly After the tour, guitarist Dennis Stratton was fired from the band due to creative and personal differences.
Sadly, in 1981 lead singer Paul Di’Anno was fired due to behaviors that were attributed to drug abuse. Bruce Dickenson was brought in as the lead singer, and after the third album “The Number of the Beast” was released in 1982, the success of Iron Maiden skyrocketed. The album kicked off a world tour. In the United States concert sites were met with protests by Christian activist groups who believed the album had satanic overtures. The protests, along with album burning parties gave Iron Maiden even more publicity, and may have contributed even more to the bands success. The follow up album “Piece of Mind”, released in 1983 was the first album to go platinum in the United States. By this time, drummer Clive Burr had left the band due to personal reasons, and he was replaced by Nicko McBrain who stayed with the band to this very day.
The band continued wide stream success during the eighties with albums “Powerslave”, “Somewhere in Time”, and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. Iron Maiden merch was selling very well. Everywhere you looked you could find Eddie on a t-shirt. Bruce Dickenson was with the band for two more albums in the nineties (“No Prayer for the Dying” and “Fear of the Dark”) before leaving the band in 1993 to pursue a solo career. His replacement was Blaze Bailey of Wolfsbane fame. Bailey’s vocals were very different than Dickerson’s, and his inclusion in the band met with limited success. The album “The X Factor” suffered from poor sales, and a follow up album “Virtual XI” released in 1998 suffered the poorest sales ever.
In 1999 Bruce Dickenson and Adrian Smith rejoined the band, and they embarked on a world tour. Fans were hungry for the Iron Maiden that had achieved most of it’s success in the eighties, and the tour was a huge hit. Once again you could see Iron Maiden merch everywhere. On April 21, 2009 the band will release the film “Iron Maiden: Flight 666”, which follows the band on their first leg of the “Somewhere Back in Time Tour”. In Sau Paulo Brazil on March 16, 63000 people attended the show, the most ever for an Iron Maiden concert. With A new album due to be released sometime this year, Iron Maiden is expected to add a new generation of fans to the huge legions of old fans.
write by Briston Blair