I basically could do a whole series on the brilliant back cover drawings of former Maiden artist Derek Riggs.
For this edition of Back Covers I have decided to feature not one but Two… yes Folks Two Iron Maiden albums. The stellar debut album Iron Maiden from 1980 and 1981’s classic release Killers!
These first two Maiden worldwide releases show Maiden in their earliest form and you can see by the two Back Cover Pics how Maiden within a span of a year was developing a huge fan base that resulted in what the Facecrack Generation would say “Trending”.
Actually these first two Maiden albums are the only two studio releases that show live shots of Maiden. The rest of Maidens back covers were continuations of the album covers drawn by Riggs. (Yes those will be discussed at some point down the road)
The debut Maiden back cover picture shows Maiden playing the pubs/bars gaining momentum in regards to the fan base and as you can see right about Drummer Clive Burr’s(RIP) Drums is Band Mascot Eddie in his earliest form as a prop. Course years later Maiden hit the big time and rode right into Arena level status.
These pics are cool as it shows that Bassist Steve Harris and Manager Rod Smallwood had a focus. If you’re playing a bar. Pack the stage with Amps/Drums/Props and the buzz will get out.
Get out it did….
1981 comes into view and Maiden really goes for the jugular and release Killers. With another brilliantly drawn Rigg’s cover comes the back cover with a real cool live shot upon when I first seen this album(Killers was my first Maiden purchase back in July 1981).
As you can see by this picture that graces the back of the Killers album Maiden was indeed trending in the upward position as you can see the difference in the two pics all within a year. The back of Killers is a great shot and as a 13-year-old going on 14 that pic sold me big time! Look at Eddie spewing smoke from his mouth smothering Burr’s drum set. Maiden in full flight! A total action shot! What a game changer and look at that stage with all the punters down in the front.
Also each dude in Maiden gets there pic and what instrument they play/vocals etc. Martin Birch the Producer of Killers gets his own pic as well! Kudos to photographer Robert Ellis who took all these shots!
The whole back cover is a great selling feature as even the song titles are bad ass! Wrathchild/Drifter/Murders In The Rue Morgue/Innocent Exile/Genghis Kahn. Man, the song titles were just plain cool!
These two Back Covers show Maiden in a span of the year making huge strides. I’m glad I’ve been part of that ride since 81!