Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast (1982)

American press in 1982 was somewhat slow getting any kind of “Iron Maiden” information as Circus Magazine and Hit Parader had next to nothing about Iron Maiden in their magazines (that would change though).

It was a Canadian Magazine “Music Express” that had a section posted about upcoming releases one of them being Maiden with there third full-length release that being “The Number of The Beast” coming in March 1982.

Ok, so as January went into February and then rolled into March I would hit the record shops every Saturday and one trip to the record shops(I think it was Music City) there it was under the new releases on that cold March morning.

“The Number of the Beast”. 

Whoa! Look at the cover! Is that iconic or what? Eddie peering over the Devil’s shoulder. Artist Derek Riggs was brilliant in designing those 80’s iconic Maiden covers. If a painting could say a thousand words. Riggs had that down to a fine art form.

The real shocker though came when I flipped the cover over and there it was. Steve Harris, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Clive Burr.

Who was the long-haired fellow aiming that torch at me?

Bruce Dickinson? Who? Where’s Paul Di’Anno? Gone by the looks of it.

In any case, it didn’t matter as I was still going to buy TNOTB regardless. 

Once I got home cracked open the vinyl and put it on my shit stereo. My 15-year-old years were blown away!

Within 1 minute of the opening tune Invaders and hearing this new guy Bruce sing. I was on board, I was sold, invested in the move that Harris and manager Rod Smallwood made. Ballsy but it paid off.

Paid off so much so that Tbone bought it himself on vinyl. Tbone followed my lead but being more of a single’s guy Tbone spent his cash wisely and waited to hear Run To The Hills (the first single).

We watched together the “Run To The Hills” video together for the first time on a show out of Toronto called “The New Music”.

Once Tbone seen the video he was hooked! Another copy of TNOTB sold in Tbay!

Adrian Smith gets into the songwriters club collaborating with Harris on the magnificent “22 Acacia Avenue”. How about that opening riff? Over the years you would know the Adrian written tunes as he would lead the charge with those iconic power riffs coming from his guitar.

“The Prisoner” was the second Smith composition with Harris and is another highlight for me on an album filled with highlights! How about that middle section of the song when Adrian and Clive Burr lock horns and synch up for that melodic metal guitar and drums mashup that leads right onto the solo!

I AM NOT A NUMBER! I’M A FREE MAN!

Speaking of Burr he gets a co-write on the song “Gangland” with Adrian. A song that has always gotten somewhat a bad rap as  “Gangland” bumped off “Total Eclipse”(written by Harris, Dave Murray, and Burr)

I agree though “Total Eclipse” is the stronger of the two tracks but “Gangland” stood on its own merit. Put it this way folks, when it comes on I don’t push skip!

It is rumored that Bruce had a few cowrites on the album as well but because they were still trying to untangle him from a previous record contract Maiden kept the lid on it. Supposedly!

Being Harris’s band though Steve had shaped the album how he wanted to hear it. Invaders and “Children of the Damned” that are the opening two numbers show you how Maiden could operate. The opening number (Invaders) grabs you by the throat while “Children of the Damned” like many of a Maiden song that would follow would start off slowly then build up and then take off like a rocket ship!

But as the years and decades have moved on two classic songs penned both solely by Harris are to this day still staples in the Maiden live show.

The title track “The Number of the Beast” is one of the all-time greats. How about that demonic voice that reads the chapter from the bible that opens the tune? Talk about knowing what’s coming up next right? Once the song picks up steam how about that Dickinson wail before the first verse? Supposedly producer Martin Birch pushed Bruce to the point of frustration that Dickinson became so fed up with the constant repeats that he did the scream out of frustration, and it fit so well that the band decided to keep it. Adrian and Dave whip up another classic display of solos while Steve even hammers down a cool little Bass solo that leads back into Bruce’s vocal!

I Love Gatefold’s Part 2: See pic below.

“Hallowed Be They Name”. What a doozy of a track. Nothing like hearing the bell toll for one walking towards the hangman. One of the most amazing Harris tracks as it blows my mind that at the time he was in his early 20’s and writing songs like this? 

Wowzers.

Bruce digs deep and comes up with a brilliant vocal that sells Hallowed even more. How about the solo’s that Dave and Adrian crank out? Bolts of brilliance. I love the ending as Bruce  sings that ‘Yeah yeah yeah Hallowed Be Thy Name” as the band is blasting off underneath the Air Raid Siren!

What an end of the album-closing classic track!

After this album and the massive Beast on the Road tour that followed. Circus and Hit Parader knew who Iron Maiden was.

I think Music Express in Canada must have been Maiden’s first time being on a cover of a North American magazine.

The Number of the Beast released March 22,1982

Canadian sales of The Numer of the Beast- Triple Platinum

U.S sales of The Number of the Beast- Platinum

49 thoughts on “Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast (1982)”

  1. Thanks for sharing your review on ‘The Number of the Beast.’ I love hearing your story of buying the record and blasting it in your stereo! It must’ve been a good time to live in the 80s. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is one of the few tracks that got me into Maiden, that and “The Trooper.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice one Deke. I remember seeing a video on MTV from this album, probably Number of the Beast, and really liked it, but not enough to start buying. I think it freaked me out a little being the Catholic boy I was at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting about you being a good little Catholic boy at the time lol. Never too late to grab some Maiden albums now John and getting into it. But I hear ya back in 82 and the 80s for that matter you really had to cut through with some stellar material as there was so much music out there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My problem with Maiden now is that there is so much stuff out there, it is a little daunting on where to begin. Same with Priest. I want to start, but dang it is a lot of stuff.

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      2. Well, you snap up albums quick John so I think you could get the job done no problemo. lol Here in town I never see any Maiden albums for sale used or new for that matter. What your seeing on my Maiden series is except for Maiden Japan are all new. Some were gifts when I hit 50 so I was lucky as these Maiden albums don’t come cheap.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always fascinated by one’s discovery point of bands. I get what your saying as if you recall from my Maiden Japan review I had never heard Remember Tomorrow or Running Free yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Run to the Hills”… the one even more or less “mainstream” radio guys like me knew and liked back then… that was a big hit! I remember seeing the video for it a lot too on things like ‘Good rockin’ Tonite’. that’s some cool picture discs, by the way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I’m a nutjob when it comes to Maiden. lol I just like the fact they just go about there business and can still deliver stellar live productions. In other words they don’t phone it in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad he doesn’t…man I’m rambling but…
        I dont’ like teleprompters…it’s rock and roll for goodness sakes…just go with it…ad lib if you forget…. but artists charge so much for tickets now they don’t want any mistakes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah your right. It’s almost cheating like but especially with a band like Maiden as some songs go 8 minutes plus, you really have to zero in on the lyircs…
        Bruce is a smart guy.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly Kev. It’s fun for me to share not only my discovery point of Maiden but to hear about other friends like yourself on when you discovered them.
        Speaking of which I’m enjoying your Zep series with Sarah. Love the stories behind the album’s and songs.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh ya !! I remember that copy of the music express. Good Canadian magazine. Remember the Motley Tour ad for too fast for love….playing in tbay at the landmark inn ?? (which obviously never transpired)

    Beast was such a killer record. Once they let Dickinson out of his cage there were unstoppable !

    I still have my TBOTB picture disc…well, my son does now. It’s in good hands though. Great write up deke. Gonna play this one at work tomorrow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I wish I had that Crue add still Muk! You need to go back and read the Maiden Japan review or did you? lol
      I forgot you got this on picture disc. Awesome you passed it onto your son.
      Thanks for dropping by Muk! Make sure you play Total Eclipse as well. Such a great one.

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  5. SO cool to hear the perspective of someone who was a Di’Anno fan and didn’t even know he was gone! Honestly I have never heard about this album from that perspective before!!

    I didn’t know this had a gatefold either!

    You are NOT a number!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the thing Mikey. Maiden in early 82 had not much press coverage so when the album dropped It came before the video so I had no idea.
      Baiscally shrugged my shoulders went ok and got on with it. Kinda like Steve Harris did. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amazing. I came from a time that if Maiden farted, it made the news. Always stories of Bruce and Steve arguing. Although when Adrian left, I actually also read it in a Canadian source — MEAT Magazine! March break 1990. Big story on Tattooed Millionaire, revealing Janick was in and Adrian was gone.

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      2. I think I read that in Kerrang a month or so before as that magazine came out bi weekly. I was like Whut?? but ok as Gers played some great 6 string on guitar.

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