Category Archives: IRON MAIDEN 1980-1988

Iron Maiden: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

 

Iron Maiden released a classic on April 11th, 1988 This slab of new music was big news in my world for two reasons!

One was the fact that when I purchased “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” on April 11th it was the first-ever “NEW” release that I bought on CD by Maiden.

Two was the fact that Bruce Dickinson was back writing tunes which was a great thing as we all know what went down two years earlier in 86!

It’s funny how I remember what the weather was like that day in April. It was a sunny day as I rode my bike to downtown Thunder Bay and hit up Kings’ Stereo. I quickly left with “Seventh Son” not only for me on CD but also a copy for my younger brother Todd on cassette tape.

I was 20 years young in April of 88. My brother was 10. Todd needed to be taught the right to rock by me. Plus I was basically working full time and Todd was beginning to get into music. So it was a no brainer really.

(It all came together in June 2017 when Todd took me to Maiden’s “Book of Souls” show as an early 50th birthday present! It all came full circle!)

How about a concept album about a 7th Son, a book written by Orson Scott. Plus add the fact that this album was Maiden’s seventh album plus it tied in with the 7th Tour of a 7th Tour which was to follow.

Once home and I put 7th Son CD in my boom box I was floored by the opener “Moonchild”. Nice move to open with an acoustic snippet that leads into some massive power riffs by Maiden as drummer Nicko McBrain leads the charge behind that kit. Maiden had not given up on the synth-like sound on the guitars and I was a-ok with it. Once again another stellar opener of a tune penned by Adrian Smith and Bruce.

How about the brilliant artwork of Derek Riggs! What a great color scheme at having all the frozen Eddie’s on the back cover. Riggs always delivered the goods on Maiden covers and this one is no different!

“Moonchild” proved that Bruce was back 100% focused on delivering some more brilliance to Maiden and what a songwriting partnership Bruce and Adrian had going!

Not be outdone Steve Harris delivers the stellar “Infinite Dreams”. Another great track that features an awesome chorus that features an even better midsection when the song ramps up right before the guitar solos.

Smith-Dickinson-Harris team up on the next two tracks that is the lead-off single which got some decent video traction on MuchMusic which was “Can I Play With Madness”.

Following “Can I Play With Madness” comes  “The Evil That Man Do” which has become a live staple pretty much on many a tour after. This song has a great drive and wicked solo by Dave Murray. Speaking of which Dave and Adrian with what they have done in there two guitar relationship are still to this day the best lead combo my old ears have ever heard.

“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”(title track) is another one of those epic Harris written tunes clocking in just under 10 minutes. The key ingredient that makes this song work is Bruce doing what he does best and that’s delivering a superb vocal.

Hey, Folk’s look! Dave Murray hooks up once again with Steve Harris and they write the pretty cool “The Prophecy.”

“The Clairvoyant” is one of those ends of the album Gems! Harris composed this tune and in his lyrics, Bruce tells us all  ‘That as soon as your born your dying’. No beating around the bush with Steve’s lyrics.

If anything after the chaos of Bruce not getting a writing credit on the “Somewhere In Time” album, it was interesting to see him and Steve hook up on the final tune “Only The Good Die Young” which ends the album on a rocking note.

It’s funny as at times I consider “Seventh Son” my favorite Maiden album but overall the North American reception was kinda frosty as attendance was dropping at the shows and the album only went Gold in the U.S which is wild considering a lot of people talk about this album. But what do I know as I dug it big time and still do!

Canadian Sales of 7th Son- Platinum

U.S Sales of 7th Son-Gold

Well, Folk’s I hope you enjoyed this batch of Maiden albums. I had fun flashbacking big time on these albums especially back to the early 80s when I discovered Iron Maiden back in 1981! I hope some of you that were on the fence about getting into Maiden maybe by reading my words will help you take the gamble  to see what all the fuss was about in my world!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time (1986)

 

Once the calendar month turned to September in 1986 out came “Somewhere In Time” the latest release from the mighty Iron Maiden.

“Somewhere In Time” in the catalog of Maiden sometimes it gets forgotten about as so many classic Maiden records that came during the 80s as the pace that Maiden was doing was crazy. 

A 13-month tour of “Powerslave” almost drove singer Bruce Dickinson out of the band. It didn’t help Bruce’s case that when the band gathered their ideas to begin the album. None of what Bruce wrote made the cut as I’m sure Steve Harris had a focus on where “Somewhere In Time” would be headed musically and Bruce’s tunes were not in Harris sightlines. 

Oh boy…

Ugh, I’m sure that was touchy time, to say the least! Not that any of us knew any better at the time (1986) as in interviews the Maiden guys said Bruce was fried out from the Powerslave tour so fair enough. 

With a man down in the songwriting department up rose guitarist Adrian Smith who contributed three great rock songs. 

Adrian has a real flair for adding a melodic rock touch to the songs he writes at times. “Sea of Madness” starts off with a bang with that familiar Maiden gallop of the instruments but the chorus goes into melodic rock vibe, Maiden style that is.

Smith also wrote the brilliant “Stranger In A Strange Land”. Love how the song builds and builds. Bruce even though had his tunes denied for the album he still showed up and gave it his all vocally.

As a fan back than Maiden kept their lid on all personal matters internally for the most part. RUSH, Van Halen and AC/DC are the others who come to mind who would keep their business private, unlike Motley Crue who wanted everybody to read about there drama and still do.

The biggie track though that comes from this record that got a ton of video play was “Wasted Years”. Once again Adrian leads the way with the opening ‘riff’ that takes the song over. Catchy verses and an even catchier chorus capped off with a brilliant Adrain solo! 

Adrian more than picked up the slack of Bruce’s non-writing credits and boy did the dude deliver!

Steve Harris wrote five songs including a  co-wrote “Deja Vu” with Dave Murray which is a pretty decent song as it’s always nice to see Murray show up every album or two with a co-write.

Of the four songs solo that Steve Harris wrote by all accounts two, I considered absolute classics upon first listen as a 19-year-old in 1986 whereas the other two tracks that Harris wrote were slow growers in the world of deKe.

The two slow growers were “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” and “Alexander The Great”.  Both tracks were on Side 2 with TLOTLDR being the first track and at the time it was a different type of Maiden tune.

Nicko must have hit that snare drum about 1000 times on the track. I found it laggy back than but when I reacquired this album a year or so ago I found out that I dug it more now in 2020 than 1986. Shit, I must be mellowing!

“Alexander The Great” was also a tough listen. Maybe I was burnt on the long Maiden Harris tracks. But like the  ‘Runner’ tune ATG grew on me as you can’t fault these epic time changes that Harris composed. Maybe it was the catchy Adrian melodic metal that I was looking for at the time.  Who knows? Now that I’m old I can appreciate it. Also, I have a bit more time on my hands as back than tons of music was coming out.

Now one of the two Harris tracks that were awesome and still are awesome is “Heaven Can Wait”. What a great opening riff and as the song goes so does the tempo. Bruce commands participation during the section of ‘Oh Oh Oh’.  Fantastic tune. 

Now the opening track that leads off the album I would have to say is one of the best ever written Harris tracks. “Caught Somewhere In Time” is one of the best ever openers and I still can’t believe to this day they have only played this tune on the 86/87 World Tour.

Why? I have no idea but Harris grand slammed this song out of the park. I love the charge of the drums from Nicko McBrain and don’t you just love that synthy sound that emulates from the guitars? I sure do. Bruce delivers an outstanding vocal as he really nails it during the chorus. 

I recall reading I think it was either Kerrang or Metal Hammer at the time as Judas Priest were not too happy with what Maiden was doing in regards to the synth guitars as you recall earlier that year Priest released the “Turbo” album which was a huge shift in their sound. Who knows if it was true but makes for a great debate.

“Caught Somewhere In Time” is easily in my all-time Top 5 Maiden songs! Yeah, I just typed that.

For an album that sometimes gets overlooked in the catalog of Iron Maiden Somewhere In Time is a stellar release that over time(ha) at any given time can easily be my favorite Maiden studio release.

Canadian Sales of Somewhere In Time- Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Somewhere In Time- Platinum

 

 

Iron Maiden: Live After Death (1985)

Well, when classes began In September 1985. I was heading into Grade 13 at High School and focused.

Come mid-October though there was the matter of Iron Maiden releasing the classic double vinyl “Live After Death”. 

School once again took a back seat for a few days as Maiden delivered the goods on all fronts on what has become an all-time classic!

The packaging was superior (to this day nothing by anybody has come close if you ask me) as Maiden made sure that if you are going to pay for a double live album your going to get your money’s worth and more!

Double gatefold, booklet included including a ton of tour info and dates, tons of pictures, and once again some fabulous artwork done by Derek Riggs.

As far as the music goes it’s 98 minutes of Maiden in their glory with three sides recorded over 4 nights at the Long Beach Arena in California.

I love Gatefold’s Part 5- This is one of the best shots ever below! Kudos to Ross Halfin

SCREAM FOR ME LONG BEACH…

Iron Maiden pulls out all the stops big time. Martin Birch dialed in the sonics perfect at the recording board and each member of Maiden shines!

SPEAK TO ME HAMMERSMITH…

Side 4 was recorded in Maiden’s own back yard of England at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon in which the brilliant “Wrathchild” is played. Listen to the Air Raid Siren known as Bruce Dickinson wail on this track.

Live After Death knocked me off my socks over the 19 songs that make up the album as the packaging alone is worth the price of admission.

I did eventually get back to my school work.

Canadian Sales of Live After Death-Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Live After Death- Platinum.

 

Iron Maiden: Powerslave (1984)

 

Powerslave” was released on September 3rd, 1984, and in coinciding with my first week back to school entering Grade 12 Iron Maiden put out a new album which totally had me NOT doing my homework.

Studying the fascinating “Powerslave” front and back cover artwork done amazingly yet again by Derek Riggs totally blew my mind. I spent hours looking at all the intricacies of minor detail on the cover. 

Just the cover alone sidetracked me!

Circus Magazine had in one of their summer issues(a few months before) an ad for the upcoming “Powerslave” album and the release date. 

Come release day it was off to the record store and Tbone was in tow as well and we both purchased our own copies of the new Maiden release. I bought it on vinyl, Tbone on cassette tape.

Upon getting home it was a quick drop of the needle onto the vinyl and opening track “Ace’s High”. Nicko McBrain leads the charge with his drumming and from there were off. 

“Ace’s High” is a great album opener and of course, over the years it became at times the set opener at shows. 

Bassist Steve Harris wrote 4 songs on “Powerslave”. The already mentioned “Ace’s High, Losfer’s Word (Big Orra)” which is an instrumental, “The Duellists”, and the classic 13-minute “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Harris always delivered stellar writing as you could easily learn a good early history lesson from Steve. “To Tame A Land” and “Where Eagles Dare” from 83’s “Piece of Mind” came to me right away when I was typing this.

“Rime of the Ancient Mariner” came in handy for me when I needed to explain a poem in Grade 12 English.  Thanks to Steve I got an A on my presentation thanks to the help of playing snippets of Rime in my class( much to the dismay of the yuppies in the front row) and the fact that Steve explained to me the whole meaning of the Samual Taylor Coolridge poem in 13 minutes!

God Bless Steve Harris!

Bruce Dickinson also had a big hand on this record. Writing two songs by himself (Flash of the Blade and the title track Powerslave) while doing two co-writes with Adrian Smith (2 Minutes To Midnight and Back In The Village).

“Powerslave” the song is one of the best Maiden tracks ever.  The song takes off from the get-go and as it builds it lifts off than breaks down as Dave Murray and Adrian take over and build up the tune as the solo’s take off like a rocket. When Maiden played this tune on the 2017 “Book of Souls Tour” I lost my shit when I heard it LIVE!

Adrian over the years is easily one of the best riff gods in the game of metal. That opening riff to “2 Minutes To Midnight” proves that theory going back in the Maiden catalog how about that opening riff to” 22 Acacia Avenue” from 82’s “The Number of The Beast” album.

FYI-more classic Adrian riffs are coming during this series so stay tuned.

1984 was packed with huge albums from huge bands in the Hard Rock spectrum( Van Halen, RUSH, Dio, Judas Priest, KISS, and others) yet Maiden held their own and solidified the fan base with both the “Powerslave” album and tour.

Canadian Sales of Powerslave- Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Powerslave- Platinum

 

Iron Maiden: Piece of Mind (1983)

 

So now that Iron Maiden was becoming big business in North America the magazines that I bought back then Hit Parader and Circus were printing the ads for the upcoming Maiden album titled “Piece of Mind”.

May 16 1983 was like no other day. I was a first-day buyer of the new slab of vinyl that coming from the British five-piece.

So excited by the fact that I took my copy of “Piece of Mind” right up to Tbone’s as he was laid up with a broken foot due to a soccer injury. (maybe someday he will tell the tale of how that came about. lol)

I still remember bouncing into his living room and there’s Tbone laid up with his broken foot stretched out straight onto the floor.

I bellowed with glee and quipped “New Maiden, New Maiden ” and preceded to trip over Tbone’s broken foot which he hollered out in pain( a shrill as I recall) and I went down quicker than the Hindenburg onto his carpet but the album stayed firmly gripped in my hands as If I was a running back holding a football while being tackled going into the end zone on a game-winning touchdown.

I felt bad actually. Tbone’s Mom came in the room as there was the commotion of course between Tbone screaming and me hitting the deck on his living room carpet.

Tbone being the swell guy he is told his Mom he moved his foot in an awkward position.

I said nothing! lol

So as you can tell I was psyched by the album being out of course but when I dropped the needle on the opening track “Where Eagles Dare”. You know something was up.

That something up was a drummer change.  Gone was Clive Burr and in came Nicko McBrain and off we go as Nicko kicks off the album with a flurry of drums. What an opener, all 6 minutes and 8 seconds of it. 

Piece of Mind is an album of firsts. New drummer in Nicko but also a first in which Bruce Dickinson becomes a contributing credited songwriter in Maiden.

The second track in and it’s the Bruce only penned “Revelations”, which is such a classic song that features all kinds of tempo changes and some fantastic guitar work by Adrian Smith^^ and Dave Murray.

Steve Harris of the nine album tracks has sole writing credits on four songs that are “The Trooper”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “To Tame A Land”, and “Quest For Fire”.

You can see forming on this record was the writing partnership between Adrian and Bruce. They wrote together with the first single “Flight of Icarus” as well “Sunlight and Steel” while getting a helping hand from Harris on “Die With Your Boots On”.

Dave Murray even got into the writing with Steve on the very cool “Still Life.”

I love the production of “Piece of Mind”. Martin Birch did a brilliant job on the sonics of the record. It’s dry sounding, cold sounding record. No bells and whistles. Just recorded loud. Not overproduced. So great.

I love Gatefolds Part 4-see pic below

The album itself is a masterpiece as Maiden when promoting Piece of Mind went right into headlining mode in North America^ 

The band flexes their musical muscle as well. It’s one of those albums I can listen to front to back no problem and of the Bruce fronted album’s of the ’80s at times this one may be my favorite.

Being in High School(Grade 11) I have to thank Steve Harris for helping me with a book report when I picked Dune by Frank Hebert to review. “To Tame A Land” written by Steve helped me get my paper done on time and from what I remember was a solid pass from my Grade 11 English Teacher. (whom we called the Waxman)

Thank You, Steve Harris!

Piece of Mind released May 16,1983

Canadian Sales of Piece of Mind- Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Piece of Mind-Platinum

^-Maiden never opened up for anybody in Eastern Canada or Quebec. On the Beast On The Road Tour in the summer of 1982, Iron Maiden headlined in Quebec City to a crowd of 6000 than the next night they were back in the States opening up for The Scorpions.

I bought this copy of POM in Montreal back in 2017. When I got back home I showed my daughter Lexie the gatefold picture of the band sitting at the table. Lexie got a huge kick out of Adrian’s face(below) as Lex said “He looks like he’s about to toss his cookies”. (meaning vomit) Lol.

 

 

Iron Maiden:Iron Maiden(1980)

 

So here we go folks. I finally got around to getting the Iron Maiden debut in the summer of  1982 when my family took a vacation to Winnipeg Manitoba.

So that is why the debut from 1980 is the fourth Maiden review as it was after Killers, Maiden Japan, and The Number of the Beast that made me realize I had to get all the releases as Maiden was becoming my favorite all-around band!

By the summer of 1982, the North American press was picking up on the vibe so Maiden was starting to appear in the magazines. 

So as they say now, Maiden was trending in the upward position.

When listening to that debut back then it was apparent that Maiden meant business as “Prowler” (the opening track) proves.  I like the guitar interplay between Dennis Statton and Dave Murray. Clive Burr drives the Maiden bus forward with his drumming while Paul Di’Anno spouts off like the punky metaller he was. “Prowler” is a great track. 

The next two tracks I had heard of course those being “Running Free” and “Remember Tomorrow” from the five-song live Maiden Japan EP from late 1981. 

The tempos on the studio versions of these two tracks especially “Running Free” are pretty noticeable. Both are great versions. (live and studio) It was neat to hear just how much of a powerhouse Maiden was live in 1980-81 with Paul manning the microphone.

The rest of Iron Maiden was like a whole new album. I had never heard the already mentioned “Prowler”, “Phantom of the Opera”, the instrumental “Transylvania”, “Strange World”, “Charlotte The Harlotte”, and “Iron Maiden”(the song).

The debut stands up on its own merit even today.   A pretty decent record that really was the stepping stone to what would become Killers.

Steve Harris is a force on this album writing five of the eight tracks solo along with two cowrites with Di’Anno. Dave Murray contributed with “Charlotte The Harlot”.

While the Maiden albums that followed sounded heavier I like Will Malone’s stripped-down approach on this record. A go for the jugular kind of vibe. 

Even the cover with Eddie drawn by Derek Riggs is starting to become an Icon. Look at the back cover shot for instance. Eddie was becoming the backdrop to the live shows and you can even see the upgrade when you compare this back cover to the Killers back cover.

Come to think of it has there ever been a Maiden T-shirt sold at a show with the actual Iron Maiden guys on it? Hard to say.

Course over the last 40 years these songs at various times have been staples in the set. 

I love Gatefolds Part 3-see pic below

When I caught the Maiden England show back in 2012 “Phantom of the Opera” was played and of course in every show since 1980 Iron Maiden the song has been performed because as you know…

Iron Maiden will get all of you!

Iron Maiden released April 14,1980

Canadian sales of Iron Maiden-Platinum.

As the band heads into 1981 there is a change coming in the ranks as Dennis Stratton was giving his marching papers out of Maiden by Rod Smallwood and Steve Harris. Say Hello to Adrian Smith!

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

Iron Maiden- Maiden Japan (1981)

 

I hope you all join with me for the Maiden Review Series 1980-88. I’m basically just going to be writing about my discovery point of when Maiden came into my world. I won’t be doing a song by song breakdown as I have done that already and there are a million reviews out there. So I thought I would change it up for these Maiden reviews.

Still remember like it was yesterday.  

Dateline Septemeber 1981:

Starting our second week of school (Grade 10) in September of 81 it was a cool fall day on that Monday when I bumped into Muk in the hallways of our high school (Lakeview). 

The conversation went something like this-

“Hey Muk how was the weekend?”

“deKe! I got the new Maiden!” Muk said excitedly.

“Cool, Muk you bought Killers?” I responded. (If you recall I had just gotten Killers two months earlier in July 81)

“No deKe, not Killers but the live album Maiden Japan!”

(Muk and his family went to Duluth that weekend and Muk saw the Maiden EP on the new release rack so of course, he would grab it!)

Muk must have thought he was looking at a deer in headlights at that exact moment!  I probably dropped my binder and math books to the floor as well by that point.

I went home that day and pretty much asked my parents for an early adavnce allowance so I could boogie down to the record shops and get my own copy of Maiden Japan.

Once I secured my own copy. My eyes scoured that album cover of Eddie brandishing a sword. A quick flip over of the cover and it was an EP. Five songs. All Maiden. All Live! (Maiden did put on the back cover that there were a few overdubs but who gives a shit right?!)

Upon spinning Maiden Japan. Side One features “Running Free” and “Remember Tomorrow”. Two songs that came from the self-titled Iron Maiden debut(1980) which I still hadn’t heard.  

“Running Free” begins with Clive Burr laying down that drumbeat that is wicked quick which leads into Bassist Steve Harris joining in. “Running Free” lifts off at hyper speed. Paul Di’Anno drops the gauntlet vocally on the tune.

Just sixteen, a pickup truck, out of money, out of luck
I’ve got nowhere to call my own, hit the gas, and here I go
 
I’m running free yeah, I’m running free
I’m running free yeah, Oh I’m running free
 
 
Dave Murray and Adrian Smith have dueling lead solo’s which would become a highlight as it was amazing how quickly they could play with that kind of precision.
 
What follows “Running Free” is “Remember Tomorrow” which builds very slowly as Paul takes his foot off the vocal gas pedal but as the tune builds up it lifts off into a ball of rapid-fire guitar and drum bursts. It’s a great track. 
 

Side Two features three songs from the current Killers release”(Wrathchild”, “Killers”, and “Innocent Exile)”. With Maiden going live the tempo of course is sped up. (not that the studio versions lagged mind you)

Maiden as they would tend to do would release some of there studio output in September which would derail me big time as I would be home studying Maiden covers and lyrics when I should have been doing my homework!

Maiden Japan got me even more hyped up over what lay ahead for Iron Maiden.

A big change was coming in the band which I had no idea about.

Stay Tuned.

Maiden Japan released September 14,1981.

Canadian Sales- Platinum.

 

 

Iron Maiden: Killers (1981)

I hope you all will join me this month for the Maiden Review Series 1980-88. I’m basically just going to be writing about my discovery point of when Maiden came into my world. I won’t be doing a song by song breakdown(sometimes I slipped up and caved) as I have done that already and there are a million reviews out there. So I thought I would change it up for these Maiden reviews. Kinda sorta…

Ok. I know what your thinking. Why is deKe’s starting with “Killers” when it actually was the second “Iron Maiden” album released after the debut in 1980?

The answer to that my friends is that I’m going by when I purchased these Maiden albums at the time. As you will see as we progress through the 80’s I get in synch with Maiden release dates!

I have told this story a few times but it was the summer of 1981. Hitting up record stores every week was what me and my buddy Muk did. Faithfully we would head downtown and go into all the record stores. 

Within a two-block radius back in 81, there were about five record stores in the vicinity located in downtown Thunder Bay. (Music City, Sam The Record Man, St James Music, Kings Stereo, and Record On Wheels).

Record On Wheels was where all of this went down. We headed into that store in July 81  as they had a section of Hard Rock. The two albums that stuck out to us right away were Def Leppard with there debut “On Through The Night”.

The other one was “Iron Maiden- Killers”.

It was now decision time. We only had enough money to each buy one record. (we were only 14 at the time).

Maybe Muk can remember how we decided that day but I grabbed “Killers” and Muk grabbed Leppard. 

Done Deal! Out the door and back home to drop the needle on our discoveries. It didn’t take long for both of us to call each other and see what we thought about our purchases!

Muk loved “On Through The Night” and I was blown away by “Killers”. (about two weeks after Muk bought “On Through The Night”, Def Leppard’s sophmore release “High N Dry” appeared in  shops in town and I don’t think I need to tell how quick my pal Muk grabbed the second Leppard release.)

I mean look at that Maiden cover! Band mascot Eddie brandishing an ax! No fooling about with this lot. You will get your senses smashed with these guys. Artist Derek Riggs always went beyond the call of duty with the Maiden covers and “Killers” was no exception.

Up until that point, I had never heard Metal done the Maiden way. This was a whole new sonic barrage that descended upon my ears.

Paul Di’Anno, Steve Harris, Clive Burr, Dave Murray, and Adrian Smith deliver on Killers a wall of sound throughout the albums 10 tracks.

For a first-time listening experience into the world of Maiden, it was quite an impact moment as two songs on Side 1 are instrumentals (The Ides of March and Genghis Khan). It only took me about 2 minutes to realize that these guys were solid serious players.

I had never heard twin lead guitars like Maiden before except KK Downing and Glenn Tipton who set the bar high back in 1979 when I heard “Judas Priests, Unleashed In The East” for the first time. 

Pretty soon there would be a changing of the guard in who would be my favorite twin lead guitarists.

Enter into my world, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray!

Clive Burr(RIP) was a monster on the kit. His drumming fit the bill perfect to the songs that Steve Harris was writing. Burr was almost like Ian Paice on speed. Clive was a great drummer for Maiden. 

It took me a few spins of “Killers” to realize there were no weak links in Maiden back in 81. I mean look at the back cover. What a selling point for me to see that action shot! Maiden was so cool about things that they even put a picture of there producer the late great Martin Birch on the back cover as well.

Paul Di’Anno had a very unique cool street like punk vibe going down on “Killers”. Paul showed up and delivered the goods on this record. When Paul sang “Wrathchild” you believed him. When “Murderers In The Rue Morgue” lifts off in that punky metal vibe. Paul’s voice is right in line with the tempo of the song. Even when Paul howled those “Ow Ow’s” (the song) on Killers you think he was getting stabbed. 

I love Maiden Gatefolds Part 1: (see pic below)

The anchor in Maiden to this day even is Steve Harris. What blew my mind back then was that it was the Bass player who was the key songwriter on Killers. Harris was and still is a phenomenal writer but back then in his early 20’s Steve set the bar high and with Rod Smallwood managing the band they had their eye on the prize.

Those prizes would surely come.

Killers released February 2, 1981 

Killers album sales in Canada- Platinum

Killers album sales in the U.S- Gold

 

IRON MAIDEN-1980-1988

Going to tackle something that I have not done in almost 5 years and that’s devote a full month of posts on one act!

For the month of October, I’m going to blog about the 7 studio albums and 1 E.P that  Iron Maiden released from the years 1980-88.

These reviews, of course, will talk about the music Maiden created during this time but more or less it will be about the stories behind each record on how basically each one impacted me as a listener growing up in the 80s upon there initial release back then and now!

Hope you will all join me on October 5th and share your stories as well…

dEKE