Stick It In Your Ear Reader Robbo likes the stories that are added to my reviews of albums! Look no further Robbo today its Storytime…
Little less than a year earlier in the summer of 1981 a young Deke’s discovered Iron Maiden whom just had put out there second album Killers. I was blown away by it as i had never heard Metal played this way (back in the summer of 81 I was 13 ) I was hooked by the fury of the music. Guitarists Dave Murray/Adrian Smith were like Glenn Tipton/KK Downing(Judas Priest) except Murray/Smith were on speed but man the riffs were huge. Bassist Steve Harris not only walloped me outside the noggin with his Bass playing but the dude was writing most of the tracks! Drummer Clive Burr (RIP) kept the beat looked cool and played drums even more cooler!Singer Paul Di’anno had a Punky like vocal delivery that had a tinge of Metal in his vocal range which back than made his vocals sound cool and fit the format with what Maiden was doing…..
Maiden a little later in 1981 released the 5 song Live EP Maiden Japan which only solidified my young mind in hitching a ride on the Maiden Juggernaut! ( for those wondering I have not reviewed Killers yet but I have reviewed Maiden Japan).
Maiden was getting some press in the American Music Mags(Hit Parader/Circus) at the time not much though( course that would change) so when March of 1982 rolled around and I ventured into one of my usual Saturday check out the record shops hunt. On the racks there before me was this cover…(see pic below)
My first thought was” WHUT???!!”. I quickly grabbed it and well look at that artwork! I was Psyched Out/Pumped. What a total score and here I am on a cold March Saturday hanging around downtown and the first record shop I saunter into(Music City was the store’s name) and BAM! New Maiden! So after I come to terms that I’m holding new Maiden I quickly turn over the cover to see whats on the back but before I even looked at the song titles whose the dude holding the torch?? (see pic below)
Second thought was “Ummmmm…Where’s Di’anno?” There on the back album cover was the new Lead Singers Name. Bruce Dickinson is his name and becoming Deke’s all time favourite Metal Singer and Performer was going to be his game! I was shocked. So now I really couldn’t wait to get home and spin this for the first time…….
The Song titles themselves are even cool…
1. “Invaders” 3:20
2. “Children of the Damned” 4:34
3. “The Prisoner” 5:34
4. “22 Acacia Avenue” 6:34
1. “The Number of the Beast” 4:25
2. “Run to the Hills” 3:50
3. “Gangland” 3:46
4. “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
Maiden knew the deal and that was captivate the minds of youth (I was now 14 when NOTB came out). Include great artwork on the front and back cover. Include lyrics and pics on the inside vinyl sleeve. Speaking of which. My copy of this album had the pics as well as the lyrics on the inside sleeve of the album. Tbone actually bought this album on Vinyl at around the same time ( he was always a cassette tape kinda guy) and his copy came with nothing! Haha…Just a clear see through sleeve. We had a laugh it was no biggie to him if it was me I woulda been pissed! Ha!
Packaging and Presentation was huge for me back than like i had just mentioned. I would stare for hours at Maidens album covers(no I wasn’t baked) as artist Derek Riggs would add so much dynamic to his artwork of Eddie. (1986’s Somewhere In Time being the prime example of this). Maiden knew how to do it. Another fav Metal album of mine Judas Priests 1981 album Point Of Entry had squat for packaging. Nothing..no pics/no lyrics just the songs who was on them/who produced the album and that was it! C’mon Priest toss me a bone! Ha! I will say that by the time Priest released in July of 82 the classic Screaming For Vengeance they redeemed themselves and included cool artwork/lyrics etc. Hmmmm wonder where they got that from?
Being 14 other than AC/DC I don’t recall to many acts at the time flipping out or in Maidens case firing Lead Singers! So it didn’t shock me as much as it did when Bruce said he was quitting 11 years later in 1993. That shocked me but in 82 it was new music. No make that New Metal Music! I was too young to care about ‘Musical Differences/Drug Problems/Divorces’ Give me Tuneage!
It took of all but 20 seconds to have Maiden shoot up Deke’s popularity pole(Ha!) and secure forever the Number 1 Spot of Greatness in the Metal Field!
Opener Invaders is a stomping good track. Harris and his bass are jacked and talk about first impressions as Bruce comes out with his Air Raid Siren like wail and I’m hooked! What a set of pipes this guy possesses! I’m on board. Burr plays a metal like shuffle and Smith/Murray lay sonic sweeps of metal riffs with there 6 strings! What an opener!
Children Of The Damned slows it right down but man guitars both electric and acoustic push the tune and Maiden knows not to sap out the track. Burr pushes the tune along at a nice clip and Bruce goes from singing quick like shots of Metal(opener Invaders) to actually singing at a slower clip and proving without a doubt that he is a worthy successor to Di’anno..
The Prisoner. Wow! This is one of my fav Maiden tunes EVER! From the voice over from The Prisoner Tv show to the launch of Clives drums this tune is a down right classic! Adrian Smith does the co write thing with Harris and the chorus is ohhhh so good! Catchy with a hook. The guitar solos are off the charts. It’s all here man! Clip is posted below complete with Dickinson’s arm apparel! Proceed with caution!
Charlotte are you taking me to 22 Acacia Avenure. You know this tune is gonna be Evil with that opening riff. Another epic tune and another super-duper chorus! Big time guitar action with some real cool drumming and vocals especially the middle part when Bruce and the music mash-up before the solo..
Beat her mistreat her do anything that you please
Bite her excite her make her get down on her knees
Abuse her misuse her she can take all that you’ve got
Caress her molest her she always does what you want
Wowzer’s no messing around with these lyrics. But there is always hope for Charlotte…
You’re running away don’t you know what you’re doing
Can’t you see it’ll lead you to ruin
Charlotte you’ve taken your life and you’ve thrown it away
You believe that because what you’re earning
Your life’s good don’t you know that you’re hurting
All the people that love you don’t cast them aside
All the men that are constantly drooling
It’s no life for you stop all that screwing
You’re packing your bags and you’re coming with me
After hearing this for the first time. I’m 14 and my mind is blown! This is just side 1!
Side 2 begins with the classic title track Number OF The Beast. What can be said about this track that hasn’t! It’s evil based on a dream Harris once had! Creepy opening voice followed by 4 minutes of Bombastic Metal! Charged up Lead Singer (what an opening wail)! Amped up band …I can’t really add to this! Another all time great!
Maiden actually got some decent video play on Muchmusic(Canada’s Music TV Channel) with Run To The Hills. Burr sets the pace with this track and the guitar’s just rip along at a galloping clip in sync with Steve-o’s Bass. Another fantastic wail and scream from Bruce when the solos are done and Maiden put the throttle down and lead the charge in telling all bands that if you’re in our way we will boot you all into next year!
Gangland also takes off with Burr( who cowrote this with Smith) leading the way and Gangland features a heavy yet kind of melodic chorus as the drums lead the way. Maiden themselves never really took a shine to this tune but its a very good track. Well,I think it is!
You want epic(seems to be a theme on the album) this is it! Hallowed Be Thy Name would be the one! This tune features Maiden all over the musical map! Power Riffs! Big Drums! Sweeping Lead Vocals! Crazy Ass Tempo Changes! YUP! It’s all here! Just a bona fide end of the album Gem which has been played on every Maiden Tour except the 2012 updated 7th Son Tour! ( I know as I attended one of these shows!) If that doesn’t give you an example of a classic nothing will!
Whoah Folks this ended up being an 1600 plus word review! How could I not tell you all the tales of Maiden Folklore through the mind of an 14-year-old!
Maiden blew my mind and still do to this day. Adrian Smith really stepped up on this album with 3 co writes(The Prisoner/22 Acacia Avenue and Gangland)and solidified himself as a strong writer. New Boy Bruce delivers and blows the doors off of everything around a singer change. (Give Di’anno his due though with the two albums and Ep he recorded with Maiden are top-notch) Always heard that Bruce had more to do with this album but wasn’t credited due to a previous contractual obligation that had to be worked out with a record company. Never heard him or Maiden say this. I read it years ago but I could see it being true….
Thanks for reading…….