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