Tag Archives: Iron Maiden Killers

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

 

Back Covers: Iron Maiden(Debut) & Iron Maiden-Killers

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!

Iron Maiden/Killers(1981)

Faithful Stick It In Your Ear reader Robbo likes stories attached to the reviews….

Let’s Do This..

Summer of 1981 and I’m 14 years young and have basically become a Music Junkie(spending all my Allowance on Magazines and Records) So one Hot July afternoon I along with my good pal Muc headed into a local Record Shop ( Record On Wheels which was a cool shop but only lasted a few years in Tbay).

As per protocol a few times a week we would cruise on down to all the record shops and check out the Record Action going on in the Racks.

So that July afternoon on the Racks was two albums that caught my eye right away and that was Def Leppard’s High N Dry  and Iron Maiden’s  Killers. Both albums I wanted but I only had enough cash for one. I must have flipped each album over a 100 times as I couldn’t decide which one to buy that week! ( I would only have to wait a week until I could muster up more dough to go back and buy the other album that I didn’t buy)..

Muc made my choice much easier and he grabbed Leps High N Dry! Thank you Dude…So off it was to home with Killers and talk about a Game Changer in regards to my Young Musical Mind.

Look at the cover(if you recall from my Number Of The Beast review   the importance of Marketing). Here it is the name of Iron Maiden in bright read lettering. I would find that the Band had a mascot named Eddie. He’s the one holding the Axe. In other words this cover is Bad Ass! Look for yourselves…

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The back cover had the cool Live action shot of Maiden and you can see it’s Maiden putting on a show and by this pic you can see how quickly they progressed from Bars/Clubs/Arenas to Stadiums! This Picture on the back shows the band going for it and below it there are pictures of each of the Maiden Dudes and even a picture of the Producer Martin Birch as well! How many album sleeves or even CD Booklets could you recall seeing a picture of the Fella who produced the album your listening too?

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Once the needle was dropped on my stereo. Mind Blower! How about the titles of these tracks! You want M-E-T-A-L look no further than Killer’s!

The Tunes…Even the titles to these tracks Sound Heavy…

 

SIDE ONE
1. “The Ides of March” (Instrumental) 1:48
2. “Wrathchild” 2:54
3. “Murders in the Rue Morgue” 4:14
4. “Another Life” 3:22
5. “Genghis Khan” (Instrumental) 3:02
6. “Innocent Exile” 3:50
SIDE TWO
1. “Killers” Paul Di’Anno, Harris 4:58
2. “Prodigal Son” 6:05
3. “Purgatory” 3:18
4. “Drifter” 4:47
Total length:
38:10

 

First thing you notice when you look at the tracks is that Bassist Steve Harris wrote the whole album solo except for the title track which vocalist  Paul Di’Anno  had a help in shaping.

This kinda blew my mind at the time as the bands I was listening to at (1980 On) like Van Halen/KISS/Queen/Cheap Trick and AC/DC had multiple songwriters in the band well except for Cheap Trick who had guitarist Rick Nielsen who basically wrote the Trick songs’ solo. As an 13-year-old at the time I understood the guitar player writing all the tunes solo but how the hell does the Bass Player write all the songs himself on just 4 strings? Haha….Silly Me!

So once I got home and dropped the Needle In The Groove(Mama’s Boy’s Name Drop!) I was forever Blown Away and became an Instant Lifer Maiden Fanboy!

Let’s Decipher Shall We?

1:48 Seconds of a Musical (no vocals )Stomp to my Noggin and it’s Steve and Crew Sonically laying down the Foundation with big Power Chords Guitar while the Late Great Drummer Clive Burr with his galloping drum rolls take charge and we call this ditty Ides Of March.

Welcome To Maiden Ville …….

Harris and Burr lock up musical chops in Wrathchild  with Bass An Drums and here comes the Guitar Dual lead Attack in Dave Murray and his new Sidekick Adrian Smith( Dennis Stratton who played guitar on the self titled debut in 1980 got the Heave Ho from Harris and manager Rod Smallwood) lay down some serious ax work and if it means anything to you’s out there to this day they are still my favourite Dual Lead Dudes! That’s saying something after what? Listening to Maiden for 35 years! Whut?! Di’anno’s voice blew me away as he sang with a cool vibe, had a different aurora about him. In 81 Paul had a cool thing going but he too would face the Boot from Harris and Smallwood and be replaced by a fellow named Bruce Dickinson less than a year later. 

Maiden shift gears and the beginning of Murders In The Rue Morgue is Metal as I never heard. The opening bit is just bass and guitar and before long Burr bashes his snare into submission and we are off. Paul with his Punky Metal like Voice that comes at you  like he’s in your face singing while pointing his finger right at you! It’s so good and Maiden don’t play it safe! No sirree as time and tempo changes rule the Morgue and Maiden have kicked my Arse Hard! The solo’s between Dave and Adrian just take this band to the next level….

Burr as he does so well leads the Troops here at the beginning of Another Life. It’s only a matter of seconds before the song lifts off with some A+ Riffing that leads into Paul’s snarky drawl. This song is an instant classic. Another Life is Another Great Maiden Track and with Murray/Smith riffing along were what? Four songs’ in and Davey and Adrian are telling all Guitarists out there ….Watch Out!

Ok. Let’s get this straight! Genghis Khan is the 5th song on Side 1. Remember this is my first time hearing Maiden in July of 1981 when I was 13 and here’s Steve-O and Posse throwing down a second musical only tune as Paulie gets another break! We are only 5 tracks in!  Who does this kind of stuff upon first impression? Maiden ….! By Golly they have already smashed my brains to smithereens with the heaviness of a sound.  A sound I have never heard and it took less than 15 minutes!

Innocent Exile begins with some out of control Bass Work by Harris and before long everyone is on board and Innocent Exile is METAL.  Love the last-minute of this tune as it ramps up and just goes into a whole other level! What better way to finish off Side 1 with a big galloping ending as all instruments mash-up….

Killers begins with Harris and Burr leading the charge and before long Davey and Adrian roar in and set the world on fire. Not to be outdone Paul steps up and Killers is a bona fide classic! “Scream For Meeeeeeercy” sings Paul and this song soars! Attack of the two mad axemen as Murray just shreds on the Strat while Smith matches Dave lick for lick in the solo Dept. Burr is a beast on his Kit on this tune… Just watch the video posted below for  some Excellent Maiden Ass Kicking! Kinda cool that there’s different lyrics that ended up on the album than this live version! LIVE METAL FOLKS!

Prodigal Son is a slower like tune well by Maidens standards. Nice use of acoustics along with the electrics blended in with Burrs drums keeps the song pushing forward without losing steam. Dianno can even slow down his Punk Mentality Delivery and sing chill. Great tune that even though it doesn’t Roar like Murders In The Rue Morgue it can still pack a decent punch!

Purgatory is Maiden at it’s punkiest and once the guitars start it’s Maiden taking off yet again. Purgatory has a real awesome chorus witness for yourself the real clever wording of a Mr Harris. Speaking of which it boggles my mind that Steve was in his early 20’s writing this kind of stuff Lyrically and Musically. Genius that Dude is!

Oh another time, another place.
Oh another smile on another face.
When you see me floating up beside you,
You get the feeling that all my love’s inside of you.

Yes siree  it does not get any better than that ..Heck I’m posting the video below as well.. Lyrics are posted so my pals Rockin Roberts and BMellis can sing along….

Drifter ends Killers with a stomp. Love the sync of the Guitars and Bass at the beginning and then Drums and Paul Screaming “Walk Away!” Great vocal by Paul in which he keeps pace with the band. Drifter is a Gem especially when the song breaks down and then ramps up with Burr once again reducing his snare drum to shreds. What a Finish…

Maiden! What an introduction from just being hooked by the red logo and Eddie with his bloody dripping axe and that s just the cover! The Back cover with the live action shot just won me over that day! I actually bumped into  Muc the other day at work and mentioned to him that I was going to be posting about this album and our Trip that day to the old Record On Wheels Store here in Tbay! Muc still remembers it as well as he took home Def Lep’s album.

Killers hooked me as a fan from that day on. It’s really a shame that Di’anno came unglued personally and professionally and this was his Maiden Studio Swan Song. Than again we all know who Governor Harris and Smallwood recruited to replace Paul and Maiden than really took off. For some like fellow reader and Great Blogger Mr 1537 says he prefers Killers over anything else Maiden has done. Fair enough … I think he said that!

Crazy that it’s been 35 years! Time does indeed Fly!