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…
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?
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…
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
1. “Killers” Paul Di’Anno, Harris 4:58
2. “Prodigal Son” 6:05
3. “Purgatory” 3:18
4. “Drifter” 4:47
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!