The Maiden story started on Christmas day 1975 when Steve Harris first set up what is now known as Iron Maiden, named after a medieval torture device which was a coffin shaped box with sharp nails protruding from either side.
After going through various line up changes, Maiden went into Spaceward studios in Cambridge on New Years Eve 1978 to record “The Soundhouse Tapes”, which were paramount in getting the break they needed after DJ Neal Kay played the four tracks ‘Prowler’ ‘Invasion’ ‘Strange world’ and ‘Invaders’ at his DJ nights at the Soundhouse nightclub in Kingsbury.
The exposure Neal Kay gave Maiden helped them increase their fan base, and all five thousand copies of the demo sold out within a week.
Soon after this Maiden gained a residency slot at the Ruskin arms in Manor Park, London , and through a friend of Steve Harris their demo was passed on to ex Steve Harley manager Ron Smallwood.
With Ron on board Maiden quickly had national gigs booked, and gained the attention of EMI records, who subsequently signed them in December 1979.
Maiden released their debut album the self titled ‘Iron Maiden’ in 1980 to good press, and it featured the classic tracks ‘Prowler’ and ‘Iron maiden’ which are all out rockers with big sing-along choruses and the now instantly recognisable twin guitar riffs.
This album featured Paul Di’annio on vocals, whose gritty punk-esque voice gave the album a more punk edge.
1981’s follow up ''Killers'' was the album that people really stood up and started to take notice of Maiden. With Adrian Smith joining the band as a second guitarist, replacing Dennis Stratton, Maiden really had found their sound with the simply awesome ‘Wrath Child’.
‘Number Of The Beast’ followed in 1982, and featured ex Samson lead singer Bruce Dickinson after Paul Di’annio left due to alcohol and drug issues.
This created the line-up of Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Clive Burr, which with the exception of Clive Burr, who was replaced on 1983’s ‘Piece of Mind’ album by Nicko Mcbrain, is thought to be the classic Maiden line up.
From then, through to the present day, Maiden have recorded a further eleven studio albums, nine live albums, and countless compilation albums.
They have a style which is unique to them, and no matter how many bands try and copy it, it will never be done with as much panache, quality, and pure song writing brilliance as Steve Harris and Iron Maiden do.
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