Iron Maiden Biography
Iron Maiden are a British heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band’s discography has grown to thirty-eight albums, including sixteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.
Pioneers of the new wave of British heavy metal, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums, including 1982’s The Number of the Beast, 1983’s Piece of Mind, 1984’s Powerslave, 1985’s live release Live After Death, 1986’s Somewhere in Time and 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their 2010 studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 countries and receiving widespread critical acclaim. Their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, was released on 4 September 2015 to similar success.
Despite little radio or television support, Iron Maiden are considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, with The Observer reporting in 2015 that the band have sold over 90 million copies of their albums worldwide. The band won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002. As of October 2013, the band have played over 2000 live shows throughout their career. For the past 35 years, the band have been supported by their famous mascot, “Eddie”, who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live shows.
Iron Maiden frequently use the slogan “Up the Irons” in their disc liner notes, and the phrase can also be seen on several T-shirts officially licensed by the band. It is a paraphrase of “Up the Hammers”, the phrase which refers to the London football club, West Ham United, of which founder Steve Harris is a fan.
Iron Maiden’s mascot, Eddie, is a perennial fixture in the band’s science fiction and horror-influenced album cover art, as well as in live shows. Originally a papier-mâché mask incorporated in their backdrop which would squirt fake blood during their live shows,the name would be transferred to the character featured in the band’s debut album cover, created by Derek Riggs. Eddie was painted exclusively by Riggs until 1992, at which point the band began using artwork from numerous other artists as well, including Melvyn Grant. Eddie is also featured in the band’s first-person shooter video game, Ed Hunter, as well as their mobile role-playing game, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, in addition to numerous T-shirts, posters and other band-related merchandise. In 2008, he was awarded the “Icon Award” at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, while Gibson.com describes him as “the most recognisable metal icon in the world and one of the most versatile too”.
Iron Maiden’s distinct logo has adorned all of the band’s releases since their debut, 1979’s The Soundhouse Tapes EP. The typeface originates with Vic Fair’s poster design for the 1976 science fiction film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, also used by Gordon Giltrap, although Steve Harris claims that he designed it himself, using his abilities as an architectural draughtsman.
According to Guitar World, Iron Maiden’s music has “influenced generations of newer metal acts, from legends like Metallica to current stars like Avenged Sevenfold,” with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich commenting that he has “always had an incredible amount of respect and admiration for them.” Kerry King of Slayer has stated that “they meant so much to [him] in their early days” and Scott Ian of Anthrax said that “they had a major impact on [his] life.”
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