Maiden Storm Back In 2002!
Hallowed be the name of Iron Maiden, positioned in the front ranks of the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (as christened by Kerrang! magazine) ever since the 1980 release of their debut single “Running Free” and self-titled debut album. Faithfully led through the years by principal songwriter and bassist Steve Harris and lead guitarist Dave Murray - and escorted by the faithful mascot Eddie - the band stood the test of time in the hard rock wars of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Now, as Iron Maiden enters a third decade at the top of the pops, their wholly-owned album catalog is assured of passing down its litany of metal lore to the next generation of headbangers.
Set for release are a fresh new series of 15 limited-edition “vinyl replica” packages, in single sleeve and gatefold configurations, that pay homage to the original LP artwork of the ‘80s. (When the vinyl replica sleeves are sold-out, the albums will remain available in conventional jewel-box editions.) Thirteen of the 15 contain bonus tracks and multimedia content.
Also to launch during this reissue campaign
is the Soundhouse Tapes Promotion. Inside every album will be an
Eddie proof-of-purchase sticker. For a limited time, fans will be
able to redeem 6 Eddie stickers for a special edition CD issue of The Soundhouse
This seminal Iron Maiden discography - comprising 11 original studio albums, and four full-length live albums (two of which are doubles) has been scheduled for March 26th in-store date on Sanctuary/Metal Is.
Individually, the Iron Maiden titles are
1. Iron Maiden (1980), 2. Killers (1981), 3. The Number Of the Beast (1982),
4. Piece Of Mind (1983), 5. Powerslave (1984), 6. Live After Death
(1985), 7. Somewhere In Time (1986), 8. Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son (1988),
9. No Prayer For the Dying (1990), 10. Fear Of the Dark (1992), 11. A Real
Live One (1993), 12. A Real Dead One (1993), 13. Live At Donington
(1993), 14. The X Factor (1995), 15. Virtual XI (1998).
Notes: #1-13 all contain two bonus tracks each that were not included on the original albums of the ‘80s and ‘90s, plus special enhanced CD multimedia content featuring full-length videos, exclusive band biographies, photo galleries, Internet links and more. #14 contains no bonus tracks or multimedia content. #11 and #12, originally issued as separate albums six months apart in 1993, and later conjoined as a double-CD in 1998, are now cleaved as separate releases once again.
Another note: One additional 16th title, Best Of the Beast, will be released separately from the other discs in a 2-CD brilliant box later this year.
The Iron Maiden epic unfolds over the course of their album catalog, one of the most influential and uncompromising in the heavy metal pantheon. Harris and Murray were at the core of the original group with lead singer Paul Di’anno that assembled in London in 1976, as a punk-rooted antidote to the art-rock new wave sprouting up in their hometown. After gigging around for nearly two years with no record deal, they cut their own independent 3-song studio EP in 1979, the now-legendary Soundhouse Tapes, which finally earned them a contract with EMI Records.
By the time Iron Maiden recorded its eponymous debut album in early 1980, drummer Clive Burr and guitarist Dennis Stratton were onboard. Stratton, though, barely made it to the end of the year before he was replaced by Adrian Smith. They recorded Killers and went on tour in 1981, including their first visit to North America as opening act for Judas Priest. At the tour’s end, Di’anno parted company with Iron Maiden. They quickly recruited 23-year old singer Bruce Dickinson for 1982’s The Number Of the Beast album - their first to hit #1 in England - and the “Beast On the Road” Tour.
With the departure of Burr in 1983 and the entrance of drummer Nicko McBrain, Iron Maiden found a lineup that would remain stable for the next seven years. At the same time, Piece Of Mind became their first album to be certified RIAA platinum in the U.S., where they finally headlined their first American tour dates. In the year-end Kerrang! poll, readers voted Piece Of Mind and The Number Of the Beast the #1 and #2 heavy metal LPs of all time.
Iron Maiden’s subsequent string of top 20 albums in the U.S. - Powerslave (1984), Live After Death (1985), Somewhere In Time (1986), and Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son (1988), supported by one of the most rigorous touring schedules in the business - including their first headlining appearance at Castle Donington’s Monsters Of Rock Festival before an audience of 107,000 - established them as a world-class phenomenon. In early 1990, EMI celebrated Iron Maiden’s decade at the British company with an unprecedented 10 releases, each a double mini-album of two 12-inch singles, released in chronological order over 10 consecutive weeks, every one hitting the top 10 on the national chart.
1990 proved to be a transitional growing year for Iron Maiden as well when Janick Gers, who had guested on Bruce Dickinson’s solo album Tattooed Millionaire, was brought in to replace Smith, who’d left to pursue a solo career. The band’s next two albums were 1990’s No Prayer For the Dying and Fear Of the Dark , generally regarded as one of their finest moments, released in 1992.
The massive touring of that year was evidenced on the April 1993 A Real Live One (which reprised five of the 12 songs from Fear Of the Dark among its tracks). The success of this live album of post-‘86 songs was bittersweet, as Dickinson announced in May that he would be leaving the band. While a well-publicized “talent search” took place, A Real Dead One was assembled for release in October. It was also culled from the 1992 tour but was comprised entirely of pre-‘86 songs. Three weeks later in November, Live At Donington (recorded at their second headline appearance at the legendary outdoor rock festival on August 22, 1992) was released as a limited edition official bootleg.
In January 1994, Birmingham-born Blaze Bayley (formerly of Wolfsbane) was announced as Iron Maiden’s new lead singer. He joined Harris, Murray, McBrain, and Gers to record 1995’s The X Factor and 1998’s Virtual XI. During this period, Iron Maiden commemorated their 50,000,000+ worldwide album sales with the release of Best Of the Beast, spanning 1979-1996.
The new millennium saw the triumphant return of Bruce Dickinson & Adrian Smith to the band and the release of Brave New World, which re-established Iron Maiden in the U.S. The Madison Square Garden date of the Brave New World Tour sold out in 15 minutes, and their headline show at the Rock In Rio festival was performed in front of 250,000 fans and ultimately recorded for the new double album set for release on March 26, Rock In Rio and a DVD of the same name which will follow shortly after.