Iron Maiden is a British Heavy Metal band. They are one of the most successful metal bands in the world and were a major part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
It was founded in 1975 by bassist Steve Harris. The band went through a lot of lineup changes before the release of their first album, simply called Iron Maiden, in 1980, recorded by Harris, singer Paul Di'Anno, guitarists Dennis Stratton and Dave Murray, and drummer Clive Burr. In the follow-up, Killers, (1981) Stratton, due to Creative Differences, was replaced by Adrian Smith, from the band Urchin. This was also the last album with Di'Anno, who was sacked for being a drunkard.
The real success came a year later, in 1982, with The Number of the Beast, which marked the debut in the band of Bruce Dickinson, Di'Anno's replacement. The band's classic lineup came full circle in 1983 with the arrival of drummer Nicko McBrain, replacing Clive Burr, for personal problems. With this lineup, the band recorded four studio albums (Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, Somewhere In Time, and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son) and a live album, (Live After Death) which marked the climax and end of the so-called "Golden Years".
Unfortunately, from this point onwards, the things weren't going so well for the band. Adrian Smith left the band due to Creative Differences (although it was in good terms, it was just that he wanted to play in a softer mood than that one of Maiden) and he was replaced by Janick Gers, who played in the band White Spirit, and with Fish (former singer of Marillion) and Ian Gillan. The follow-up to Seventh.., No Prayer For The Dying, was considered inferior to the former albums, despite having the band's first #1 hit. ("Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter") The follow-up, Fear of the Dark, charted in #1, but after it, Bruce Dickinson left the band.
He was replaced by Blaze Bayley, who wasn't well received. Not only that, but the band also changed their Record Producer, and thus, everything was set for the band's Dork Age. The two albums released in the Bayley-era (1995's The X Factor and 1998's Virtual XI) weren't so well received, and it seemed that the band was going to broke...
...but 1999 brought the biggest news: Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to the band, but only Blaze left, thus making Maiden a sextet with three guitarists. Not only that, but the follow-up to Virtual, Brave New World, was a big hit, with a lot of people claiming the album as another classic album of the band. This lineup (Dickinson-Smith-Gers-Murray-Harris-McBrain) continues to our days, having recorded other three albums: 2003's Dance of Death, 2006's A Matter Of Life And Death, 2010's The Final Frontier and 2015's "The Book of Souls", the band's most recent #1 album.
Their sound is characterized by twin guitar (later triple guitar) harmonization and galloping bass, as well as the operatic vocals of Bruce Dickinson. Their most notable songs fall into three themes: ominous ("The Number of the Beast", "Fear Of the Dark"), historical (war songs such as "The Trooper" and "Aces High", historical events such as "Run to the Hills" and the biographical "Alexander the Great") or derivative ("The Wicker Man", "Flight of Icarus", "Brave New World").
- Steve Harris - bass
- Bruce Dickinson - vocals
- Dave Murray - guitar
- Adrian Smith - guitar
- Janick Gers - guitar
- Michael Henry "Nicko" McBrain - drums
- Dennis Stratton - guitars
- Paul Di'Anno - vocals
- Clive Burr - drums
- "Blaze" Bayley Cook - vocals
- 1980 - Iron Maiden
- 1981 - Killers
- 1982 - The Number of the Beast
- 1983 - Piece of Mind
- 1984 - Powerslave
- 1986 - Somewhere in Time
- 1988 - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
- 1990 - No Prayer for the Dying
- 1992 - Fear of the Dark
- 1995 - The X Factor
- 1998 - Virtual XI
- 2000 - Brave New World
- 2003 - Dance of Death
- 2006 - A Matter of Life and Death
- 2010 - The Final Frontier
- Age of Titles: "Age of Innocence", from Dance of Death.
- Apocalyptic Log: "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier"
- Audience Participation Song: Plenty of them, such as the Ear Worms and "The Wicker Man", from Brave New World. Sometimes Bruce leaves the lyrics to the audience.
- Special mention to "Heaven Can Wait", from Somewhere In Time, where they invite some fans to the stage.
- "Fear Of The Dark", from the eponymous Fear of the Dark, is a song that's been particularly adopted by the fans as an audience participation song, but is interesting in the fact that the fans don't sing along much to the lyrics, but vocalize to the guitar. It's become such an audience participation staple that pretty much every Iron Maiden compilation will have a live version of the song. Here it is for your perusal.
- Badass Native: "Run to the Hills", from The Number Of The Beast, averts this.
- Battle Cry: From "The Clansman", from Virtual XI.
- Blood on These Hands: "Blood On The World's Hands", from The X Factor.
- Body Horror: Dickinson's description of someone being burned alive in "Children Of The Damned" (The Number of the Beast).
- Book Ends: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the album, starts (in "Moonchild") and ends (in "Only The Good Die Young") with the same paragraph:
- There's also "Fear of the Dark", from the eponymous album Fear of the Dark, where the order of the first two lines is reversed at the end of the song, for a truly symmetric feel:
I am a man who walks alone
And when I'm walking a dark road
And when I'm walking a dark road
I am a man who walks alone
- "When The Wild Wind Blows", from The Final Frontier, opens and ends with... wind.
- Breakaway Pop Hit: Bruce alone recorded "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter" for A Nightmare on Elm Street 5. Maiden's version became their sole British #1. Also counts as Black Sheep Hit for some fans.
- Buffy-Speak: From Live at Donington, Bruce Dickinson refers to the live video as "the most mega Iron Maiden video-film-whatever".
- Calling the Old Man Out: "Wrathchild", from Killers.
- Canon Discontinuity:
- Averted: while most fans are not at all enamoured of Blaze Bayley's run, the band continue to perform the best and most memorable material of that era, namely "Lord of the Flies", "Man on the Edge", "Sign of the Cross", (All of them from The X Factor) "Futureal" and "The Clansman". (From Virtual XI) All of these live versions appeared in live albums or singles.
- Averted again with No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark, thanks to From Fear To Eternity. Up to that point, with the exception of the eponymous song from the latter album and "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" from the former, every other song wasn't placed in the setlist. Said album contains several songs from these two albums.
- Old Shame: Most of the Iron Maiden "best of" albums either omit the first two albums (which had Paul Di'Anno as lead vocalist) or replace them with live versions sung by Dickinson. The band still averts this, by playing almost all of the first album sans "Strange World" and "Transylvania", and "Wrathchild", "Murders In The Rue Morgue", "Another Life" and "Drifter" from Killers. Of note are "Wrathchild" and "Iron Maiden" (the song) being part of their concerts even on our days. The latter, also, serves as the song where Eddie appears.
- Children Forced to Kill: "Sun and Steel", from Piece of Mind, a biography of Miyamoto Musashi, has the following lines:
Well, you killed your first man at 13,
Killer instinct, Animal supreme,
By 16 you had learned to fight
The way of the warrior, you took it as your right.
- Whether or not this is an example depends on whether the child was forced to kill the man, but judging from the lyrics, he was probably put in that position.
- Chronological Album Title: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, The X Factor, and Virtual XI
- Clear My Name: "The Fugitive", from Fear of the Dark.
- Concept Album:
- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
- Somewhere in time deals with different aspects of time (time-travel, history, racing against the clock).
- A Matter of Life and Death is mostly about war and religion.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: "El Dorado", from The Final Frontier, is sung from this point of view.
- Cover Version: They have covered songs by Skyhooks, Montrose, Jethro Tull, Beckett, Nektar, The Entire Population of HackneyA.P., FM, Marshall Fury, Thin Lizzy, Stray, Golden Earring, Free, Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, The Who, UFO and Focus. All of these, anyway, can only be found in singles or compilations.
- Creepy Child: "Children of the Damned", from The Number Of The Beast.
- Crystal Ball: "Can I Play With Madness?", from Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.
- Darker and Edgier: Compare Fear of the Dark and No Prayer For The Dying with any of the previous albums.
- Compare the vocals, for example - less operatic, more raspy.
- Some songs also work as Darker and Edgier counterparts of earlier songs. Compare "Charlotte the Harlot" to "22 Acacia Avenue" & compare "The Trooper" to "Paschendale".
- The entirety of A Matter of Life and Death is quite a bit darker musically than previous albums, though the lyrics are still pretty much what you'd expect from Iron Maiden with possibly a more focused emphasis on Humans being bastards. The album's dark feel is largely due to the complex and melancholic melodies, and the quality of Dickinson's voice as he gets older.
- The Dead Can Dance: "Dance of Death", from, well... Dance of Death.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Mother of Mercy, from The Final Frontier: "I'll die a lonely death, of that I'm certain of".
- Doomsday Clock: "2 Minutes To Midnight", from Powerslave.
- Downer Ending: Maiden just seems to love this trope.
- "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is the last track on Number of the Beast, about a man on death row.
- " To Tame A Land" ends Piece of Mind with a very unhappy sounding final part.
- Likewise "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (Brave New World)... if you ignore the Studio Chatter.
- The last line of "Alexander The Great" (the final track on Somewhere in Time) is "He died of fever in Babylon".
- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is a concept album based on Orson Scott Card's book Seventh Son. The final track, "Only the Good Die Young", is about the devastation of a town from a disaster, and Lucifer planning to cancel the rest of mankind.
- Virtual XI ends with "Como Estais Amigos", about the Falklands War. It even sounds depressing.
- The Final Frontier ends with "When the Wild Wind Blows", about a couple who commits suicide mistaking an earthquake for the start of a nuclear war. This could also be played for dark comedy, as it is based off a darkly comedic graphic novel When the Wind Blows.
- Dystopia: "Brave New World", from, well... Brave New World, is inspired in the book of the same name by Aldous Huxley.
- Epic Rocking: All their albums have an epic, usually as the closer. The following are their longest songs.
- "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", (13:36) from Powerslave.
- "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son", (9:53) from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
- "Sign of the Cross", (11:16) from The X Factor.
- "The Angel And The Gambler", (9:52) and "The Clansman" (9:02) from Virtual XI.
- "Dream Of Mirrors" (9:21) and "The Nomad" (9:06) from Brave New World.
- "For The Greater Good Of God" (9:24) and "The Legacy", (9:23) from A Matter Of Life And Death.
- "When The Wild Wind Blows", (11:01) "Isle Of Avalon" (9:06) and "The Talisman", (9:03) from The Final Frontier.
- Face Death with Dignity: "Die With Your Boots On", from Piece of Mind.
- The second part of Satellite 15... The Final Frontier, too! It's also works as Facing Death With Optimism.
- Filk Song: An enormous amount of their discography, on a wide variety of subjects. A few examples include "The Prisoner", from The Number Of The Beast; "The Trooper" and "Where Eagles Dare", from Piece of Mind; "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", from Powerslave; "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", from Somewhere In Time; "The Clansman", from Virtual XI; "Brave New World" and "The Mercenary", from Brave New World... and the list goes on.
- Football Hooligans: "Weekend Warrior", from Fear of the Dark.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Hallowed Be Thy Name", from The Number of the Beast.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar / Stealth Pun: Bruce pulled it twice, "Nail that fokker, kill that son" ("Tailgunner", from No Prayer For The Dying) and "I'm a clever banker's face with just a letter out of place" ("El Dorado", from The Final Frontier)
- In at least one bootleg, Bruce just flat out spoiled the latter ("I'm a clever wanker's face, just a banker out of place.")
- Ghost Ship / Afterlife Express: "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", from Powerslave; and "Ghost of the Navigator", from Brave New World.
- Greatest Hits Album: Plenty of them. And they all follow a three year interval!
- Grief Song: "Blood Brothers", from Brave New World.
- A Hell of a Time: "From Here To Eternity", from Fear of the Dark:
Hell ain't a bad place!
Hell is from here to eternity!
- Heavy Mithril: Among other examples, "Flight of Icarus", from Piece of Mind; and "Isle of Avalon", from The Final Frontier.
- Holier Than Thou: "Holy Smoke", from No Prayer For The Dying.
- Homage: "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner", "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", "To Tame A Land" (a.k.a. Dune)
- Horrible History Metal: They love this trope. Notable examples:
- Hot-Blooded: Many of their songs, especially "Die With Your Boots On".
- Incredibly Long Note: "Run To The Hills".
- There are some crazy long ones in "Children of the Damned" and "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" (the song, not the album).
- Intercourse with You: "Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter". Though Bruce also said it's about menstruation.
- Also, most of Charlotte the Harlot songs.
- Instrumentals: "Transylvania" (which Bruce Dickinson once introduced as "a song I've never sung before, and probably never will"), "Genghis Khan" and "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)"
- Just Before the End: "2 Minutes to Midnight"
- Last Chorus Slow-Down: "Powerslave", the last phrase of "Run to the Hills", "Fear of the Dark".
- Last-Note Nightmare: "Phantom Of The Opera", in the pre-remaster release, where after 10 seconds of silence, Di'Anno shouts the song's final line again.
- Due to a production error, the intro to "Powerslave" haphazardly got stuck onto the ending of "Back in the Village" on the 1998 remaster of the album of the same name. So when one listens to Back in the Village, the song ends with the spooky intro to Powerslave.
- Literary Allusion Title: "The Evil That Men Do" (Seventh Son of a Seventh Son) is one of the few that isn't actually about the literary work.
- Loudness War: The albums from the nineties on, sans A Matter of Life and Death and The Final Frontier.
- Meaningful Name: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, The X Factor and Virtual XI were the seventh, tenth and eleventh albums of the band, respectively. The Final Frontier, the fifteenth, opens with an instrumental titled "Satellite 15" (which segues into the title track).
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually at Level 7, sometimes goes into 6 or 8 - and once with a 3, "Journeyman".
- Murder Ballad: "Sanctuary", arguably a Take That towards Margaret Thatcher.
- Nightmare Sequence: Quite a few songs are inspired by Steve Harris' nightmares, such as "The Number of the Beast", "Infinite Dreams" and "Dream of Mirrors"
- Noble Savage: "Run to the Hills".
- Non-Appearing Title: 5/8 in Piece of Mind; other albums have it as well, mostly for self-describing titles, such as "The Prophecy", "The Mercenary", "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg".
- Number of the Beast: Natch.
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Hooks In You" from "No Prayer for the Dying".
- Power Ballad: "Wasting Love", from Fear of the Dark.
- Precision F-Strike: "Holy Smoke".
- Protest Song: Sometimes they go into current world problems, such as the televangelists ("Holy Smoke"), the high crime rate ("Age of Innocence") and the current economic crisis ("El Dorado"). And then there's the war-inspired songs...
- Pun-Based Title: Piece of Mind and "Public Enema Number One", from No Prayer For The Dying.
- Refuge in Vulgarity: A few of the B-sides, such as "Nodding Donkey Blues" (about a Big Beautiful Woman - "She was fucking huge! Enormous! You could have sailed the Hindenburg through her legs and never even had landing permission!") and "Sheriff of Huddersfield" (a joke on the band's manager).
- Rock Opera: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and the story of Charlotte the Harlot.
- Rousseau Was Right: "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (Brave New World) is about this and Karma.
- Screw Destiny: "Die With Your Boots On":
For the truth of all predictions
Is always in your hands.
- Self-Titled Album: with a self-titled song!
- Shout-Out: "To Tame A Land", "The Wicker Man", "Sign of the Cross", "Man On The Edge" "Flight of Icarus", "The Fugitive", "The Prisoner" (which had two songs, one eponymous and "Back to the Village"), "Children of the Damned", "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns", "The Edge of Darkness"...
- It's rumoured that Patrick McGoohan himself, when the band asked for permission to use lines from the show, said "What was the band's name again?...a rock band, you say?...do it!". Picture those words in your mind along with that trademark cadence to Patrick McGoohan's voice and you're spot on.
- It's a shame Frank Herbert wasn't quite so accommodating regarding Dune - the song had to be renamed To Tame A Land. This lack of accomodation was "mentioned" by Bruce in the 1983 World Piece Tour:
Next song is all about a gentleman who wrote a science-fiction book called Dune(...). He's an American called Mr. Frank Herbert, this particular gentleman, alright? And Mr. Herbert, as it turns out, is a bit of a cunt actually, because he... among other things he said that if we called this track that we wrote on the album "Dune", that he'd sue us and stop the album coming out, and all kinds of very unpleasant things... So we had to re-title the track which is on the new album, and we had to call it To Tame A Land.
- Shown Their Work: Possibly not all of their great many songs based on history, literature, or whatever it is are entirely faithful and accurate. The number that are, the shear volume of them, and the actual possibility of discussing whether a metal song is historically accurate mean they more than qualify anyway. Bruce Dickinson having a degree in history from London University doesn't hurt.
- When the lyrics of "Alexander The Great" talk about the Scythians fleeing across the River Jaxartes, you know they've done their research.
- Signature Song: "Run To The Hills".
- Sinister Minister: "Holy Smoke".
- Something Blues: B-sides "Black Bart Blues" and "Nodding Donkey Blues".
- Spoken Word in Music: Occurs sometimes.
- Subdued Section: "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". Other Epic Rocking songs have it too.
- Subliminal Seduction: In "Still Life" there's a Take That from the band towards the Moral Guardians.
- Title-Only Chorus: A few, such as "Caught Somewhere in Time" and "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"
- The subversion became more frequent as band matured, as many choruses included others phrases along the title. I mean, the song isn't called "Live to Fly, Fly To Live, Aces High". Also, in "Hallowed Be The Name", the song title is only sung twice, repeated towards the end as "yeah, yeah, yeah...hallowed be thy name..."
- Refrain From Assuming: "Your time will come (4x)", in "The Wicker Man", from Brave New World; "Freedom (4x)", in "The Clansman" from Virtual XI; and "Falling Down (4x)", in "Man on the Edge", from The X Factor; all choruses. And considering their tendency for Title Only Choruses, sometimes people call the songs by the chorus line.
- Wanderlust Song: "Running Free".
- War Is Hell: Many of the war-inspired songs ("The Trooper", "2 Minutes To Midnight", "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", "Paschendale", "The Longest Day" "Mother of Mercy" - for that matter, all but "Different World" in A Matter Of Life And Death).
- World War I ("Paschendale") and World War II ("Aces High", "The Longest Day")
- Word Salad Lyrics: Quite a few, such as "Still Life", and "Revelations", quoted below:
The light of the Blind - you'll see
The venom that tears my spine
The Eyes of the Nile are opening - you'll see
Misc tropes (videos and other stuff)
Musician-specific stuff goes in the musician sheet.
- Animated Music Video: "Wildest Dreams", from Dance of Death; "Different World", from A Matter Of Life And Death; and "The Final Frontier", from, well... The Final Frontier.
- Brain Food: Piece of Mind's inner sleeve and CD art (probably referencing the cover with a post-lobotomy Eddie).
- Catch Phrase: The fans themselves have a Catch Phrase of their own -- the phrase "Up the Irons" is pretty much the Maiden fan salute.
- Digital Piracy Is Okay: Encouraged when they performed in Gothenburg in 2005, a concert which aired live in the Scandinavian countries.
Bruce Dickinson: If you're watching this and you're bootlegging it, make sure that you send it to all of your friends, not just the Swedish ones.
- Earth-Shattering Poster: For the World Piece Tour of 1983 and the Early Days Tour of 2005.
- Iconic Logo: That font is hard not to recognize.
- Idiosyncratic Cover Art: the box set "Eddie's Head".
- Licensed Game: Ed Hunter.
- Name's the Same: There was also a Hard Rock band named Iron Maiden in the sixties.
- Polygon Ceiling: An unusual non-game example!
- The band was known for their very distinctive album artwork courtesy of Derek Riggs throughout most of their career, and he provided at least some artwork for most of their album covers until his involvement eventually waned entirely after the release of Brave New World (reportedly due to them being difficult to work with). After having these painted scenes for nine (studio) albums, fans were slightly surprised when the album cover for Dance of Death was revealed to be an episode of ReBoot gone horribly wrong.
- Likewise, a previous 2-D to 3-D jump, The X-Factor (though not hand-drawn to CGI, but hand-drawn to statue) was not well received.
- Inverted with the hand-drawn cover art for the single El Dorado, which many fans saw as a bad depiction of the Garbage Pail Kids. The Final Frontier may be playing this straight as well.
- Rated "M" for Manly
- Record Producer: Martin Birch from Killers to Fear of the Dark, Kevin Shirley since Brave New World.
- Rockumentary: 12 Wasted Years, The Early Days and Flight 666.
- Live After Death's DVD edition has the second part of The Early Days as an extra.
- Trope Maker: Along with Judas Priest, of blending Hard Rock with Heavy Metal.
- A rather odd case, that "band" was composed by Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain, and several future members of Adrian's solo band A.S.
- which could be about Predator or Diablo, depending on who you ask
- Bruce wrote a Filk Song about the film in his solo career, though
- Just for the sake of it, the video is named "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier", but the only part which is played is that of "The Final Frontier".