Iron Maiden Bio:
Since their explosion on the scene in the early eighties IRON MAIDEN have been hailed as one of the UK's greatest live acts of all time with their fiery brand of music, spectacle and live performance all of which has excited their fans around the planet for over two decades. To date they have almost 75 million records and their name, imagery and artwork has made them the recognised symbols and Icons for the Metal music genre and its followers.
After 3 years playing sporadic pub gigs with various line-ups changing around founder, song writer and bass player Steve Harris, by mid-1979 Iron Maiden are Steve, Paul Di'Anno (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar) and Doug Sampson (drums). Teaming up with Rod Smallwood, who still manages them today, they begin to undertake a widening gig circuit including London's legendary Marquee Club. Following a sold out show there in early October, EMI Records becomes very interested and by November the band have a major worldwide recording contract.
At the beginning of the year Dennis Stratton comes into the band as second guitar and Doug Sampson, who found it difficult handling the ever increasing band schedule, is replaced by Clive Burr. The band embark on their first 'Metal For Muthas' UK headline tour. Their first single 'Running Free' peaks at No. 34 in the UK charts, while their debut self-titled album enters the UK charts at No. 4, following a February UK tour supporting Judas Priest. Maiden then take off on an immensely successful European Tour with Kiss taking them all round the continent for the first time. After the tour, Dennis Stratton is replaced with Adrian Smith.
The album 'Killers' is released, the first of many albums to be produced by Martin Birch. The band headline their first European Tour and make first visits to Japan and North America, touring with Priest and UFO. After the tour Paul Di'Anno leaves the band in September and is replaced by Bruce Dickinson. The band play a few Italian shows and the Rainbow to warm up with Bruce prior to starting to write the new album.
Iron Maiden get their first UK top 10 single, when 'Run To The Hills' goes to No. 7 in the charts. The band undertake their 11 month, 179 date, 16 country 'Beast On The Road' world tour, during which they will play to over one million fans, including Australia for the first time. 'Number Of The Beast' debuts at No. 1 (their first of four No. 1 UK albums) and confounds the British media by staying there. America is further consolidated with very extensive touring supporting Rainbow, 38 Special, Judas Priest, The Scorpions and even stadium shows with Foreigner and Loverboy!
Clive Burr leaves the band and Nicko McBrain joins. 'Piece Of Mind' is released and the accompanying 'World Piece' tour includes their first headline North American Arena Tour. Going successfully straight into 10,000+ seater arenas and including a sold out show at New York's Madison Square Garden, Maiden are able to do this with practically no radio play in America which really has never been done before or since. Except by Iron Maiden.
'Powerslave' is released and kicks off the 11 month, 26 country 'World Slavery' tour, starting in Poland in August. Maiden are the first band ever to take a full arena production behind the Iron Curtain and this tour carries arguably Maiden's most spectacular stage show ever as attested by the later video. Powerslave debuts at No. 2 in the UK charts being kept off No.1 by EMI's very first 'Now....That's What l Call Music' pop compilation. Needless to say the band and manager are not amused by their own label's efforts to keep them off the top!
The tour continues into South America for the first time where they play to an estimated audience of 300,000 fans at the inaugural Rock In Rio as special guests to Queen. The 'Live After Death' album and video, recorded over a record breaking four night run at Long Beach Arena in LA, are released and respectively go to Nos. 2 and 1 in the UK charts.
'Somewhere In Time' is released debuting at No3 and the band embark on the 'Somewhere On Tour' World tour. Another truly spectacular stage production is assembled and shipped around the world.
The 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' album goes straight into the UK charts at No. 1 and also gives them their fifth straight USA Platinum album. Four Top 10 singles also come from the album. The seven month, 94 concert 'Seventh Tour Of A Seventh Tour' starts in Moncton, Canada, in May and culminates with four sold out Hammersmith Odeon and two Wembley Arena shows. The band also headline the Donington 'Monsters Of Rock' festival, for the first time, drawing a record breaking crowd of 107,000 with the likes of Kiss, Guns n' Roses and Megadeth in support. They also successfully take the festival into Europe for the first time.
Adrian Smith leaves the band and Janick Gers replaces him. The 'No Prayer For The Dying' album is released and goes to No. 2 in the UK charts. The following 'No Prayer On The Road Tour' begins with an extensive 'UK Intercity' tour playing some 21 dates across the UK introducing their fans to Janick.
'Fear Of The Dark' goes straight to No. 1 in the UK album charts on release. Maiden undertake their first full headline South American tour and headline Donington for the second time. After 11 years this is to be the last album produced by Martin Birch who retires to play golf and fish!
Two live albums, produced and mixed by Steve Harris, 'A Real Live One' and 'A Real Dead One', are released, plus the limited edition 'Live At Donington'. Bruce announces he is leaving the band at the end of the 'Real Live Tour' of Europe. He bows out with the 'Raising Hell' pay-per-view TV spectacular, filmed at Pinewood Studios. Blaze Bayley is announced as Bruce's replacement.
'The X Factor' is released, and 'The X Factour' opens in Jerusalem with Blaze's debut appearance with the band. The intro to 'Number Of The Beast' sends shivers down collective backs! The tour takes the band to Israel and South Africa for the first time at the start of another extensive eight month World Tour. The band film a video for 'Man On The Edge' for Top Of The Pops on the top of the historical plateau Masada.
'Virtual XI' is released, and is launched by a promotional football tour across Europe where the band and selected football professionals play games in front of thousands of fans. This is followed by the 'Virtual World Tour' taking in headline dates in Europe, USA, Japan and finally South America. However shortly after the tour ends it was announced that Blaze Bayley was to leave the band.
Iron Maiden become a six-piece when Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith rejoin the band. They are reintroduced to the band's fans on the 'Ed Hunter' tour, which coincides with the release of their first computer game of the same name. The tour is a short introduction to the 'new' band with about 28 shows across Europe and North America all of which sell out very quickly. Work begins on the band's new album in Paris enlisting the help of producer, Kevin Shirley ( Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith). The band find the live recording methods Kevin introduces work well and capture the band's energy, marking the beginning of a close working partnership.
Maiden release 'Brave New World' and embark on their 'Metal 2000' festival tour in Europe. The tour continues extensively across the rest of the world in arenas as 'The Brave New World Tour' with UK dates including a first show at Earls Court Arena. Meanwhile the Madison Square Gardens show in New York sells out in hours.
Maiden spend the first part of the year recording 'Dance Of Death' in London with producer Kevin Shirley. They warm up for the ensuing tour by playing European summer festivals, including their record equalling third headline appearance at Donington. On this section of the tour alone they play to 700,000 fans in just 28 shows. The tour continues through North America with Dio and Motorhead supporting and includes their fifth sold out Madison Square Garden show. To coincide with the start of the tour their second DVD 'Visions Of The Beast' is released on EMI, debuting at No. 2 in the UK charts and No. 5 in the US.
After a short break the band commence their Death on The Road Tour in November. Playing to sell out arenas all over Europe the band then travel to South America, USA before finishing in Japan in February 2004.
Following the successful release of the "Early Days" DVD , which charted Maiden's history before and during their first four albums (1976 - 1983) , the band spend the Summer playing many of the major European Festivals and a number of stadiums with a show titled "Give ME 'Ed .....Til I'm Dead". Playing only songs from those first four albums, the Production and stage sets were based on the corresponding tours for these early albums.This proved to be a major success with fans everywhere with fantasic response to the old materiel and huge audiences. The show at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg Sweden had sold out 55,000 tickets in just a couple of hours nine months in advance of the show and Swedish National TV and Radio broadcast the show live across the whole of Scandinavia, the first live concert broadcast since Live Aid in 1985! Maiden then stormed the USA with blistering performances on Ozzfest with reviews throughout the USA tour heralding Maiden's performances as "deserving of every accolade". The band returned to the UK to headline the Reading and Leeds Festivals -- the first time they had played there since they had headlined in 1982 on the "Number of the Beast" Tour, which was quite appropriate considering what the set was!! They rounded out the tour by performing the final show at the Hammersmith Odeon to raise money for the Clive Burr Trust.
This was truly a landmark year for Iron Maiden as they embarked on the Somewhere Back In Time World Tour in February. The tour, a massive stage production based heavily upon the bands legendary 'World Slavery Tour' from 1985, the first leg of which was easily their most ambitious and groundbreaking touring venture yet and something that no other band has ever attempted in touring history. This first leg saw the band fly 75,000km around the world, visiting 21 cities in eleven countries in the course of less than 7 weeks in a specially converted Boeing 757-200 airliner carrying all the band, crew and 12 tons of stage equipment and production to India, Australia, Japan, North and South America before finishing in Canada. This allowed the band to not only have the freedom to fly when they wanted but gave them the mobility to visit countries they had not toured for many years as well as new countries most artists rarely visit such as Costa Rica and Columbia. This caused major media interest reaching out to extensive major network on CNN, FOX News, Sky news, ABC, CTV, Globo and Channel9 and other major news networks around the world. The tour continued in May and June with an extensive tour of USA and Canada before the band embarked on their European campaign at the end of June. Many shows throughout Europe had been sold out for months in advance especially in Scandinavia where some 130,000 tickets for three shows in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Helsinki sold out within 2 hours of going on sale on the biggest ever rock tour of the Nordic territories in terms of ticket sales. This leg also saw the band performing their first ever UK Stadium show in front of 50,000 people at the packed Twickenham Stadium in London.
During the year the DVD "Live after Death" and the 1980-89 compilation album "Somewhere Back in Time" were released. The former is the DVD of the legendary concerts on the four night stand at Long Beach Arena, CA, in 1985 originally recorded as video concert and live album, along with Part 2 of the "History of Iron Maiden" as one of the bonus features. This is the concert production, based around the Egyptian theme of the Powerslave album, on which the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour out was based. The latter is also a compilation of key tracks and fan favourites recorded in the 80's.
The phenomenal success of the 'Somewhere Back In Time' World Tour concluded with Iron Maiden setting out on a fourth and final leg in February and March '09, circumnavigating the globe a further 70,000km in their customised Boeing 757 'Ed Force One, taking in Serbia, Dubai, India and the long trek to New Zealand for their first two shows there in 16 years. Then back to Latin America again for an even more exciting and extensive run than even the 08 tour that featured in the film Flight 666. Returning to a number of major cities, the band played to huge numbers despite the fact that it was only just over a year since their last shows in these cities -- Mexico City 45,000, Sao Paolo 50,000+, Santiago 55,000, Buenos Aires 45,000 -- and for the first time visiting a number of counties and cities like Lima, Peru (30,000), Quito, Ecuador (25,000), Brasilia (20,000) and Manaus (18,000) , on the Amazon in the midst of the rainforest. In Quito fans had even carved out the name MAIDEN in huge letters on the mountain overlooking the city and over 4,000 turned out at the airport to greet the arrival of Ed Force One. Caracas, Venezuela had its first Maiden show in almost 20 years and Bogota, Costa Rica were also revisited. The day of a show in Rio de Janeiro also saw the World Premiere of Flight 666 at the Cine Odeon.
The tour finished with a sold out show (12,000) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 2, by which time, over the whole 08-09 tour, the band had played to 1.93 million fans in 39 countries and six continents around the world.
Iron Maiden were also honoured by the Brit Awards for the very first time, being crowned Best British Live Act, ahead of Coldplay, The Verve and Elbow and the film Flight 666 won the best music documentary award at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
On April 21 "Flight 666" hit over 450 cinemas in 42 countries around the globe on April 21, World MAIDEN DAY.
Following a summer break Iron Maiden will commence work on a new studio album expected to be released late summer 2010. And then all the fun will start again!!