The song Charlotte the Harlot probably started me listening to Iron Maiden more than just hearing them on the radio because (and I know this is mean) when I was at school back in the day there was a girl I knew called Charlotte and I used to call her Charlotte the Harlot because of knowing the song. This was really when I was a little kid of about 8 and I actually ended up having her as a girlfriend when I was about 14, so it all worked out OK in the end.
Iron Maiden are an English, Heavy Metal group formed in London in 1975 by Steve Harris and have had many band members over the years (too many to list). The more noted members being Dave Murray, Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers, Nicko McBrain, Dennis Stratton and the current lineup is: Bruce Dickinson (lead vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar, backing vocals), Janick Gers (guitar), Steve Harris (bass, backing vocals) and Nicko McBrain (drums). This lineup has stayed consistent since 1999.
Maiden are one of the most successful of all heavy metal bands and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. The name Iron Maiden was taken from an old torture device of the same name and the band actually formed on Christmas Day 1975. The group went through many band changes over their first few years of gigging and it wasn’t until they signed to EMI in December 1979 that they started to record their work seriously. The self titled debut album Iron Maiden was released in 1980 and rose to #4 in it’s first week in the charts. The same year Iron Maiden went on tour of the UK and opened for Kiss and Judas Priest which helped to give them public notice.
Bruce Dickinson joined the band shortly after the second album release (Killers) and went straight out on another tour of the UK. The Number Of The Beast was released in 1982 and was Iron Maiden’s first #1 album in the UK and then they went on a massive global tour including Canada, US, Australia, Japan, Germany and UK. There was controversy in the US when a group of Christian activists held a record burning of Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne albums as they claimed them to be Satanic. Shortly after the tour saw the release of the third album Piece Of Mind which was a massive success.
Iron Maiden then went on another huge tour called the World Slavery Tour and it consisted of 193 shows over 13 months and this is recorded as one of the biggest tours in musical history. The next few years saw Iron Maiden change the ways they made their music and the inspiration behind it. In 1986 Somewhere In Time was released and was based around the ideals of time travel and it was the first album to contain synthesized bass and guitar sounds which were used to add layers and textures to their sound. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son was released in 1988 and was about a mythical child with magical abilities and also was the first album to contain keyboards and made it to #1 in the UK chart.
No Prayer For The Dying was released in 1990 and had huge success and the song Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter rose to give Iron Maiden their first #1 single in the UK. The song was recorded for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. In 1992 Fear Of The Dark was released and was the first album to be recorded specifically for CD and was much longer than previous LP releases.
Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden in 1993 to pursue his own solo career but still performed a farewell tour and recorded two live albums (A Real Dead One which contained songs from 1975-1984 and A Real Live One which contained songs from 1986-1992).
The next album to come was The X Factor and was released in 1995 but didn’t receive as much success as their previous albums. Best Of The Beast was released in 1996 and was the first compilation album and only contained one new song (Virus). Virtual XI was released in 1998 and was even less successful than The X Factor.
In 1999 Bruce Dickinson returned to the band and in 2000 they released the album Brave New World and rocketed Iron Maiden back into the charts and the minds of the UK public. Maiden went on another massive world tour (over 100 dates) and ended at the Rock In Rio festival in Brazil in 2001. The band played to around 250,000 fans and the show was recorded and released as a live album (Rock In Rio).
Iron maiden have released several albums since (Dance Of Death, Death On The Road and A Matter Of Life And Death) and still continue to tour. Iron Maiden have influenced many bands and won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002 and were also inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk in 2005.
My Top 10 Iron Maiden Songs are:
01. Run To The Hills
02. The Number Of The Beast
03. Charlotte the Harlot
04. Can I Play with Madness
05. Holy Smoke
06. Fear Of The Dark
07. Hooks In You
08. Running Free
09. The Evil That Men Do