35 Years Ago: Iron Maiden Unleash the Seminal Number of the Beast
On March 22, 1982 Iron Maiden Unleashed on the world: The Number of the Beast.
This was a turning point for Iron Maiden. It was also the first record featuring Bruce Dickinson. Paul Di'Anno the singer replaced by Bruce was not a bad singer and his vocal style seemed perfect for the self-titled Iron Maiden and Killers - Two very good records. But there were other problems with Di'Anno.
Dickinson said “Things with Paul hadn’t been going terribly well, and they’d made the decision to get rid of him,” Dickinson told Billboard. “So, they came and took a peek at me.”
They invited Bruce to an audition which was somewhat unusual. The determined and strong willed singer came with some ground rules: “‘First of all,’ I said, ‘if I do the audition, I’m going to get the job, so you need to figure out whether or not you want me on board, because I don’t want to be unless I can be a pain in the ass and have some opinions. I’m not going to be like the old guy. I’m going to have disagreements with Steve, because I’ve got some ideas about how I want to change things around. So, if you don’t want that, you’d better tell me now.'”
Apparently, He struck a chord because as we all know the rest is history.
When the album dropped there were a lot right wing and conservative Christian groups who had record burning meetings. The live performances were covered with Christians handing out pamphlets and swarming to try and "save" people from damnation. One guy even brought a 25 foot cross.
These set backs were not even a bump in the road for the new record. It went to number one on the UK charts and entered the top 40 in the States (a breakthrough)
Since the album could get no airplay - Iron Maiden decided to spread the word in a big way. They launched 10 month 180 date tour! These gigantic tours have become a hallmark for Maiden.
After the first Dickinson Record a string platinum albums followed. Dickinson changed the sound of Iron Maiden and gave it many of its characteristic ideas. He was an incredible singer and master of lyrical phrasing and unpredictable soaring notes. The characteristic harmonies that can be heard on many of the songs added a more melodic dimension. Perhaps it was fate that brought these guys together.
The Number of the Beast is an iconic heavy metal album. It definitely put metal on a different track.
There are no bad tracks on the record and some real masterpieces. It has influenced thousands of bands, and stands as a musical achievement of mammoth proportions.
Below are some Video's to take you back or if you are new to introduce you to Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden.