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Iron Maiden

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Biography

Known for such powerful hits as "Two Minutes to Midnight" and "The Trooper," Iron Maiden are one of heavy metal's most influential bands. They're also one of metal's most enduring and distinctive acts, thanks to their melodic guitars, ambitious songwriting, powerhouse vocalist Bruce Dickinson, and iconic mascot Eddie. One of the first groups to be classified as "British metal," Iron Maiden helped set the rock scene for the '80s and inspired generations of subsequent bands, including Metallica, Dream Theater, Slipknot, In Flames, and Avenged Sevenfold. Despite a lack of radio airplay or mainstream media support, early allegations of Satanism, and a revolving lineup, they have remained consistently popular throughout their career. Iron Maiden were formed in 1975 in Leyton, East London by bassist Steve Harris, formerly of the band Smiler. The group's lineup was volatile during its early years, but eventually settled on drummer Doug Sampson, guitarist Dave Murray, and vocalist Paul Di'Anno in 1978. Late that year, this incarnation of the band recorded a four-song demo and circulated it to club owners and others involved in the London scene, including the group's soon-to-be manager Ron Smallwood. The demo's popularity led Iron Maiden to self-release it as 1979's The Soundhouse Tapes EP, which soon sold out its 5,000-copy run. After scoring a deal with EMI, the band enlisted a second guitarist, Dennis Stratton. Late in 1979, Sampson departed due to health issues and former Samson drummer Clive Burr took his place behind the kit. The band's self-titled debut arrived in 1980; though it was recorded in a hurry, it was nonetheless a U.K. hit due to the single "Running Free." Its 1981 follow-up, Killers, had a harder approach thanks in part to producer Martin Birch -- with whom the group worked until his 1992 retirement -- and also saw the replacement of Stratton with Murray's childhood friend Adrian Smith. Due to substance abuse issues, Di'Anno was dismissed from Iron Maiden after the Killer World Tour in 1981. His replacement was Bruce Dickinson, another former Samson member who joined that September and made his recorded debut with the band on 1982's groundbreaking The Number of the Beast. Boasting songs such as the title track and "Hallowed Be Thy Name," it became known as one of the all-time great rock albums. Though it was the band's first chart-topping album in the U.K. and was a Top Ten seller in several other countries, Christian activists and conservative politicians in America claimed the band was Satanic (which Iron Maiden denied). Nevertheless, The Number of the Beast's success made Iron Maiden international superstars, and despite the replacement of Burr with former Trust drummer Nicko McBrain, they changed very little of their style on 1983's Piece of Mind. The band undertook two major tours before recording 1984's Powerslave, which would go on to be another cult hit and featured the 13-minute epic "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," which was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem. The product of Powerslave's 11-month tour was 1985's Live After Death, a double-live album featuring their biggest hit singles. Now established as a powerful and unique metal band, Iron Maiden experimented on their long-awaited 1986 album, Somewhere in Time, incorporating synthesized bass and guitar and futuristic themes. They continued to expand their sound and subject matter with 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Another concept album featuring the singles "The Evil That Men Do" and "The Clairvoyant," as well as the band's first use of keyboards, it was Maiden's most critically acclaimed album since The Number of the Beast. After that album's release, Smith and Dickinson worked on their own projects: Smith's album with his band ASAP arrived in 1989, while Dickinson's solo album, Tattooed Millionaire, appeared the following year. When Iron Maiden reconvened to work on a new album, Smith left over creative differences; ex-Gillan guitarist Janick Gers, who played on Tattooed Millionaire, joined the fold for 1990's No Prayer for the Dying. A return to the band's stripped-down sound of the early '80s, it gave Iron Maiden their first number one U.K. single with "Bring Your Daughter...To the Slaughter." At the end of the band's 1991 tour, Dickinson expressed his desire to leave and work on his own music. However, he recorded another album, 1992's Fear of the Dark, and toured with the band, ultimately leaving in 1993. That year, two live albums were released: A Real Live One, which focused on their contemporaneous hit singles, and A Real Dead One, which featured Maiden's classic songs. Iron Maiden took some time off after Dickinson's departure, returning with 1995's The X Factor, which featured new singer and ex-Wolfsbane member Blaze Bayley. While the record didn't perform as well commercially as some of its predecessors, it was still a success in England. Its follow-up, 1998's Virtual XI, was one of the band's lowest-selling albums; in addition, Bayley was having issues with his voice, and he left Iron Maiden early in 1999. Soon after, Dickinson and Smith returned to the group, who released the ambitious, Kevin Shirley-produced Brave New World the following year. Iron Maiden remained reinvigorated throughout the 2000s, touring and recording almost as consistently as they did in the '80s. They reunited with Shirley for 2003's critically acclaimed Dance of Death, which was inspired by battles ranging from the conquering of a 13th century Cathar stronghold ("Montségur") to a notable World War I campaign ("Paschendale"). The Rainmaker EP, as well as the live DVDs History of Iron Maiden, Pt. 1: The Early Days and Raising Hell, followed in 2004. Sanctuary put out the two-disc The Essential Iron Maiden in 2005 to coincide with their gig co-headlining an Ozzfest tour with Black Sabbath, which the band left due to a series of confrontations with Ozzy's wife/manager, Sharon. Another live set, Death on the Road, appeared in September of 2005, shortly before Iron Maiden returned to the studio to work on their 14th album. The results were 2006's A Matter of Life and Death, the band's first album to enter the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. Three years later, Iron Maiden released the soundtrack for the film Flight 666, a documentary/concert film recorded in 16 different cities during Maiden's first leg of their 2008 Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, which saw the band traveling in a customized Boeing 747 (called Ed Force One) flown by Dickinson, who is also a licensed pilot. Iron Maiden worked with Shirley once again on 2010's The Final Frontier, which reached the top of the charts in 28 countries and earned the band a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the single "El Dorado." It was followed in 2012 by En Vivo!, a live video/album filmed at Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile in April 2011. In 2013, the band began work on its 16th studio album, with plans to release it in 2015. Though the album was completed, the discovery of cancerous tumors on Dickinson's tongue and neck in late 2014 slowed things down. He underwent rigorous chemotherapy. He was declared cancer-free in May of 2015. Iron Maiden put the finishing touches on the album and issued the video pre-release single "Speed of Light" in August. The 92-minute, double-length album Book of Souls followed in September. In 2016 and 2017 the band set out on the Book of Souls World Tour in support of the album, and later released the live collection Book of Souls: Live Chapter, which was recorded during the tour. ~ Barry Weber & Heather Phares
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   The Number of the Beast
  3.   Run to the Hills
  4.   The Trooper
  5.   Hallowed Be Thy Name
  6.   2 Minutes to Midnight
  7.   Wasted Years
  8.   Wrathchild
  9.   Aces High
  10.   Killers
  11.   Murders in the Rue Morgue
  12.   Can I Play With Madness
  13.   Stranger in a Strange Land
  14.   The Duellists
  15.   Remember Tomorrow
  16.   Powerslave
  17.   22 Acacia Avenue
  18.   Die With Your Boots On
  19.   Where Eagles Dare
  20.   Iron Maiden
  21.   Invaders
  22.   Charlotte the Harlot
  23.   Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
  24.   Gangland
  25.   Heaven Can Wait
  26.   Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  27.   The Prisoner
  28.   Flight of Icarus
  29.   Revelations
  30.   Running Free
  31.   Prowler
  32.   Transylvania
  33.   The Clairvoyant
  34.   Phantom of the Opera
  35.   Twilight Zone
  36.   Blood Brothers
  37.   Fear of the Dark
  38.   Deja Vu
  39.   Children of the Damned
  40.   Flash of the Blade
  41.   Moonchild
  42.   Strange World
  43.   The Ides of March
  44.   Sea of Madness
  45.   Innocent Exile
  46.   Sun and Steel
  47.   The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  48.   Drifter
  49.   Back in the Village
  50.   The Evil That Men Do
  51.   Afraid to Shoot Strangers
  52.   Sanctuary
  53.   Caught Somewhere in Time
  54.   Dance of Death
  55.   Infinite Dreams
  56.   Speed of Light
  57.   These Colours Don't Run
  58.   Paschendale
  59.   The Wicker Man
  60.   Sign of the Cross
  61.   The Clansman
  62.   Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)
  63.   Be Quick or Be Dead
  64.   Empire of the Clouds
  65.   Death or Glory
  66.   The Book of Souls
  67.   For the Greater Good of God
  68.   Prodigal Son
  69.   Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.)
  70.   Ghost of the Navigator
  71.   Tailgunner
  72.   From Here to Eternity
  73.   Purgatory
  74.   The Man of Sorrows
  75.   Tears of a Clown
  76.   If Eternity Should Fail
  77.   Strangers in a Strange Land
  78.   The Talisman
  79.   El Dorado
  80.   Coming Home
  81.   The Longest Day
  82.   Genghis Khan
  83.   Only the Good Die Young
  84.   The Prophecy
  85.   To Tame a Land
  86.   Quest for Fire
  87.   The Edge of Darkness
  88.   Hooks in You
  89.   Run Silent Run Deep
  90.   Holy Smoke
  91.   Mother Russia
  92.   The Fugitive
  93.   Wasting Love
  94.   Shadows of the Valley
  95.   When the River Runs Deep
  96.   The Red and the Black
  97.   The Great Unknown
  98.   Arthur's Farewell (Intro)
  99.   The Final Frontier
  100.   When the Wild Wind Blows
  101.   The Man Who Would Be King
  102.   The Alchemist
  103.   Satellite 15
  104.   Mother of Mercy
  105.   Isle of Avalon
  106.   The Legacy
  107.   Lord of Light
  108.   The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
  109.   Out of the Shadows
  110.   The Pilgrim
  111.   Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
  112.   Different World
  113.   Journeyman
  114.   Age of Innocence
  115.   Face in the Sand
  116.   Gates of Tomorrow
  117.   Montségur
  118.   No More Lies
  119.   Rainmaker
  120.   Wildest Dreams
  121.   Another Life
  122.   The Thin Line Between Love and Hate
  123.   Out of the Silent Planet
  124.   The Nomad
  125.   The Fallen Angel
  126.   Dream of Mirrors
  127.   The Mercenary
  128.   Brave New World
  129.   Como Estais Amigos
  130.   Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger
  131.   The Educated Fool
  132.   When Two Worlds Collide
  133.   Lightning Strikes Twice
  134.   The Angel and the Gambler
  135.   The Unbeliever
  136.   2 A.M.
  137.   Blood on the World's Hands
  138.   Judgement of Heaven
  139.   The Aftermath
  140.   Look for the Truth
  141.   Fortunes of War
  142.   Lord of the Flies
  143.   (Intro) Churchill's Speech
  144.   Futureal
  145.   Man on the Edge
  146.   The Assassin
  147.   Fates Warning
  148.   Public Enema Number One
  149.   No Prayer for the Dying
  150.   Still Life