In the East End of London, Steve “Arry” Harris and Dave Murray joined forces in 1976 with Paul Di’Anno (real name, Paul Andrews) and Doug Sampson to form Iron Maiden, a band determined to keep hard rock going in the face of advancing punk and New Wave.
Ironically, in years to come Iron Maiden would be hailed as spearheading the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), a style unique in the world of metal because of its obvious punk influences.
Constant touring, and a UK hit with the urgent anthem Running Free saw their 1980 self-titled debut album reach #4. Just one month before the album sessions were due to commence, drummer Doug Sampson was let go in favour of Clive Burr, and guitarist Tony Parsons was replaced by Dennis Stratton.
Their refusal to mime to the single on BBC TV’s weekly music show Top of The Pops also saw the band become the first to play live on the programme for seven years.
The second Maiden album, Killers (1981), offered little more than consolidation and Paul Di’Anno and Iron Maiden parted company with Bruce Dickinson (ex-Samson) replacing him on vocals.
The band’s first album with Dickinson, The Number Of The Beast (1982), debuted at #1 – it knocked Barbra Streisand off the top of the UK charts – and provided the band with their first hit single, Run To The Hills.
Iron Maiden – and their gruesome mascot Eddie (depicted on the cover of their albums) hit enormous commercial success.
Iron Maiden scored a UK chart-topper in 1991 with Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter simply by releasing the track in numerous formats which the fans bought in their droves. The song – written by Bruce Dickinson for the movie Nightmare On Elm Street 5 (1989) – earned the band their only #1.
Dickinson departed in 1994 for a solo career and was replaced by Blaze Bayley (ex-Wolfsbane).
Original vocalist Paul Di’Anno (pictured) was jailed for nine months in March 2011 for benefit fraud after claiming £45,000 in income support, housing benefit and council tax handouts while he was touring around the world, sometimes playing to crowds of 10,000 people.
The 52-year-old had claimed he could not work after he was injured leaping off a stage but was caught when videos posted on YouTube of him performing were spotted by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigators.
Sentencing Andrews, Jane Miller QC told him “Your public persona is not relevant. Your greed has cost this country a lot of money. The claims were for a long time and for a large cost. It must be a custodial sentence. In 2002 you started claiming benefits when it was quite clear you were already working. It took many years to track you down. In 2007 you performed at 69 venues, in 2006 you performed 67 times”.
Andrews was told he would serve at least four and a half months of his jail term behind bars before being released on conditional bail.
Iron Maiden topped the charts in 24 countries with The Book Of Souls (2015), including the UK, where it became their fifth #1 album.
Paul Di’Anno (Andrews)
Michael “Nicko” McBrain