Iron Maiden’s ‘The Number of The Beast’ turns 40Rodney
Iron Maiden ‘The Number of The Beast’ at 40
Iron Maiden’s iconic album ‘The Number of The Beast’ turns 40. The album released 22 March 1982 in the UK by EMI Records, and in the USA by Harvest/Capitol Records. The album was the first to feature frontman Bruce Dickinson and the last to feature drummer Clive Burr.
‘The Number of The Beast’ was Iron Maiden‘s third album. They played many gigs for their first two albums Iron Maiden (1980) and Killers (1981) and they were shot in the spotlight of metal music. The Eddie-centric artwork was already well known and Iron Maiden seemed impervious. Sadly, some things didn’t work out. When Iron Maiden were on their US tour for their Killers album it seemed Paul Di’Anno was more interested in cocaine and booze than the music.
After the ‘Killers’ tour, Paul was sacked. Iron Maiden were one of the hottest metal bands on earth. They found themselves to be without a singer and also was ready to record their third album. After a meeting with their manager Rod Smallwood they summoned the then Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson for an audition. It’s obvious the band was impressed with the pipes on the man and they hired him straight away.
With Iron Maiden securing the Bruce Dickinson in on the vocals they hit up Battery Studio in London. Producer Martin Birch was hired to record the album. The album that would change everything – The Number Of The Beast. Before the release of the album, Maiden released the single Run To The Hills. Which was a brilliant introduction to the ability of Bruce Dickinson’s vocal talent. The song sky rocketed in the UK Top 10.
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Run To The Hills quickly became a well-loved anthem. Bruce Dickinson moulded into the band and Iron Maiden was reborn. A month later the album The Number Of The Beast shot to number one in the UK album chart.
On the recording of the album, Dickinson spoke in Iron Maiden’s Early Days documentary “Martin would always drag out a little bit more — to the point where sometimes bits of furniture went flying across the studio and things like that out of frustration,” Following these statements, Birch said, “I’d drive [Dickinson] crazy. I think he ended up throwing chairs around the studio and screaming and yelling and went home with a blinding headache threatening me he was never ever going to sing again. But I think now when he listens to it he realises, ‘Yeah, he was right.’”
Dickinson adds “I enjoy making records with Martin. They’re not always comfortable, but they’re always bloody good,” He stated. “I had the same feeling on The Number of the Beast as when we did the Deep Purple album Machine Head. It was the same kind of atmosphere — the same kind of feeling that was going on. Something really good is happening here and it’s exciting to do and I think that excitement comes through on the album.”
Check out the isolated vocals on ‘Run To The Hills’ bloody good!