Before people say it, this latest book by Neil Daniels’ is not a re-worked version of his Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History Of The Beast (Voyageur Press 2012) book with a new cover.
This is a completely new piece of work which takes a closer look at those all-important first years in any bands development, mainly 1975-1983 to be exact. Neil chose this period because it is vital to the band’s development, with many line-up changes and false starts before Steve Harris found his winning team.
Formed in East London by bassist and main songwriter Steve Harris in 1975, Iron Maiden is one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever. It didn’t start that way though. Killers – The Origins of Iron Maiden traces their humble roots and the personnel changes that plagued them as the band strived to find the winning formula. Covered here are the legendary Soundhouse Tapes, the two acclaimed Paul Di’Anno fronted albums – the self-titled 1980 debut and 1981’s Killers – and the commercial breakthrough that came with 1982’s The Number Of The Beast, which marked Bruce Dickinson’s debut, and its highly acclaimed followed up Piece Of Mind. This unique book is the first to focus on Iron Maiden’s important formative years. It includes a foreword by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal and an afterword from ex-Judas Priest frontman Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens.
The foreword by Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal is an amusing tale of a young lad growing up, spending all his spare time and cash at a record shop, who’s owners went on to form Megaforce records. He explains the first time he saw the Killers album cover, what it meant to him, and how he begged his parents to return to the record store to buy the debut Maiden album as it was a matter of life and death.
This unique book is the first to focus on Iron Maiden’s important formative years, from their formation in 1975 by bassist Steve Harris, through the turbulent Paul Di’Anno years and the arrival of Bruce Dickinson, up to 1983’s Piece of Mind album when they became the world’s biggest band.
As well as painstaking secondary research, Neil interviewed many people connected with the band including former members Dennis Stratton and Tony Moore, plus fan club chief Keith Wilfort.
This is a very in depth account of the early years, and I was staggered by the amount of sheer effort and research Neil has done on this book. There are many interviews, and by Neil’s own admission, these have been pulled from other publications, however as many of them have not seen the light of day for eon’s, this can and should be overlooked, as I for one cannot even remember reading most of them the first time around, and I am pretty sure I must have done. So if you thought you knew everything there was to know about Iron Maiden, then think again, as Daniels manages to turn up nugget after nugget of trivia and fact.
This is a very rewarding read and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to any rock music fan, in fact buy it now and pack it away in your suitcase for your summer holiday read.
The back of the book contains the most up to date gig guide ever produced for these years by Ryan LaMar while historian Barry Considine has helped make this work as accurate as possible and has provided the images.
Neil Daniels is the author of over a dozen books on rock and metal and has contributed too many music magazines, fanzines and websites.
Visit neildanielsbooks.com for further infomation