The history of Iron Maiden

While at the end of the 1970’s the hard rock began to run out of steam, Iron Maiden, the « leader » of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal is about to revive the movement by bringing in it speed, energy and melody.

How did the Iron Maiden were born ? How did they found they road to success ? What was the impact of the band on the Heavy metal scene ? 

Well, you're about to get an answer to all of these questions now !

Here we go !

How did the figure head of the NWOBHM was born ?

Formed in 1976 by the bassist Steve Harris, the band began to play in the clubs of England and to make itself known within the metal scene.

After a few line-up changes, the band released it’s first album « Iron Maiden » with Steve Harris at the bass, Clive Burr at the drums, Paul Di’Anno as the lead singer and Dennis Stratton with Dave Murray at the guitar.

Fun fact about the band name : the Iron Maiden is known for being a torture device. A casket with spikes inside of it, which could be closed slowly, impaling the living person inside. 

The single « Running Free » stands out and was very appreciated among the fanbase of the young british heavy metal band.

For their second album « Killers » Iron Maiden benefited from much better recording condition.

Before the recording session, a change has been made in the line-up of the band : Dennis Stratton has been replaced by Adrian Smith.

The Bruce Dickinson era and the release of the "Number of the Beast"

But it is after the release of their third album « The Number of the beast » and the arrival of Bruce Dickinson ( who was previously the lead singer of the band Samson) that Iron Maiden reached the next level in terms of popularity and success.

« The Number of the Beast » became a true commercial success.

Titles like, « Hallowed be Thy name » and « Run to the Hills » and the eponymous title « The number of the beast » are true hits.

During that period,  the mascott of the band « Eddie » began to be really popular among the fan.

« Eddie The head » is probably the most famous mascott in the heavy metal history ! Eddie The Head had became a « member of Iron Maiden » since it’s first appearence.


From "Piece of Mind" to "Fear of the Dark"

Their next and fourth album « Piece of Mind » released in 1983 will confirm their position and their new status within the British heavy metal scene. « Peace of Mind » reached the third position of the top sales in the UK.

The band undergoes few changes in their line-up since Clive Burr (who was the drummer of the band) was replaced by the one and only Nicko Mc Brain.

The British metal band goes on tour to defend and perform « Piece of Mind » on stage, in front of their fan base.

After the « Piece of Mind » tour, the band started to work on their fifth album which has been named « Powerslave ».

This album is known for singles such as « Aces High » or « Two minutes to midnight » and has been followed by a tremendous world tour immortalized by the legendary live « Live After Death ».

After this exhaustive tour, the band has been struck between two fires.

On one side they succeed to conquered the world and became an indisputable reference of the heavy metal scene.

On the other side the critics more and more numerous reproached to  Iron Maiden  releasing the same formula since their first album.

 Iron Maiden’s response to their detractors took shape with their next two albums which are way more melodious by using for the first time a synth.

iron maiden history albums cover

« Somewhere in Time » was released in 1986.

Then in 1988 « Seventh Son of a Seventh Son » this concept album earned the group their second number one’s rank album on the other side of the English channel.

As usual, Iron Maiden has toured intensively to promote « Somewhere in time » and « Seventh Son of a seventh son », which allowed  them to take a true rest. Rumors about their separation multiplied, especially since Dinckinson took a solo gateway.


Steve Harris’s appetite and desire of conquest swept those rumors away quickly.

The leader of  Iron Maiden announced an album that  served as a comeback to the roots. Following this announcement Adrian Smith left the band. Smith has been replace by Janick Gers quicky.

The album « No prayer for the dying came out in 1990 and the single « Bring your daughter to the Slaughter » reached to the place of N°1 single.

Soon after Bruce Dickinson began to get bored and wished to focus more on his solo career. He was at the recording of « Fear of the Dark » and ensured the tour that  followed before retiring.


The two live albums « A real Dead One » and « A real live one »  came out simultaneously.

The Blaze Bailey era

« A Real live one » was centered on the new single of the band while « A Real Dead one » focused on the band’s classics.

The fact is that Dickinson was really appreciated by the fan base and he became the signature voice of the band. Replacing him was not an easy task.

After many auditions it is finally Blaze Bailey, the lead vocalist of the band Wolfsbane that l joined Iron Maiden.

He recorded two albums with the most famous british heavy metal band. The first is «  X-Factor », released in 1995 and the second one, Virtual XI came out in 1998.

iron maiden steve harris clive burr

This period was slack for Iron Maiden but in 1999 they announced  news that will make all their fans joyful.

The comeback of Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson !

Bruce Dickinson’s comeback at the vocals and Adrian Smith at the guitar ! The band was composed  of three guitarists !

The bet was successfull, the fans were there and  stadiums are full  of happy Maiden fans coming to see their favorite band performing.

Many compilations and other lives were released by the records companies to capitalize the huge interest around the band.

It is under the form of a sextet that the band  released their new studio albums. They  all received good reviews by the press.

iron maiden band history

The three album I am talking  are : « Brave New World «  released in 2000 , « Dance of Death » released in 2003 and « A matter of life and Death » in 2006.

In 2008,  year of the reissue of the DVD of « Live After Death », the band began a new world tour named « Somewhere Back in Time World Tour ».

This tour resumes essentially the decor of the famous  1984 « World Slavery tour » and this setlist is largly inspired by it.

Another particularity is the plane named « Ed Force One » by the band. The pilot of this plane is nobody else than Bruce Dickinson. The first part of the tour was the subject of a documentary named « Flight 666 ».

« Ed Force One » made it’s first landing in South America, before going to New Zealand and Australia.

ed force one iron maiden

The last part of the tour ended in April 2009. In total « Somewhere Back in Time World tour » attracted two millions spectators for 90 performances.

In February 2009, Iron Maiden won the Brit Awards for the year 2008 best stage performing scene.

In August 2010, the band released « The Final Frontier ». The album reached the first position in France. « Final Frontier » is in the same stock than « A matter of Life and Death ».

steve harris iron maiden british heavy metal band

On the cover, Eddie has a different apparence. In 2012 Iron Maiden released another live Album, « En Vivol » (recorded in Chili capital city Santiago during the Final Frontier World Tour).

During the summer of the same year with the same principle of « Somewhere Back in Time World Tour », Iron Maiden went on again on tour. The visual  of the tour was inspired from the « Seventh Tour of a Seventh tour ».

The tour was named « Maiden England World Tour » in reference of the 1988 concert they have made in Birmingham.

In early 2015, « Iron Maiden » was ready to announce the release of their new album. The same year Bruce Dickinson was fighting against a cancer of  tongue and was on medical treatment.

iron maiden history bruce dickinson

Fortunately, Dickinson was treated on time. He’s doing much well and  can ensure the shows.

During the summer of 2015, « Iron Maiden » announced the release of their new album « Books of Souls » which has been released in September. It’s an epic 96 minutes album !

That's it for today ! Did you enjoy it ? It that's the case you should take a look 🧐 on this amazing 80's Iron Maiden t-shirt