So this is my hard cover coffee table book in which I have two or three Maiden
experts per studio album go off about all things Maiden, Paul vs. Bruce vs.
Blaze, a coupla guitars vs. three, the adventures of Eddie, Martin Birch vs.
Kevin Shirley, Bruce’s songs vs. Steve’s… a full love-in (and sometimes not)
with every last Maiden studio album.
Gorgeous book, same very cool 10” x 7” dimension as my recent Zeppelin book
(as well as the Clash, AC/DC and Floyd), gorgeous hard cover, tons of rare
pictures throughout, of the band, of memorabilia. Nice leather look spot
varnish on the cover. Long intro reviews of each album by me, followed by the
extensive Q&A breakdowns.
Our panel of experts tearing apart and putting back together all the Maiden
albums consists of… Blaze Bayley, Rich Davenport, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth,
Marty Friedman, Matt Heafy, Tim Henderson, Chris Jericho, Jimmy Kay, Sean
Kelly, Mike Portnoy, Franc Potvin, Kirsten Rosenberg, Brian Slagel, Nita
Strauss and Ahmet Zappa.
As my Introduction in the book says…
Can’t say I was Eddie-on-the-spot with The Soundhouse Tapes, and for that I
blame the fact that I was from a small town in British Columbia, an ocean and
a very large continent away from Iron Maiden’s hunting grounds, the hunt being
any other New Wave of British Heavy Metal band that would dare stumble into
their path on the way to renaissance rock dominance.
But there I was at Quintessence Records in Vancouver, paying $14.99 for my
import copy of Iron Maiden on May 28, 1980, snatching up on that same trip
(what I was doing on an eight-hour car drive away from home during the grade
eleven school year is beyond me) a copy is Saxon’s Wheels of Steel for $16.00.
Getting home to Trail, I’m sure I was struck with how the Saxon had at least a
leg-warmer-clad toe in the ‘70s, while this band that I knew was already
soaking up all the oxygen in the scene was all about the new decade, Steve’s
long struggle through the second half of the ‘70s notwithstanding (for how
were we even to know about such things back then?).
And thus began a dizzying bout of Iron Maiden mania. Killers was purchased
through my work at the local record store, Kelly’s, no price recorded, on May
30, 1981, followed by the Maiden Japan EP, $3.99 on December 12, 1981. The
Number of the Beast was snagged at A&A Records in Vancouver, on a trip my dad
made to visit me during first-year university, where I had been lonely and
stressed, having—long story—put three-fifth of my eggs in one basket for an
experimental arts program called Arts One, where the prof decided to give
almost everybody some variation of C minuses. In any event, me an’ pops went
to, I believe it was three Vancouver Canucks playoff games, which were rare
indeed in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Back to Maiden, that one was purchased brand-new
for $4.97 on April 7, 1982. Flash forward to May 26, 1983, Piece of Mind ran
me $7.99 at Sam the Record Man in Victoria. Powerslave? $6.99, September 20,
1984 at A+B Sound in Victoria, and then Live After Death for $9.99 on November
27, 1985, at Cheapies in Hamilton, Ontario, now that I found myself submerged
in the MBA program at McMaster. Anyway, thanks for indulging me the use of my
green Duo-Tang record purchase record that I’d lost for fifteen years and only
I’ll hit you with one other date. The first time I ever saw Iron Maiden live
was with Saxon and Fastway supporting in Spokane, Washington, July 24, 1983,
and again, the lapse I’ll blame on coming from the boonies, the bush, nowhere,
or at least nowhere near the rock ‘n’ roll tour circuit. But what a show, and
to this day, as it was then, in my personal ranking Piece of Mind, Power & The
Glory and Fastway are titanic equals of each other, and, strangely enough, in
my opinion the three best records of the catalogue by each of them bands.
In any event, grind forward a few weeks and then some and here we are, in a
position to celebrate together this legendary band that is still vital and
vitally writing, making the same kind of music they brought us in the heady
days of the NWOBHM, at which time they quickly leapt ahead, through
determination, through talent, through personality, through a pile of
creativity, through Rod Smallwood through Derek Riggs and Eddie.
For those who are unfamiliar with the structure of this book, Iron Maiden
Album by Album is the follow-up to similar tomes I’ve written on Rush, AC/DC
and Pink Floyd, the concept of each of those as well as this one being the
assembly of a panel of deep fans and experts from all walks of life, and a
subsequent jaw session over each of the band’s studio albums. What resulted
for these folks in many cases (because they’ve told me so), myself for sure,
and hopefully for you the reader, is a rekindling of the love affair you might
have had for this band at one point but has since dimmed amongst the sensory
overload that is modern digital life.
Like I say, that’s certainly been the case for your intrepid moderator,
because I gotta tell ya, through the long journey through the Maiden catalogue
with these folks, many of them friends and all of them at least acquaintances
through the years (save for the two gals I’d not known before, Nita Strauss
and Kirsten Rosenberg, along with Ahmet Zappa—all a delight), I’ve come out
the other end affirming something I’d suspected for many years. And this is
it: even though there’s no way that for an old man like me that anything the
band makes will be able to usurp or knock down the deep sentimental love I
have for the first five Iron Maiden records, absolutely nipping at their heels
and hugely enjoyable near start to finish are the last four albums, with The
Final Frontier being my favorite, followed closely by The Book of Souls.
Alas, Brave New World I like about as much as I did during the excitement we
all had as we interviewed the guys and wrote about the reunion in our mag
Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles eighteen years ago. But land sakes, Dance of
Death and A Matter of Life and Death... I used to sneer at the similarities in
those titles, but now the word “death” in an Iron Maiden record title is
synonymous with top-shelf quality—with these two albums, it’s almost code for
the elixir of youth.
And dammit, I love when that happens. I love when a heritage act I grew up
with can keep me enthusiastically engaged with their new music. In this light,
I put Maiden in the same camp as Motörhead, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Kiss,
and as the next generation goes, Metallica, Megadeth and Overkill. Saxon and
Accept ain’t doing too bloody badly either.
Anyway, thanks for allowing me these wayward introductory musings. I hope you
enjoy reading the thoughts of my esteemed and knowledgeable panel as much as I
did gathering them up. It was an absolute joy getting told and re-sold boldly
seemingly one minute to the next by these people, on the many deep virtues all
over the vast Maiden catalogue, especially, as I say, across the astonishing
run of super-long and involved records since Bruce bounced back. With that
happy thought lingering, I now ease myself into the comparatively passive
moderator’s seat, and present to you, Iron Maiden Album by Album.
Prices including shipping:
PayPal happily accepted! Ask me if you'd like a PayPal
invoice (please indicate what country you are in), or just do yer usual
and direct funds to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much
anything—long story, ask me!). Given new mailing system, works best for US
Or mail payment (personal check in US funds, cash, or INTERNATIONAL money
P.O. Box 65208, 358 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Email me at email@example.com with any further questions, and see
www.martinpopoff.com for descriptions, cover art and ordering info for my other
available 30 or so books.