Iron Maiden - "For The Fans"

Formed in 1975 by main songwriter/lyricist Steve Harris, Iron Maiden are one of the most commercially successful and influential heavy metal bands of all time, and as fiercely British an institution as a tea with 2 sugars.

Their early days were spent building up their fan base through blistering live shows whilst touring the UK in a battered green van endearingly nicknamed the "Green Goddess", their initially Punk-paced take on earlier bands like Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash set them apart from their peers and won them a rabid early following, as well as early plays of their "Roundhouse" demo tape at a local rock club night hosted by legendary British rock DJ Neal Kay.

They made such a fuss that they caught the attention of manager Rod Smallwood (to this day still Maiden's manager), who took them under his wing, seeing the world-beating potential they possessed, the rest (as they say), is history.

Releasing Their Self-Titled debut album in 1980, "Iron Maiden" instantly made an impression on the British and indeed global Rock and Metal scenes, changing the landscape of heavy music with its merciless, punk-charged twin guitar assault on songs such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Charlotte the Harlot", even appearing on Top of The Pops for the first time with single "Women in Uniform".

Nobody sounded like them and their album artwork had an immediate impact on the impressionable rock and metal loving youth thanks to the undead Eddie the 'Ead, quite frankly the coolest band mascot of all time, and an entity becoming as synonymous with Iron Maiden as their stage shows and incredible musical output.

Finding further success in 1981 with the "Killers" album (their final album with original singer Paul DI'Anno and their first with new guitarist Adrian Smith replacing Dennis Stratton), Maiden took to bigger stages and larger crowds; however, it wasn’t until the end of 1981, with the introduction of Ex-Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson, that Iron Maiden really hit their stride.

With Bruce's more operatic vocal range allowing for their sound to grow exponentially, clearly evidenced by their quite frankly astounding 1982 album "The Number of The Beast", the title track of which has the single most impressive, throat-shredding scream in metal history! "The Number of the Beast" was Iron Maidens global breakthrough album proper, established them as the top dogs of the Heavy Metal scene and gave them their first UK number 1 album as well as being the first of 6 albums they released in the 80's to obtain U.S Platinum status! (The other albums are '83's Piece of Mind (their 1st with drummer Nicko McBrain), '84's Powerslave, 85's Live after death, 86's Somewhere in Time and 88's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son).

Into the '90's Iron Maiden ushered in the decade with the awesome "No Prayer for the Dying" in 1990, this also being the first album to feature Janick Gers (who had played with White Spirit, Gillan and also played on Bruce Dickinson's underrated solo effort "Tattooed Millionaire") after Adrian Smith's departure and scored yet another UK Number One album.

They followed that album up in 1992 with "Fear of the Dark", showing that despite the imminent arrival of Grunge in the U.S and the "Madchester" and "Rave" scenes in the U.K, Iron Maiden were not going to compromise their sound one decibel and still succeed as only they can by flying in the face of shifting musical trends....'Av Ittttttt.

Unfortunately, however, this album would be the last to feature Bruce's impeccable vocals until the new millennium, as he departed from the band in 1993.

Maiden followed up "Fear of the Dark" with 1995's " X Factor" and 1998's "Virtual XI" albums, their only two with Blayze Bailey, formerly of the band Wolfsbane, and while not possessing the now inimitably "Maiden" vocals of Bruce Dickinson, Blayze proved himself very capable with songs like "Sign of the Cross", "Judgement of Heaven", "Fortunes of War", "Lightning Strikes Twice" and "The Clansman".

The new Millennium saw Brucey and Adrian Smith return to the fold for 2000's Brave New World, a return to the more classic Maiden sound and an incredible album from start to finish, with maiden showcasing the bulk of the album throughout its respective tour, with a standout show at 2001's Rock in Rio (they released a live album and DVD from this show, also called "Rock in Rio"), showing that Brucey had not lost any of his non-stop, theatrical stagecraft and signature vocal delivery, with Dave, Adrian and Janick showing just how well they complement each other as a guitar triple threat.

They have released subsequent albums "Dance of Death" (2003), "A Matter of Life and Death" (2006), "The Final Frontier" (2010) and their latest the "Book of Souls" (2015), all providing enduring major success for the Irons and, with the respective tours for these aforementioned albums, proving they really are the best at what they do ...Shredding faces.

Unlike a lot of their peers, Iron Maiden's popularity has remained unwavered through the past 37 years since their Debut album changed Heavy Metal music forever, this is testament to the relationship they have built and maintained with all of us Maiden fans, they retain every last bit of artistic integrity and this same integrity is reflected in everything from the quality of their Merchandise, their gobsmackingly flawless Musical output, Stage Productions and most of all their commitment to treating all of us fans as equals. There is literally no other band that is as genuine about this, and especially not at such a big level, as Iron Maiden are, and that is a big reason why we still continue to support them now as we always have and will.

They may have gone from touring the U.K in their "Green Goddess" tour van to now crossing the globe in their very own Boeing 727 "ED-FORCE ONE" Tour plane (the coolest looking commercial aircraft in history, end of discussion.) but the core values of what makes Maiden Maiden are the same as their formation in 1975, "it’s all about the fans and the music". While many nowadays would see a band with their own plane as self-indulgent and crass (a ‘la Guns 'n' Roses in the '90's), Iron Maiden have used their considerable resources to use their plane as a way of reaching out to fans in parts of the globe they have no other way of being able to play and as a result in some cases no rock band has EVER played, as opposed to it being an unnecessary luxury (I recommend you watch Flight 666 to see this for yourself). Steve, Bruce, Dave, Adrian, Janick and Nicko (and of course Eddie and Rod...) know how to do things properly!!!

If anything, the band commandeering their own plane for touring and reaching out to far flung countries further cements their "For the Fans" ethos, as they have now taken the Maiden experience to pretty much every corner of the globe, such dedication to their fans is unheard of nowadays and we fans can only thank them by showing our loyalty to all things Iron Maiden... …which isn’t a hard thing to do when your favourite band share the same outlook on what’s important as You and your Friends do. !!!!UP THE IRONS!!!!

For more details on what we're up to at the British Music Experience on Saturday 20th May and to enter a competition to win tickets to see Iron Maiden at the Echo Arena, click this link. Remember to keep an eye out on social media for the latest updates.