Saturday, December 26, 2015

Shock and Ore

Readers following me through Blogger might well know by now that I've been conducting some sneaky back-fill this past week and before the year ends, more in the interest of putting completed posts in their allotted place than bumping up the numbers. No, really. Yes, there may be more to come. Sorry.

Anyway,  strike me pink with black and white striped heavy metal pants if by sheer coincidence I actually made some kind of deadline. Just as I was putting my review of Iron Maiden's The Book of Souls to bed, I read on the internet that the same day, Christmas day 2015 (Boxing Day here in NZ of course) marks the fortieth anniversary of the band's original forming by Steve Harris in Leyton. Blimey.
Hair of the Dark! The band in 1976 (Steve Harris far right)
Early Maiden is an almost unrecognisable thing to the casual fan, and I'm not claiming to be anything beyond that, myself. No Bruce Dickinson, of course - nor even a Paul DiAnno. Also, no Clive Burr or Dave Murray or even Des Stretton. Just 'arry and a line-up that was borne, replaced and eventually formed itself into the 1978 version that brought the band to a wider audience than Stratford's Cart and Horses, their first residency. Eddie, presumably, was still a fever dream in Derek Riggs' head, of whihc more, surely, in a later post.But there's the name, the imagery, and the beginning of the whole story, and I find it rather fitting that an ensemble which took its name from a line uttered in The Man in the Iron Mask would be the one that stuck: a fictional torture device invented by antiquarians evoking fear and dread - a bogey. It remains one of the most recognised, influential and yes, iconic band names in rock history.

Documentation of those very very early years is still a work in progress, as this year saw the release of Origins of Iron, a compilation of tracks featuring former IM members, plus there's a unoffical book out there, somewhere. There always is. We have, apparently, this era to thank for 'Wrathchild', 'Transylvania' and 'Prowler' - small acorns, indeed.

Happy anniversary, Harry!

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