Iron_MaidenIron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. Pioneers of the new wave of British heavy metal, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity.

Despite little radio or television support, Iron Maiden are considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history. For the past 35 years, the band have been supported by their famous mascot, “Eddie”, who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live shows.

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Current Members

Steve Harris, bass guitar (1975-present)

Dave Murray, guitar (1976-present)

Adrian Smith, guitar (1980-90, 99-present)

Bruce Dickinson, vocals (1981-1993, 1999-present)

Nicko McBrain, drums (1982-present)

Janick Gers, guitar (1990-present)


lineup1976-1Formed on Christmas Day in 1975, the first incarnation of Iron Maiden consisted of (l-r):

  • Dave Sullivan
  • Paul Day
  • Ron Matthews
  • Terry Rance
  • Steve Harris

Dave Sullivan (guitar, 1975-76)

According to Sullivan himself, he “wasn’t too bothered” with the prospect of Dave Murray joining the group, as he understood that “the lead sound was a bit lacking.” However, along with Rance, Sullivan was not invited to rejoin Iron Maiden when they temporarily disbanded in 1976.

Paul Day (lead vocals, 1975-76)

Paul Day was the first lead singer for Iron Maiden but was sacked because he did not have enough stage charisma. He was replaced by Dennis Wilcock.

He later formed a band called More that played at the Donington Monsters of Rock Festival in 1981 [Listen to Blood & Thunder on Spotify]. He was lead singer of Wildfire in 1983 to 1984 and recorded a Live at the Marquee Club 1986 [Listen on Spotify] as lead singer of Sweet. He has lived in Australia since 1986 and is currently the lead vocalist of progressive metal band Buffalo Crows.

Ron Matthews (drums, 1975-76)

The band’s original drummer, Matthews claimed he was expelled from the band by their second vocalist, Dennis Wilcock.

Terry Rance (guitar, 1975-76)

As one of the band’s original guitarists, Rance disagreed on Dave Murray’s entrance in the band, taking it as a slight on his own ability. To allow Murray to join, Steve Harris temporarily disbanded Iron Maiden in December 1976 and reformed the group soon afterwards without Rance or Dave Sullivan, the band’s other original guitarist.


76-771Left to right:

  • Dave Murray
  • Dennis Wilcock
  • Steve Harris
  • Bob Sawyer
  • Ron Matthews

Dennis Wilcock (lead vocals, 1976-77)

Dennis_WilcockWilcock replaced original vocalist Paul Day and was the first to introduce special effects to the band’s stage show, including fake blood capsules (placed in his mouth as he’d run a sword across his lips) and face paint. Wilcock convinced Harris to sack most of the band, including Murray following a row they had after a show in 1977. It was also claimed that Wilcock disliked Murray’s girlfriend. Eventually, Wilcock decided he’d had enough with the group and left to form his own band, “V1”.

Bob Sawyer (guitar, 1976)

Bob Sawyer (who would later go by the name of “Rob Angelo”) would always try to upstage Murray, resulting in a confrontation with Harris (and expulsion from the group) after pretending to play guitar with his teeth when the audience could see that it was a trick.


771Left to right:

  • Tony Moore
  • Barry “Thunderstick” Purkis
  • Terry Wapram
  • Steve Harris
  • Dennis Wilcock

Terry Wapram (guitar, 1977)

After Murray’s dismissal from the group by Dennis Wilcock, Wapram was brought in as his replacement. Having only played in Iron Maiden as the sole guitarist, Wapram was sacked after expressing that he was not content with Dave Murray’s reinstatement following Wilcock’s departure.

Tony Moore (keyboards, 1977)

Tony Moore (born October 11, 1958) is an English singer-songwriter, musician, radio presenter and music promoter. He first became famous in 1986 as keyboard player with the band Cutting Crew, and in 1997 he founded The Kashmir Klub to showcase live music in London.

Barry “Thunderstick” Purkis (drums & percussion, 1977)

Barry Purkis, more commonly known as Thunderstick (born December 7, 1954), is an English drummer who wore various masks and used to perform on-stage closed in a cage. He was in the popular cult-band Samson, with whom his name is most associated.

In 1979 he developed his persona modelled on horror icons such as The Rocky Horror Show, Dr. Phibes and the old Hammer horror films, alternatively wearing black and white make-up, an old man/schoolteacher mask, a black cotton mask and his trademarked rhinestone covered mirrorball mask.. With Samson he enjoyed a certain degree of success, especially when their album Head On (1980), which featured Bruce Dickinson (then known as Bruce Bruce) on vocals and reached UK #34 [Listen on Spotify].

November, 1977-December, 1979

iron-maiden-1979During this time, the post of second guitarist was held by three men. This picture is from 1979 (l-r):

  • Doug Sampson
  • Paul Di’Anno
  • Tony Parsons
  • Dave Murray
  • Steve Harris

Recorded during this time (with an uncredited Paul Cairns in place of Tony Parsons) was The Soundhouse Tapes demo.

Doug Sampson (drums & percussion, 1977-79)

Sampson first met Harris when they were both members of a band called Smiler in 1975. When Harris formed Iron Maiden in December, Sampson was invited to join but refused, deciding to leave music altogether, although he resumed drumming a short while later. In November 1977, Sampson attended the band’s only show with Thunderstick and, after a conversation with Harris that evening, he agreed to join the group. Sampson remained with the band until they signed with EMI in 1979, after which he was dismissed on December 22, 1979 as he could not cope with band’s touring schedule.

He recorded the Soundhouse Tapes demo (1979) and on the two tracks recorded for the first Metal for Muthas (1980) compilation.

Paul Cairns (guitar, 1979)

Paul_CairnsPaul Cairns (also known as “Mad Mac”) briefly joined Iron Maiden from winter 1978. According to Sampson, Cairns did not fit in the band properly and left after three months. Cairns himself states that the band dismissed him as they did not like his stage performance following a visit to hospital. Although uncredited, Cairns appears on The Soundhouse Tapes demo (1979).

Paul_ToddPaul Todd (guitar, 1979)

Paul Todd joined the band but never performed with them live as, according to Harris, “his girlfriend wouldn’t let him”. Todd was only in the band for a week in June 1979

Tony Parsons (guitar, 1979)

Tony Parsons joined in September 1979 and stayed in the band for just over two months as he was reportedly unable to match Murray’s ability, but did perform with the band on the BBC’s Friday Rock Show (later included on the BBC Archives album). Parsons left just a few weeks before the band signed their contract with EMI in December 1979.

Paul Di’Anno (lead vocals, 1978-81)

Following the departure of Dennis Wilcock, the band spent the summer and autumn of 1978 rehearsing while searching for a new vocalist. It was when the group were attending a heavy rock night at the Red Lion pub in Leytonstone that a friend of Harris’ told them of Paul Di’Anno and his ability as a singer. A few weeks later, he auditioned for the band in November 1978 and was immediately hired. After participating on Iron Maiden’s first two studio albums, Di’Anno was fired from the group for his increasing unreliability brought on by his drug and alcohol usage.

In his post-Maiden career, Di’Anno has issued numerous albums over the years, as both a solo artist and as a member of such bands as Gogmagog (with the then Maiden drummer Clive Burr and future Maiden guitarist Janick Gers), Di’Anno’s Battlezone, Praying Mantis, and Killers.

December, 1979-October, 1980

Iron_Maiden-1980Left to right:

  • Clive Burr
  • Dave Murray
  • Steve Harris
  • Paul Di’Anno
  • Dennis Stratton

Recorded during this time were the two tracks included on the Metal For Muthas 1980 compilation album (without Dennis Stratton) and the debut album Iron Maiden.

Dennis Stratton (guitar & backing vocals, 1979-80)

After Iron Maiden failed to hire Adrian Smith when they signed their deal with EMI in 1979, Dennis Stratton was asked to audition for the band as Harris was aware of his abilities from seeing him perform regularly with a band named RDB. It was during the recording of their debut studio album that Harris began noticing that Stratton’s musical interests clashed with the rest of the band, culminating in an attempt to add extra vocal harmonies on the song “Phantom of the Opera”, which Harris had removed. He was eventually dismissed from Iron Maiden following a supporting tour with Kiss, during which Stratton spent little time with the rest of the group, often choosing to travel with the road crew instead.

Clive Burr (drums & percussion, 1980-82)

Clive Burr replaced previous drummer Doug Sampson on December 26, 1979 at the suggestion of Dennis Stratton. Burr was eventually fired from the band following their North American tour in 1982, during which his performance was affected by his offstage activities, culminating in one such incident when, according to Harris, Burr “spent most of the gig throwing up into a bucket at the side of his kit.”

October, 1980-September, 1981

iron-maiden-1980Left to right:

  • Dave Murray
  • Clive Burr
  • Paul Di’Anno
  • Steve Harris
  • Adrian Smith

Recorded during this time was the second album, Killers, and the live EP, Maiden Japan.

September, 1981-December, 1982

iron-maiden-1982Left to right:

  • Steve Harris
  • Clive Burr
  • Bruce Dickinson
  • Dave Murray
  • Adrian Smith

Recorded during this time was the third album, Number of the Beast.

December, 1982-January, 1990

Iron-Maiden-1983The legendary classic line-up (l-r)

  • Dave Murray
  • Steve Harris
  • Bruce Dickinson
  • Nicko McBrain
  • Adrian Smith

Recorded during this period were four studio albums, from Piece of Mind (1983) up to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988), and the live album Live After Death (1985).

January, 1990-September, 1993

Left to right:Iron-Maiden-1992

  • Dave Murray
  • Steve Harris
  • Bruce Dickinson
  • Nicko McBrain
  • Janick Gers

Recorded during this time were two studio albums, No Prayer for the Dying (1990) and Fear of the Dark (1992), and the live albums,  A Real Live OneA Real Dead One, and Live at Donington August 22nd 1992 (all 1993).

December, 1993-January, 1999

Iron_Maiden-1994-99Left to right:

  • Janick Gers
  • Steve Harris
  • Blaze Bayley
  • Dave Murray
  • Nicko McBrain

Blaze Bayley (lead vocals, 1994-98)

After hearing him perform with his previous band, Wolfsbane, who supported Iron Maiden on their 1990 UK tour, Harris convinced Blaze Bayley to audition for the band in 1994. During his two world tours with Iron Maiden, Bayley suffered from vocal issues, which Janick Gers has since stated was partly the band’s fault for forcing him to sing out of his natural vocal register, and was dismissed from the band in January 1999. Although the group were, at that point, negotiating Bruce Dickinson’s return to Iron Maiden, Harris maintains that Bayley would still have been asked to leave the band if Dickinson had not rejoined.

Recorded during this period were the studio albums, The X Factor (1995) and Virtual XI (1998).

20th Century Releases

Di’Anno, Harris, Murray, Cairns (uncredited), Sampson

Di’Anno, Harris, Murray, Sampson

Di’Anno, Harris, Murray, Stratton, Burr

February 8, 1980: “Running Free”; UK #34

April 14, 1980Iron Maiden; UK #4, Platinum

May 23, 1980: “Sanctuary”; UK #29

October 27, 1980: “Women in Uniform”; UK #35

Di’Anno, Harris, Murray, Smith, Burr

February 2, 1980Killers; UK #12, Gold

March 2, 1981: “Twilight Zone”; UK #31

May, 1981: Live at the Rainbow (live video)

June 15, 1981: “Purgatory”; UK #52

September 14, 1981: “Maiden Japan”; UK #43

Dickinson, Harris, Murray, Smith, Burr

February 12, 1982: “Run to the Hills”; UK #7

March 22, 1982The Number of the Beast; UK #1 (2 weeks), Platinum

April 26, 1982: “The Number of the Beast”; UK #18

Dickinson, Harris, Murray, Smith, McBrain

April 11, 1983: “Flight of Icarus”; UK #11

May 16, 1983Piece of Mind; UK #3, Platinum

June 20, 1983: “The Trooper”; UK #12

August 6, 1984: “2 Minutes to Midnight”; UK #20

September 3, 1984Powerslave; UK #2, Gold

October 22, 1984: “Aces High”; UK #20

April, 1985: Behind the Iron Curtain (live video)

September 13, 1985: Running Free (Live)”; UK #19

October 14, 1985Live After Death; UK #2, Gold

October 23, 1985: Live After Death (live video)

December 2, 1985: “Run to the Hills (Live)”; UK #26

September 6, 1986: “Wasted Years”; UK #18

September 29, 1986Somewhere in Time; UK #3, Gold

November 22, 1986: “Stranger in a Strange Land”; UK #22

March 20, 1988: “Can I Play With Madness”; UK #3

April 11, 1988Seventh Son of a Seventh Son; UK #1 (1 week), Gold

August 1, 1988: “The Evil That Men Do”; UK #5

November 7, 1988: “The Clairvoyant (Live)”; UK #6

November 6, 1989: “Infinite Dreams (Live)”; UK #6

November 8, 1989: Maiden England (live video)

1994Maiden England (CD/Video)

September 10, 1990: “Holy Smoke”; UK #3

October 1, 1990No Prayer for the Dying; UK #2, Gold

1990: “Tailgunner” (promo video)

December 24, 1990: “Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter”; UK #1 (2 weeks)

April 13, 1992: “Be Quick or Be Dead”; UK #2

May 11, 1992Fear of the Dark; UK #1 (1 week), Gold

June 29, 1992: “From Here to Eternity”; UK #21

September 1, 1992: “Wasting Love”

March 1, 1993: “Fear of the Dark (Live)”; UK #8

March 22, 1993A Real Live One; UK #3

October 4, 1993: “Hallowed Be Thy Name (Live)”; UK #9

October 18, 1993A Real Dead One; UK #12

November 8, 1993Live at Donington August 22nd 1992; UK #23

November 10, 1993: Donington Live 1992

May, 1994: Raising Hell (live video)

1996: “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” (promo video)