Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paul Di’Anno celebrates Iron Maiden’s 30th

Came across some news recently that original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno has scheduled a series of shows in Japan later this year.

Now, Di’Anno out on the road pretty much all year, but these shows mark the 30th Anniversary of the debut Maiden album.

30 years? Wow.

I can still remember the first time I saw Maiden back in 1980: the band was featured on an episode of The New Music as part of a spotlight on U.K. heavy metal. Amongst stories of British metal and air guitar playing in clubs, Maiden’s “Women in Uniform” video stood out like a bolt of lightning.

I raced out to the record store in search of the album; after skimming the song list on “Iron Maiden,” I couldn’t find the “Women” track but figured it was a safe bet to buy since the single sounded so amazing.

Turned out to be one of the safest bets ever.

Iron Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden (album)

Running Running Free - Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden – Running Free
Top Of The Pops - 1980

Iron Maiden’s debut is full of high-energy hard rock/metal with a punk vibe, great playing and great tunes. There was a change in the British metal scene in the late 70s/early 80s, and bands like Maiden, Def Leppard, Venom, Saxon and others picked things up where the Purples and Zeppelins left off.

The scene was dominated with bands that played faster and maybe even heavier than their predecessors, laying the groundwork for speed metal and thrash metal. Punk had been around a few years, and some of that energy was channeled through the hard rock scene. In Maiden’s case, some of that punk feel came from the playing, and some of it was from Di’Anno himself.

Iron Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
The Marquee Club, London - 1980

Paul’s vocals added the right vibe to the original Maiden sound. It’s probably unfair to compare Di’Anno and his follow-up, Bruce Dickenson, because they’re two completely different type of singers: Dickenson’s high wail versus Di’Anno’s rough, street-wise approach.

For the Japanese shows in November, Di’Anno will be playing the entire Maiden debut plus songs from his second album with the band, “Killers.”

Oh, and as for “Women In Uniform”…it took me several years to find the song, and I picked up an import of the 12” single. Found out many years later that it was a cover of a Skyhooks song. Even managed to get Maiden leader Steve Harris to sign it for me when I interviewed him in 1987 for my college radio metal show.

WomenPaul Di’Anno - Women in Uniform - The Early Iron Maiden Songbook

Iron Maiden – Women in Uniform (1980)