Although it's a much known name in the music world, "Iron Maiden" isn't an original invention of bassist Steve Harris, at least on the grounds of its name. I don't want this to imply that Steve Harris copied the name of this band formed in 1968, but it is something that is definitely curious… you can be certain of that!!
The band's lineup
The first Iron Maiden in the history of music suffered several lineup changes until they were satisfied with the quartet formed by Barry Skeels (bass and vocals), Steve Drewett (vocals and harmonica), Trev Thoms (guitar) and Steve Chapman (drums), which was the most known lineup since it was the quartet above who composed the first and only full length studio album of these English natives from Essex.
The sound of this band doesn't have any relationship with the current Iron Maiden; the first "iron maidens" were able to produce a sound innovative and completely addictive with major highlight for the galloping bass of Barry Skeels and dynamic riffs of Trev Thoms. The group played a mix of styles ranging from blues rock to progressive rock to psychedelic rock, that was considered at the time as pioneering and innovative for the formation of the style that later would be known as doom metal. For that to happen, Maiden Voyage was released in 1969 in a series of singles and compilations; the album was recorded in its entirety between 1968 and 1970, but not released until 1998. It was an album with excellent technical diversity and was almost one hour long. The British group had a very strong and straightforward sound, and composed tracks with considerable duration in time length; "Falling", "Liar", "Ritual" and "Plague" are great examples of this.
Artwork of Maiden Voyage
Maiden Voyage track list:
02. Ned Kelly
05. CC Ryder
07. Ballad Of Martha Kent
08. God Of Darkness
Unfortunately Maiden Voyage was poorly produced, like many bands at the time, and therefore the album was very badly worked. Nonetheless, the incredible bass of Skeels and the strong and heavy guitar riffs of Thom are still audible; tracks to pay attention to would be "Falling", "Liar", "Ritual", "Plague" and "God Of Darkness". In spite of the album's bad production, or not-so-good production, I would give it an 8.5 or 9 out of 10 for its degree of innovation, technicality and overall performance. Its release in 1969 was only possible after the contract signing with Gemini Records. In that contract it was stipulated that if the album was successful, the band would have a professional relationship with Gemini Records for three years. The band had a short tour and opened a few concerts for bands such as The Who and Amen Corner, after a little change in the band's lineup. For some mysterious reason, still unknown, in 1972 the band disbanded.
There's no formal relationship between the first Iron Maiden and the current one. The only thing that is known is that in 1976 Steve Harris received a phone call from another English person with different accent, threatening to sue them for using the same band name. The threat was never substantiated and became forgotten in the treasures of memory. In fact, Iron Maiden led by Steve Harris are in fact the third band to use the name "Iron Maiden". Between 1970 and 1976 existed a second Iron Maiden, but nothing was released that is worthy of admiration.
Again, the sound created by this band was very innovative for the time, and was pioneering for darker styles such as doom metal. The complicated riffs and galloping bass behind the band's lead vocals made this group worthy of attention and appreciation. It's a mandatory band for anyone who likes blues rock, progressive rock, or psychedelic rock and heavy metal.
Hope this article can help the readers to extend their taste to some of the good rarities the music world has to offer.
The third track appeals to the Budgie fan in me. They're the closest band I can think of that sounds like this, but as you say they sound innovative for the time. This was a very interesting read and listen, thanks!
The case of this Iron Maiden always reminds me of the case of the Original Death (punk band consisting of only black guys)
I believe when I was a teenager there was a death metal band called Incubus. In the mid 90's Incubus exploded on the scene again! Oh wait, an alternative, grunge band with same name.
there were two death metal Incubus' around, one that only released an e.p. in 1989 and one that released two full-lengths one in 1988 and one in 1990 Both great bands btw and vastly superior to the alternative Incubus, who btw didn't play grunge at all but were a pop band sounding a bit like Linkin Park.
Yes, this band is/was awesome. The funny thing is that some of their melodies can actually reminds you of the 'real' Iron Maiden. I'm in a mood for this kind of music and thanks to youtube gems like this one won't be forgotten.