The Number Of The Beast

March 12th is a somewhat bittersweet day in the annals of the Iron Maiden family. 

Back on this day 1956 Stephen Percy Harris was born. If things had been different Steve Harris may well have been a professional footballer for his beloved West Ham United. The rock and roll lifestyle was more alluring and he taught himself the bass guitar and joined Gypsy’s Kiss less than a year later. 

On Christmas Day 1975 the initial seeds for the unstoppable juggernaut of Iron Maiden were sown, and as they say, the rest is history. Forty plus years further on down the line he is still the main driving force behind the band. 

Four years ago though in 2013 Clive Burr passed away in his sleep due to complications from multiple sclerosis aged 56. He was the band’s fourth drummer, replacing Doug Sampson and featured on the band’s first three albums. 

He is considered to be a very smooth and ultimately influential drummer amongst the metal fraternity, but Burr eventually embraced the darker side of the rock and roll life style and many poor performances were allegedly put during the North American leg of the Beast on the Road tour in 1982. During the same tour his father passed away and he flew back to England to support his family. 

At the end of the tour he was unceremoniously dumped from the band and his stand in during his fortnight away, Nicko McBrain, has been there ever since. 

What seemed to be an acrimonious split was healed when his illness was diagnosed in the mid 90’s, and the band played several shows to support spiralling medical bills. I had chance to attend one of the shows at the Hammersmith Odeon in 2005, but for whatever reason I couldn’t make it and it’s a slight regret all this time later. 

Taken from the bands ground breaking album of the same name, The Number of the Beast gave them their debut number one album and the lead off single from the album – Run to the Hills – was the first single to crack the top ten singles chart in 1982.  

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