"Happy 56th Birthday"
Regardless of whom your personal favourite member of the Maiden crew might be, Steve Harris was not only the founding member of Iron Maiden, but Steve Harris is Mr. Iron Maiden. As much as it may hurt Bruce (Dickinson, vocalist) for us to say that, as a matter of straightforward truth, that is it.
Not getting into the history of it all too much but it was Steve’s dream and vision to get the Maiden ball and the heavy metal ball in general, rolling and re-rolling respectively. In the midst of the punk era seventies, dominated by the likes of The Clash, The Sex Pistols and thousands of other hopeful wannabe’s or wanna-dies in some cases!) times were tough to make a break.
Black Sabbath had broken the ice in 1970 with their classic debut of the same name. Instantly becoming ‘the inventors of heavy metal’, the Sab’s built upon the distorted,heavy blues created from the likes of Led Zeppelin, and took it to a new, darker level. AC/DC and Motorhead would further support the cause (‘Heads aggressiveness actually going down a storm amongst the punks!)
Though despite his love for these heavy metal bands, particularly and obviously Black Sabbath, Harris’ musical influences revolved more around the likes of progressive and hard rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Free and Golden Earring to name a couple.
Most tellingly, Steve also had fond admiration for twin guitar bands such as Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash. This is from where Maiden’s duel axe philosophy got it’s idea, enabling a more powerful, attacking sound, the combination of lead and rhythm and guitar harmonies.
Although Maiden’s first line up was in place as early as 1975, the band wouldn’t get a record deal until 1979, (from which they released The Soundhouse tapes EP). Iron Maiden, the self-titled debut album, wouldn’t be released until 1980. Events over those years would prove difficult, as line up changes took a ridiculous toll on the band.
It was Steve’s ability and determination to carry on that paid off, and these are the principles that Maiden have always stood by and that have helped to make them such a revered and respected bunch of musicians. As we know, the rest is history. But the point is, without Steve’s Harris’s dream, his will to succeed and his never say die attitude, Iron Maiden would have never have had the chance to become one of the World’s most sought after heavy metal bands. -Maidenfans.com