Spin #75 : Killers : Iron Maiden
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #75
Welcome to our 75th Sunday drop from the R'nR with Rylo collection! I am sitting here drinking a cup of Earl Tea in the hotel room and prepping this week's spin before heading home towards the end of the week. The Panthers have just beaten the Sea Eagles in the footy (well done Night Kat Kiz) and getting ready for bed before another big day of work. My office is sometimes my desk at home and sometimes it is Australia....yep, kind of big. I'm getting used to the travel mostly and will get less and less in the future but it is tough to be away. One thing we have been doing is reading the kids bedtime story via camera and bringing some different books in my bag each trip. Anyway, let's get straight into it. Last week was metalcore and this week is Heavy Metal !!!!!! from British monolithic legends, Iron Maiden. 'Killers' was the very first Maiden album I purchased and will have a special place in my collection because of those early memories listening to it. You could have all of their albums in frames on your wall and spend hours looking at them because of the artwork details by Riggs. Eddie the Head is brandishing an axe and ready to rough innocent people up, Clockwork Orange style.
I don't have all of their albums on wax but is something that I am working towards in the future. One that I feel you must have in your collection is this week's Spin and it doesn't even feature their main vocalist of now, Bruce Dickinson. I think this week I will play this one in the front room as it gives our children a chance to play and have fun. Our daughter (Q) has clearly put on her big girl bossy boots and has evolved into that two-nager toddler. I love her but she is like wildfire at the moment, long curly hair, piercing eyes and that cheeky grin of "Dad, I know that I shouldn't be doing this but....". If you aren't familiar with the front room here at R'nR with Rylo, it consists of a Marshall Woburn II speaker and Audio Technica turntable.
ALBUMS OF NOTE (1981): Moving Pictures - Rush, Faith - The Cure, Controversy - Prince, Nightclubbing - Grace Jones, Mob Rules - Black Sabbath, Bella Donna - Stevie Nicks, Business as Usual - Men at Work, For Those About to Rock - AC/DC, Face Value - Phil Collins, Diary of a Madman - Ozzy Osbourne, Shot of Love - Bob Dylan, Escape - Journey, Street Songs - Rick James, Fire of Unknown Origin - Blue Oyster Cult, Too Fast for Love - Motley Crue, Self-Titled - Duran Duran
Image: Paul Di'Anno (Vocals), Clive Burr (Drums), Steve Harris (Bass), Dave Murray (Guitar) and Adrian Smith (Guitar)
Do you have 'Killers' in your collection? If Yes, place it on your turntable now. If not and shops are open - put this blog down and go buy it now! It's time to #dropthestylus on this '80s classic!
On Friday night, I made it back just after bedtime for our children unfortunately, but was pleasantly surprised when a little voice said, "Hello" from the opening front door of our home. I looked over from my parked car (named Ghost) and saw our two little kids smiling and cheering like I had just wont the Premiership trophy or something. It's always a lovely moment coming home and have that adrenaline of being home after travelling for work. After hugging and kissing my wife and kids, it was about giving them some "Dad" time before winding down for the night. I struggled sleeping to be honest because I was out of routine and thought about getting some things done in the early hours of the morning, but thought against it. Where has all of that nice weather gone? It is absolutely cold and overcast today and the rain has been threatening to fall all day. Only good thing about this kind of weather is that there is nothing better to do outside, so we get to spin more records.
Out of all the Iron Maiden albums, dropping the stylus on this one and hearing the sounds of this opening instrumental has always stayed with me. I was showing my mum on the portable player with built in speaker at the bottom of their old staircase in the house my sister and I grew up in. Watching the stylus working its way across the LP and those first sounds with my mum will never leave me. Do you know what the Ideas of March are? Well it refers to the 15th of March in the Roman calendar because that was when the bills/debts were due. It was also something Julius Caesar was warned about and to beware 'THE IDES OF MARCH' by a soothsayer who predicted his assassination. In this instance it is only an instrumental (phew) that builds the mood and launches straight into the massively popular track, 'WRATHCHILD'. I know that this one will be a favourite for a lot of you Maiden fans and rightly so. I've heard the live version on 'Live After Death' with Bruce Dickinson and also when they sang it live in concert. According to the Bible, we are all children of wrath because we are all sinners.....but in this case Di'Anno is singing about a child who is searching for his unknown father with violent intentions. Steve Harris is the bassist and responsible for the direction of the band, which you can tell because the songs are tailored nicely for his basslines. If you can close your eyes and isolate his playing, you will understand what I am saying.
'MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE' is a short story by Edgar Allen Poe and acts as a fun song, obviously about macabre acts. The building introduction to the song lulls you in before it explodes to life with a chugging chorus that makes you headbang. I like it because its a fast paced track and catchy. I had a copy of the book and will have to read it one day but not sure if I lost it in the move a couple of years ago. I know it was with all the orange penguin books but had a green cover. Meant to be a good read and honestly would have not thought about it if we didn't choose 'Killers' as our Sunday Spin. Something that Iron Maiden have always been strong at doing in their ability to tell a story and create strong imagery as you listen along. If you ask any Iron Maiden fan, they will tell you that the album ' Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' is their favourite and the best song across their catalogue is, "Hallowed Be They Name" on album ' The Number of the Beast'. That is why I love music so much as it gives the listener the opportunity to choose what resonates with them. Yes its nice to get some influence and direction on what is popular, but not just to stick with the crowd. Give us a shout out on our socials if your not afraid to say you like early Iron Maiden and think Paul Di'Anno as the vocalist absolutely slays.
How good is the sound of Burr's rolling drums and wailing guitars of Smith and Murray? Just give next song, 'ANOTHER LIFE' a listen then. Harris' bass is so unique and masterful, that it has become something fans around the world have recorded to memory. Bands like Metallica, Sabbath, Megadeth (to name a few) always have those signature sounds and Iron Maiden are no different even in their early days. It's raw and uncompromising and I really don't feel that there is a bad song on this album. Instrumental number two on Side A is 'GENGHIS KHAN'. Lots of these sounds you are hearing became staples throughout their career and can even be heard on their latest album 'Senjutsu' - one that I haven't added to the R'nR collection just yet, but is on that never ending list for when we win lotto. You get hypnotized by the back and forth between all the musicians and doesn't make me think of Genghis Khan, but does sound incredible and layered. The last song on Side A is 'INNOCENT EXILE'. The Bassline is nasty (good). Vocals are some of my favourite and not sure if this is my pick of the tracks..... let's just say, this track has swagger. At the halfway point it changes pace and puts everything into the pressure cooker before your feet begin to tap so hard, you'll swear that you've put holes through the ground. Big solo riffing outro before Di'Anno finishes off with, "You know I'm running" to superbly close out the opening side of 'Killers'.
Our children have decided to draw and colour in quietly as I flip the LP over and drop the stylus on Side B.
The title track kicks it all off and reminds me of some early Judas Priest with Rob Halford screaming. 'KILLERS' is one of those songs on the album that was co-written by Harris and Di'Anno. I feel it's a shame that Di'Anno was kicked out of the band but he should have curbed his drug and alcohol consumption, which lead to sub-par live performances and issues amongst the members. Your mind creates the imagery of the song as you follow along with the lyrics but unfortunately they didn't include the lyrics on my release and not sure if they have added it on newer pressings. The musicianship is just so tight and on point throughout this song and it makes for an awesome title for an album.
For some reason 'PRODIGAL SON' felt more like a Dream Theater track (not bad, again) just more progressive sounding rather than heavy metal. Shows off a different vocal range for Di'Anno which also works with the style Iron Maiden are playing. A longer song on the album at over 6 minutes but nothing compared to the length of songs they tend to put out now on their newer albums. At the halfway point there is a slight change, "Devil's got a hold of my soul, its driving me mad". Kirk Hammett from Metallica would approve of this guitar solo and reminds me so much of his style. The pace returns instantly on 'PURGATORY' and the makes the previous song feel like the slower ballad style that gives the band a break. Similar to when Queen would sing a song called 'Love of My Life' with Brian May holding an acoustic guitar and Freddie's vocals. I would have loved to have seen this tour in 81 and the band playing this album all the way through. I'll have to check with my dad again but pretty sure he liked the singing style of Di'Anno a bit better than their later studio albums and I can see why that is the case. I mean my favourite song is 'Phantom of the Opera' and I've heard both Bruce and Paul sing it. Hell, I've even heard the cover from Ghost and you should check that one out if you haven't heard it yet. Di'Anno singing, "Oh another time, another place. Oh well another smile on another face" flows so nicely on this track and one that I could find myself lifting the stylus and re-playing.
The last track on the album and such a cool name for a song is 'DRIFTER'. Probably because it makes me think a lot of Clint Eastwood in the movie, High Plains Drifter. High energy song to end this one and "I gotta keep on roaming, gotta sing my song". Sometimes I feel that I want to be useful and progress but not lose any part of myself. There are people in our lives that are enriching and I will always have time for them. As I get older, I feel that you become better equipped to see who enriches your life and who takes from it. Always learning and driven but content in a sense too, but respect just how far we've already come. Had a number of issues this week pop up but managed to be productive and work on those issues in order to achieve. Like I keep saying to my wife, I look at the challenges as a form of long game - Test Match cricket style (which is my favourite) and a lot of people want results instantly, don't care how, until there is a problem and then they blame you - quick like Big Bash. "Cause I'm a drifter, Drifting on, yeah". Sadly would be the last vocals heard by Di'Anno before being fired by the band.
Thanks for everyone getting involved this week in our MWSP and I saw that there were a few correct guesses for this one. A big happy birthday to my mum during this upcoming week and hope that she enjoyed the family lunch out with everyone today. I hope that you enjoyed headbanging along with our 75th Sunday Drop - 'Killers' by Iron Maiden and make sure you add it to your want list if you don't already own it. Make sure to take some much deserved rest and relaxation with a nice bath or book to read in the sunshine in the coming week to recharge those batteries.
“I sit on my watch, so I can be on time” – Bob Dylan
Until our next Spin, be Kind to NWOBHM bands and be Kind to your Wax!
MARTIN "HEADMASTER" BIRCH
SPEED PLAYED AT
33 1/3 RPM
IRON MAIDEN (1980)
NUMBER OF THE BEAST (1982)
INNOCENT EXILE OR MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE
RATING OUT OF 5
ONLY A 4, FOR LIMITED LYRICS OR POSTERS INCLUDED
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP
"Murders in the Rue Morgue, Someone call the Gendarmes. Murders in the Rue Morgue, Am I ever gonna be free?" ~ Murders in the Rue Morgue - Side A
LP / SIDE
THE IDES OF MARCH
MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE
Di'Anno and Harris live on stage during the early '81