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1980 // Iron Maiden // The Head

Reeling out of the British punk scene, a desperate group of metalhead musicians take interest in a young science-fiction artist’s unique sketch. Incorporating the strange creature into their stage performances and album covers, the group begins to foster one of the most recognizable characters in music history.

Episode written by J. Thorn, edited by Eve Paludan.

Recorded at 88.7 FM WJCU studios.

Audio mixed and engineered by Adam Phillips.

Produced by J. Thorn and Adam Phillips.

All research was conducted at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, with a special thanks to Jennie Thomas, Director of Archives, William Jackson, Archives Assistant, Sule Holder, Library Assistant, and Laura Maidens, Librarian.

Music Credits:

Dismal Hand – The Whole Other

1973- Bruno E

Punk in Donuts- Hanu Dixit

St. Francis- Josh Lippi and the Overtimers

Fresno Alley- Josh Lippi and the Overtimers

Burning Time – Threefold Law

Ether Oar- the Whole Other

The Machine Assembly- the Whole Other

“Ambience, London Street, A.wav” by InspectorJ ( of

Laugh track.  Tim.kahn of

For a complete list of sources cited, see the show notes for this episode.


Daniels, Neil. Killers: The Origins of Iron Maiden. Soundcheck Books, 2014.

Stenning, Paul. Iron Maiden: 30 Years of the Beast: The Unauthorised Biography. Chrome Dreams, 2006.

Brown, Jake. Iron Maiden in the Studio: The Stories Behind Every Album. John Blake, 2011.

Artwood, Dave, et al. Iron Maiden: British Metal. Abstract Sounds Books, 2010.

Daniels, Neil. Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast. MBI, 2012.


9 thoughts on “1980 // Iron Maiden // The Head”

  1. I love that you’re not just focusing on the tragedies. There is so much rock history that could be written about – in fact, I would love another episode dealing with something from the 50’s. Modern rock really grew from that time period and there are quite a few stories that could be told.
    Anway, I’ve never been much of an Iron Maiden fan, but I knew Eddie. Saw that character everywhere. The question of whether the band would have been successful without Eddie – hm, I would argue they wouldn’t. I had only heard a few of their songs, but I knew they were the ones with Eddie. I couldn’t name an album, but I could identify a picture with Eddie. And they seemed to embrace being associated with Eddie, but should have been more generous with their praise of the artist.

  2. Love the focus on Eddie. Even though I was a big fan back in the 80’s, I never really knew anything about the origin of the image. An interesting story! It’s an interesting question, too, about whether Iron Maiden would have made as big of an impact without the cool image they could put on album covers and merch. I think they may have slid into obscurity. Their music was just not mainstream enough to make it that big without something extra. They may have been able to gain a following and make a living, but I don’t know about the huge success.

    I saw them during the Powerslave tour! During the slow part of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, they had all this dry ice on stage and then Eddie came out as a mummy. He danced around when the music started back up again. To a fifteen-year-old, it was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen. 🙂 Even after all these years and seeing hundreds of artist live, that Powerslave show was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

      1. Definitely magical. Definitely their peak. I just remembered that their Live after Death album was partly recorded on their Long Beach stop. Bruce Dickinson is always yelling, “scream for me, Long Beach!” I was at that show!

  3. One of the greatest bands of the 80s. Saw them in Buffalo NY and it was the best concert ever for me. Today, from time to time, I still ponder that concert and how explosive it all was. In fact, when I was at the concert in Buffalo NY (87), a kid in the front row threw an M-80 on stage, not too far from Dickerson. I was like holy freaking crap! Immediately, Bruce stopped the concert and said no more throwing stuff like that on stage or he was done. Good times!

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