Almost 40 years!
Actually I went back and read the ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ because of Iron Maiden, didn’t pay much attention to that chapter during middle-school years. Nor would I have bothered about Aldous Huxley’s works or the Greek mythology of Icarus, or paid attention to Winston Churchill’s famous WWII speech. The list is endless. Folklore, history, culture, mythology – Iron Maiden discography was probably better than all the high school textbooks, combined. So, if not for this band, some of us metal-heads might be even less civilized. Guess its music at its entertaining-enlightening best.
The band also fits the ‘gateway drug’ definition, accessible and yet heavy. Extended exposure simply leads to obsession with heavier sounds. Steve Harris bassline along with that dual guitar harmony, quite an enticing blend of grind and melody – innocent minds hooked forever.
Listening to “Strange World” or “Running Free” is actually like time travel, to simpler days, when we weren’t buried beneath ten thousand metal sub-genres. I am not advocating romanticism for good ol days. But, sometimes it’s just healthy to head-bang to “Wrathchild”, instead of three dozen time signatures per sec inhumanity.
My first Iron Maiden concert was probably the most brutal one too, took a lot of bruises to reach the second row. Not to mention, the dizziness due to tropical summer and alcohol induced dehydration. But, even during the encore, the energy was off the charts. Not every day you get to hear a thirty five thousand strong coordinated chant — “Hallowed Be Thy Name” — “Hallowed Be Thy Name”…. Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson both just stood there, stunned at this spectacle. You can tell this was unique; these heavy metal veterans were completely overwhelmed by the response. At least for me, in spite of the countless concerts over the years, this remains one of those vivid heavy metal moments.