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Iron Maiden Formation

Today, December 25, 1975, "Iron Maiden" was founded by Steve Harris, who was inspired by the 1939 film "The Man in the Iron Mask," which is an adaptation of a novel by Alexandre Dumas. Harris saw in the film a torture device called "Iron Maiden" and decided to use the name for his new lineup.


It all started in 1971 when Steve Harris purchased his first bass guitar, which was an imitation of Fender Precision. Harris taught himself how to play it and just ten months after later he had already joined a band called "Influence". The band later changed its name to "Gypsy's Kiss".

In February 1974, Harris joined the band "Smiler", where he first met drummer Doug Sampson and singer Dennis Wilcock. Initially, the band played simple, basic Rock that directly clashed with Steve Harris' ambitions to write more complex songs. When Harris started writing material for the band, its members were not open to his "progressive" direction, which was influenced by bands like "Jethro Tull", "Wishbone Ash" and more. They rejected them due to the fact that they were too complex for their taste. That was enough for Harris to decide to form his own new band, where he would have freedom of creation and control over the musical direction.

What Harris did not know when he gave the name "Iron Maiden" to the band, was that there was another British band of the same name, which had been active since the late 1960s and even released an album in 1969, called "Maiden Voyage". Old Maiden included bassist Barry Skeels who would later become the tour manager of bands like "Black Sabbath", "Saxon", "Manowar" and more. Old Maiden's style was progressive blues-rock with touches of hard rock. Steve Harris remembers getting an angry phone call from the old band, who objected his use of their bame for his band, but Harris simply informed them that he would continue to use the name.

The first incarnation of "Iron Maiden" included Steve Harris who was then only 19, Dave Sullivan and Terry Rance on guitar, Ron Matthews on drums and Paul Day on vocals.

This band underwent many lineup changes in the first years of its existence. Shortly after the band's formation Dennis Wilcock - Harris' friend from "Gypsy's Kiss" - will replace Paul Day as singer, since he did not have a good stage presence.


In 1976 Dave Murray would have a successful audition as the band's third guitarist, but the two guitarists Dave Sullivan and Terry Rance objected his joining to the band and gave Harris an ultimatum that would force him to prefer Dave Murray over them. But Dave Murray's days in the band were few, since he was kicked out of the band following an argument with singer Dennis Wilcock, until his return after Wilcock left the band.

Three years after the formation of the first band, on December 31, 1978, Iron Maiden will release their first recording known as "The Soundhouse Tapes". At this point the band included Steve Harris on bass, Dave Murray and Paul Cairns on guitar, Doug Sampson as drummer and Paul Di'Anno as singer.

It can be summed up and said that today in 1975 "Iron Maiden" gave the music world the best Christmas present ever ...

(Photo: Iron Maiden discography Photos 2020)

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