Bruce Dickinson recently spoke to Heavy Consequence to celebrate the 40th anniversary of IRON MAIDEN’s The Number of the Beast where he was asked if he ever realized the massive impact the record would have on heavy metal at the time of its release.
“No, we had no idea how big it was going to be or how big the influence was,” Dickinson responded. “I think the last album — well, for me anyway — the last album that really was a big influence on me before [The] Number of the Beast was when I was a kid Rainbow Rising [RAINBOW’s 1976 album Rising].
“When you got to hear Ronnie [James Dio] in full throat and [Ritchie] Blackmore playing his pants off and ‘Stargazer’ and you’re going, ‘oh my god, nobody’s done this in metal before! Wow, this is just incredible! Here’s somewhere to go.’
Dickinson continued: “And then Ronnie joins [BLACK] SABBATH and, of course, [1980’s] Heaven and Hell is another classic. I think The Number of the Beast album offered a kind of a bridge between the two worlds.
“Of course, we were very young, and we played very fast and very aggressive, and we were like (makes screaming noise), which those other slightly older classic bands didn’t have because it wasn’t who they were. But MAIDEN was a different animal — we were sort of fierce and snarling and snapping at everybody and it was great.”