It was hard work. When Blaze Bayley succeeded Bruce Dickinson as Iron Maiden singer in 1994, he was replacing the irreplaceable.
It wasn’t just that Dickinson was the best metal singer of his generation. It was what Maiden had created with Bruce, a series of legendary albums, from The Number Of The Beast to Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, that made them one of the biggest and biggest metal bands of all time. “Joining Maiden was pretty daunting,” says Bayley. “But it was also an incredible opportunity for me.”
Bayley made two albums with the band, “The X Factor” in 1995 and “Virtual XI” in 1998, before Dickinson’s return in 1999. And while those two albums never equaled the classics Maiden recorded with Bruce, the band always remained faithful to them. As guitarist Janick Gers told Classic Rock: “We did fantastic things with Blaze.”
For his part, he singer he says simply: “I was a fan of Iron Maiden before I joined the band, so I felt like he had this weird perspective. I was someone who knew why fans loved Iron Maiden. I loved the music, I understood it and I am very proud of the great songs we made together.
And on rock radio, we’re celebrating Blaze Bayley’s 60th birthday by picking her top 10 songs on Iron Maiden.
The best song of the Blaze era is a true Maiden classic. An epic piece by Steve Harris in the style of previous historical songs like Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. In writing The Clansman, Harris was inspired by the 1995 box office hit Braveheart, starring and directed by Mel Gibson: a historical drama set in the 13th century, in which Gibson played warrior William Wallace, leader of the First Revolutionary War. Scotland against the English. . It’s a power song in the classic Maiden tradition, with an appropriately galloping riff and a beautiful melody that was, in an unlikely first for Maiden, sampled on the 2004 hit I Tried by American R&B star Brandy. Bayley says that in Maiden he found “another area of my voice.” The Clansman is testimony to that. So powerful was this song, and Sign Of The Cross, that they both remained in Maiden’s live set after Bayley ushered in Dickinson’s return.
The opening salvo of “Virtual XI” is a song that Blaze Bayley still sings to this day at her solo concerts. It’s three minutes, exactly, of the classic Maiden ride.
How are you, friends
This was, for Blaze Bayley, the most significant song he ever recorded with Iron Maiden. A power ballad, albeit Maiden-esque, “Como Estais Amigos” was written in memory of the British and Argentine soldiers who lost their lives in the Falklands War. The title of the song translates to “How are you, friends?” Bayley’s lyrics were poetic: “We should dance a dance in the sunshine/We should drink a wine of peace.” And he sang those words beautifully.
There’s a haunting melody to this long-forgotten song from “The X Factor,” and in its dark night of the soul lyrics, words that would come back to haunt the man who sang them: “Trying hard to see/What is there to me/Here I am again/Alone”.
In the first Maiden anthology, “Best Of The Beast”, released in 1996, there was this new track. There was a raw edge, a sense of menace, to the way the band played it. And the lyrics, “Mind rape is a social disorder,” were delivered by Bayley with searing conviction.
Sign of the Cross
It was a big song and a big statement, the monolithic 11-minute track that kicked off “The X Factor” and set the tone for a dark and intense album. Blaze Bayley describes “Sign Of The Cross” as “a huge defining song”, and for this version of the band it was. Written solely by Steve Harris, it was based on the 1986 film The Name of the Rose, set in medieval times, in which a friar, played by Sean Connery, investigates a series of grisly murders in a monastery. The sinister atmosphere of the film is evoked in the song’s heavy drama, from the Zeppelin-esque riffs to a great chorus that Bayley nails with real seriousness.
Man On The Edge
Steve Harris’ belief in Blaze Bayley was never more powerfully illustrated than when “Man On The Edge” was released as the first single from “The X Factor,” the new Iron Maiden’s signature song. Harris had written many of the band’s biggest songs, but this one was co-written by Bayley and Janick Gers. “I wrote all the lyrics and the melody,” says the singer. “And the fact that one of my ideas was chosen to be the first single from the new album meant a lot to me.” Bayley’s lyrics were inspired by the 1993 Michael Douglas film Falling Down, the title of which was repeated in the chorus. And while Gers’ music had the cut and oomph of vintage Maiden, there was, in the way Bayley sang it, an echo of her old band Wolfsbane.
#Blaze #Bayley #Iron #Maiden #Songs #Futuro