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Iron Maiden '80-'81 (Book Review)
Released: 2015, Independent
In anticipation of the new Iron Maiden album, THE BOOK OF SOULS due out (as of time of writing) in September of 2015 I’ve decided to go back and look at some of the video history of Iron Maiden and do a few reviews. Please feel free to read all the reviews in this feature.
I’m not quite sure with the fascination is with the earliest days of Iron Maiden. Don’t get me wrong, I love the band and so forth but I had to wonder how high demand is for yet another Iron Maiden book. Neil Daniels just published his book documenting the early years of Iron Maiden just one year ago (which I reviewed on this site). So it seems like there could be some duplication or redundancy. However, this could just be a case of concurrent development. It is unlikely that Greg Prato (based in the US) knew that Daniels (based in the UK) was writing a book on the same topic. Despite similar themes, timeframes and the same band, Prato’s book is indeed significantly different.
IRON MAIDEN ’80-’81 is a standard paperback, self-published and runs about 210 pages. There are a couple dozen black & white photos and not too much else in terms of bonus features. Prato follows his preferred format of an oral history, namely lots and lots of interviews with people about the band and the Paul Di’anno era. Visually the book is quite plain, but nice enough.
While this book is not formally endorsed it does feel legitimate to me due to the participation, interviews with two ex-members of Iron Maiden and two former people who worked with the band during the 1980-1981 period. First hand accounts are always good. On top of that Prato interviewed a few dozen people of various ages and occupations from Canada, the US and England about the band in the early days. There are cool comments from many of Maiden’s contemporaries, members of Saxon, Girlschool, Diamond Head, Praying Mantis and the Tygers Of Pan Tang, all of whom interacted with Iron Maiden in the early days. I’m curious why people like Richard Christy or Herman Li get interviewed but it does provides a good pan-generational look at the bands enduring legacy. There seems to be some rough consensus amongst those interviewed that the debut is slightly better than the follow-up, in terms of songs, but the follow up sounded better in terms of production. Prato asks some intriguing questions such as, What If Di’anno had stayed with the band? Another neat feature is a track-by-track look at each album as told by Di’anno.
Pair this up with Di’anno’s shockingly substandard autobiography and you will get a far more accurate picture of the beginnings of arguably the world’s biggest and best Heavy Metal band. This is a great addition to the library of any Iron Maiden fan.
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