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| The Iron Maiden Commentary | Videos | The Number Of The Beast - Chapter 1 | Transcription |
The Number Of The Beast – Video

The Number Of The Beast

4th December 2001


Chapter Selection:
  1. The Number Of The Beast
  2. 22 Acacia Avenue
  3. The Prisoner
  4. Run To The Hills
  5. Children Of The Damned
  6. Hallowed Be Thy Name
Bonus Material:
  1. Adrian Smith & Dave Murray Twin Guitars
  2. Beast Stories
  3. Reading Festival 1982
  4. Nicknames
  5. Rod Smallwood
  6. Adrian Smith Plays "Children Of The Damned"
  7. Adrian Smith Plays "The Number Of The Beast"
  8. A Message From Clive Burr
  9. "Hallowed Be Thy Name" Rio 2001


Chapter 1:
"The Number Of The Beast"

Woe to you, oh Earth and Sea,
for the Devil sends the beast with wrath,
because he knows the time is short...
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast
for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and sixty six.


Bruce Dickinson: When astrologists talk about a planetary line-up... this conjunction only happens once in a blue moon... what you have in the Number of the Beast is a sort of musical equivalent.


Steve Harris: We thought it was a good album, you know, a strong album, but that's about it. You don't think... you don't walk out of the studio thinking "well, we've just made History". You don't think like that.







Adrian Smith: The time was right, in 1982 things were just perfect.


Steve Harris: This wasn't really a concept, it was just an actual song that I wrote with that title and we decided to call it that.
Clive Burr: We were ripe, we were ready for Number Of The Beast.


Dave Murray: It was different, it was unique from many things that were a around. It just created that spark.
Martin birch: I wanted a certain atmosphere to be set up on those four lines.


I left alone, my mind was blank
I needed time to think, to get the memories from my mind
What did I see? Can I believe
That what I saw that night was real and not just fantasy


Bruce Dickinson: We spent about 4 hours on the first 4 lines. To the extent I got so pissed off I was throwing chairs across the room. In the end I was like, "what do you want??? Aaaargh!" And when he got the one that he wanted, he was like, "yeah, that it!" And I just sort of went, "Why? Why? I don't understand!" And now I understand a little bit better.


Bruce Dickinson: I think that came at the end of 4 hours going, "I left alone, my mind was blank…" and he said, "Oh, by the way, can you get the scream?" "Oh, willingly!"


Night was black, was no use holding back
'Cause I just had to see was someone watching me
In the mist dark figures move and twist
Was this all for real or just some kind of hell?

Six six six – the Number of the Beast
Hell and fire was spawned to be released


Steve Harris: I've had a lot of nightmares over the years and that was one of them. And it was just at the twist of the… supposed to be, you know… which hasn't actually happened in the dream, but you're not supposed to be sure what's real and what's not real, and the poem of Tam O'Shanter, which I did at school, that had stuck in my mind over the years as well, and it was a bit like that. 'Cause he's been chased through the forest or whatever, and stuff like that.


Steve Harris: The video itself we did as well was quite fun to do. It was black-and-white old stuff, and the director had the idea that the dancers spinning 'round would have 666 on their back, which was a really good idea. It was I think a really good video.


Eddie enters, bringing in tea
Steve Harris: Oh Edward, old chap, I don't drink tea I'm afraid. Bugger off!


Ross Halfin: The thing with Iron Maiden that really made them stand out at the time was the fact that they were genuinely from the East End. And they really didn't give a shit about anyone but themselves. And they really believed in what they believed. If anybody would say anything to them, they would stand up. I mean, they were not scared of anyone.


Masa Itoh: The fist time I saw Iron Maiden was at the Summer of 1979 at a club called the Music Machine. The moment I saw them perform I just knew this is a band to change history.


Mick Wall: In retrospect, people tend to think of Iron Maiden of those days as a Punk Metal band. Mainly because Paul Di'Anno didn't have the kind of stereotypical Heavy metal frontman image. He was much more kind of a barrow-boy with short hair, "awrigh' geezer?"


Malcolm Dome: Maiden started a tour around the country and they found that they were building a following of young kids who wanted to do something different, and Maiden were giving it to them with that edge that Punk certainly had.


Fan: If I had a pound for every time I've seen Iron Maiden, then I'd be a rich man by now.
Other Fan: You can go to a Punk gig and they all got spiky hair and their Punk gear, or disco freaks with their silly little shoes on. People see us and they know straight away that we're heavy rockers.


Rod Smallwood: I had just seen the first time and there was obviously something very special about them. The relationship with the audience was very different to anything else. And the scene at that time was very scene-sense, it was very direct eye-contact with the audience. And very much a feeling of "we're all here together, let's just go for it", you know.


Malcolm Dome: The scene grew out of grass roots, it wasn't fuelled by hype. The bands had to help each other if they were to get anywhere. So little package tours started. In London you had Iron Maiden, Angelwitch and Samson who were the 3 bands at the time who certainly went out to tour together.


Bruce Dickinson: I was in a band called Samson which was one of this curiously named, so-called movement called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal – or the NWOBHM, if you want – which was actually a name given to a whole bunch of young and relatively unknown Metal bands who had been championed by a magazine called Sounds.



Mick Wall: It was a purely journalistic device, a headline to catch the eye and have people go "what the hell is that?" That's a kind of contradiction in terms – "you can't say that" – get a bit of a debate going and sell a few more issues.


Dave Murray: When this term came along, it was not only tagged to us as well, I mean Def Leppard even got that, and Saxon, Motorhead, Angelwitch, I mean, loads of bands suddenly got this tag, which in a way was good, 'cause it separated the past, it was like a new beginning as far as Rock music goes.


Martin Birch: Paul was ideal to do the first 2 albums. He had a good attitude and a good voice for that period of the band. But I think like all bands, you know, bands change, they move slightly, going to a different direction. Some personel leave, some personel come in. Just changes. That's what it's all about.


Mick Wall: They really were on the verge of something pretty major. They were just about to break through into America. To keep Paul in the group at that point probably would have been a recipe for disaster.


Steve Harris: But he was a worry to actually change singers at that point because thing were really taking off for us. But I think if we hadn't changed it would have been even worse, with another album so down the line it would have been a lot worse, so I think at the time it was probably the right thing to do.
Mick Wall: Everybody needs a bit of luck, and the bit of luck they had was that Bruce Dickinson himself had been watching Maiden from afar.


Bruce Dickinson: At that time I remember standing there going "oh you know, if I was singing for that band, that would… we could do something really really cool... we could do something really really different... it could go somewhere else if I was singing". And I don't think that a Metal band has quite been there before.


Steve Harris: We knew how good a vocalist he was, it was just a question of whether he'd suit our material, really.


Rod Smallwood: Steve and I went down to Reading Festival and Samson was playing on the bill there. And then afterwards I dragged him out to the bar and we had a very quiet chat. So no-one could see us.
Bruce Dickinson: And there was one large central post with a bright bloody floodlight, straight down, surrounded by bars full of loads and loads of gossiping musicians and journalists. So, in the middle of this field, underneath the only bright spotlight by a large pole, he gets hold of me and goes, "blah-blah-blah". We were animated in discussion with each other, and they go, "oh look! There's Iron Maiden new singer!"


Steve Harris: Bruce coming in made us be able to go wherever we wanted to go.


How are ya, alright? Can't see a thing with all this smoke. Are you still out there?
I can't hear you! Yell!
You want some more?


Dave Murray: They loved his voice, his whole onstage presence. The way he talked to the audience.

  Video commentary [Next Chapter – 22 Acacia Avenue]

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