Steve Harris: There's all sorts of stuff going on in this song. I think you've got a melodic intro and you've got the heavy bit, and you got a nice big chorus. We've done lots of mellow intros but we never managed to basically stay mellow through the whole song.
He's walking like a small child
but watch his eyes burn you away
Black holes in his golden stare
God knows he wants to go home
Children of the damned, Children of the damned
Children of the damned, Children of the damned
Steve Harris: I suppose I grew up listening to all sorts of stuff with time changes like early Genesis, Yes, Floyd, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake & Palmer, as well as stuff like Sabbath, Purple, Zeppelin, Free, UFO and The Who… so many different influences.
Steve Harris: It's a strong song. So it was always good live. Adrian was trying to establish himself a bit more. And on this album he was able to impose himself a lot more with his playing.
Steve Harris: It was kind of based on the movie, I suppose. Loosely. Like most of our things were loosely based on anything. We just take the basic idea and then develop it from there really, and try to put our own little twists and turns into it.
Now it's burning his hands he's turning to laugh
Smiles as the flame sears his flesh
Melting his face screaming in pain
Peeling the skin from his eyes
Masa Itoh: With this album, they have managed to show the world what Heavy Metal is all about.
Adrian Smith: The thing is there was loads of bands, loads of tours. We seemed to be picking up loads of fans all over the world. We didn't just concentrate on America like some bands do. We had fans in Europe. We certainly played everywhere. For the fans.
Dave Murray: There was very few stations that were playing the band, so basically we had to go out there and tour, and hence, we go everywhere. You know, East coast, West coast and all points in between.
Rod Smallwood: We never got airplay, so Maiden built completely by the touring and by the quality of the albums. Not by a song being a hit or getting on the radio.
Bruce Dickinson: We were going out on tour in America, we went out on tour with the most unlikely package.
Steve Harris: We did one with Foreigner, Loverboy and Ted Nugent. We were opening up. So that was really good for us to get across a different audience as well. You could go and prove it. They either like you or they don't, but at the end of the day, they're there and you got the opportunity to show what you can do.
Bruce Dickinson: We were driving around in a station wagon at this point, because Rod said we couldn't afford a bus.
Rod Smallwood: What I was called was "Smallwallet". I wouldn't let anybody spend anything, unless it was for the progress of the band, including myself.
Bruce Dickinson: We were driving around in these two station wagons, hallucinating with tiredness. At that point we got a tour bus, which then became the subject of all manner of shenanigans.
Ross Halfin: They were mainly out pulling birds, I mean, that's what they were about. You go from England, where you try to sleep with a girl in England, you take her out for the night, go out with her for 6 months, so something might happen. In America, it was just there!
Bruce Dickinson: Yes! I mean, what, a bunch of 24-year-olds from England let loose in America! Pre-AIDS, with endless supply of drink and party material, and endless supply of willing young girls. You're joking, aren't you?
Dave Murray: You know, it was a case of you go on and do the show then you come out and get plastered. Not all the time, but you know… But then there'd be extremes, you know, sometimes, Adrian and I we'd go out fishing. So one night you're playing in front of 20,000 people and the next day you'd be in the middle of a lake, trying to catch goujeon or something.
Steve Harris: I suppose because by that time with The Beast, apart from the States, we were headlining everywhere in the world by then. Then there's more pressure to put on some kind of show, which we always enjoyed doing anyway, right from the early days in the pubs. Like putting some sort of finger on a bit different, that stage show have always come from the songs. But I think you are trying to create some sort of mood and image, or whatever. An imagery if you like with the songs I suppose. They're all short stories, and they come from all different influences, amking every gig an event.
Ross Halfin: The first Eddies were fairly pathetic. And then I remember it was like the walk-on Eddie was the first one that they used to have. They had it in America.
Bruce Dickinson: We were doing production rehearsals and up came this big metal shutter and there he was. And I remember, all of it, everybody just recoiled and went "Oh my god! Look at THAT!"
Dave Murray: The Frankenstein had been released!
Steve Harris: If you could see from our side of the fence, if you like, the audience's face light up, basically, when Eddie comes on. Just the smiles on their faces. You know, they were just into it.
Mick Wall: It's still one of the best moments in Rock'n'Roll when Eddie actually wanders on.
Rod Smallwood: If I don't get bored after seeing him 200 nights a year, then the kids who see him once every 3 years won't get bored either. You know, he's just there and he's fun.
Steve Harris: And obviously The Number Of The Beast single itself that's obviously Eddie and there's also the the devil and stuff. So you know that where Nicko came in on one night, dressed up as the devil and all that.
Nicko McBrain: I was recruited to go on stage as a devil, you know, "oh, stick this mask on, Nick put on a bulb on that light and on cue, you've got to just sort of move it through the audience". And that was great! That was fun, you know. 'Course all the guys knew, "oh there's Nicko!", and Clive would be throwing drumsticks at me and stuff, you know. So we really... my introduction to the band was way before The Number Of The Beast, but that was my first time on a public stage with the band.
Dave Mustaine: To have an English band coming over here and get the youth of America go "Six-six-six!". And I thought, "oh I'm listening to Iron Maiden", "oh you guys are going straight to hell!"
Mick Wall: I think in terms of The Number Of The Beast I really don't think that it was as contrived as they thought, "well, this will really really gonna get us noticed and this will cause controversy". I think they just thought that it was great title.
Steve Harris: Americans tend to be a bit over the top about things like that. You know, they tend to over-react a little bit, but we just thought, "ah well, it's just them being as they are", and we didn't take too much notice of it really until we started going out there and it was really getting a bit silly and people, you know, giving out leaflets saying we were satanists and all this stuff and it was… in the end it got a bit ridiculous and we were getting fed up with it, really, to be honest.
Bruce Dickinson: We had a guy walking around the venue with like a 25-foot cross on his back, which we thought, "that's fantastic", but for ease of carrying the cross he obviously had thought to improve upon the one that Jesus carried, 'cause he'd fitted a small tail-wheel to it. So it was… I don't know, it was just… it was… we treated it as silliness.
Dave Murray: I recollect there was a show called 20/20, where they actually built a big bonfire and they go on there and throw everything onto it. And I know Number Of The Beast made the bonfire.
Rod Smallwood: There were people who actually used to buy and burn the records. They'd actually put them on a pile. Of course it was vinyl in those days, it wasn't CDs. So they'd get a pile of records and sleeves, and they'd set fire to them. Until one group decided that, "oh my god! The fumes of the devil's music! That will poison us!" So they stopped burning them and got hammers instead to smash them all up!
TV Commentary: This exorcism by hammer and fist. These are teen-agers and they're smashing rock'n'roll records. It was their idea and it came in the dark.
Don Zimmerman: You know, I think it's indicative of a whole new generation and their music. And Maiden was part of that. This country has a very conservative side. Yeah, I think it probably helped in the long run. You know, the more you bang your drum, the more people hear it.
Adrian Smith: People had been worried about rock'n'roll since Elvis, haven't they? So, I don't know if it was a good or a bad thing for us. It certainly meant that we've never been mainstream.
Dave Murray: Well, it was kind of embarrassing, you know, I mean we were like the last people on this planet. We were pretty easy-going… having a good time and playing music. But these people obviously took it more seriously. And to be branded that, it was, "oh dear!", you know, that's not really us.
Steve Harris: It's quite strange, even in later years, when we're touring the States, with my kids and all that, and people come and, "oh, you've got kids!" and I go, "well, yeah", you know. What do you expect? You turn around and I've got a tail or something?
Mick Wall: It was so much more fun. They'd sat around, especially when I met them around then, and they said "Look Mick, to be one of us, mate, you've got to spill some blood on the parchment". Fantastic! Maybe they could still do it.
Rod Smallwood: I don't think we're devil-worshippers. We all believe in other things, but the devil's not one of them!