Since the early eighties, Iron Maiden have been hailed as one of the UK’s greatest live acts of all time. With their fiery blend of music, spectacle and live performance they have excited their fans around the planet for over three decades.
Founded by bassist Steve Harris in the mid Seventies, Iron Maiden were already firmly established as heavy metal’s brightest hopes when they stormed the world with their third album (for the first time with vocalist new Bruce Dickinson) The Number Of The Beast in 1982. 33 years later, and with over 80 million album sales, more than 2000 live performances and 15 studio albums of unerring quality and power, Iron Maiden have more than earned their proudly-held status as one of the most influential and revered bands ever.
Eddie the Head is Iron Maiden’s beloved and ever-evolving mascot that has graced the vast majority of the band’s artwork and merchandise since the early eighties. He is also a permanent fixture at Iron Maiden’s live concerts. Eddie is undoubtedly the most famous mascot in heavy metal history. The first incarnation of Eddie the Head was a papier-mâché mask created by Iron Maiden’s early lighting and pyro man Dave “Lights” Beazley. Eddie soon evolved into a larger fibreglass head equipped with laser eyes and breathing dry ice through his mouth.
Iron Maiden’s long-term manager, Rod Smallwood, then recruited artist Derek Riggs to bring Eddie the Head to life on Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut album ‘Iron Maiden’ in 1980. Eddie’s first official appearance was on February 1980 single ‘Running Free’, however it was in silhouette form as Iron Maiden didn’t want to reveal Eddie’s identity yet. However, from 1992, the band decided to accept contributions from other artists, with Smallwood explaining that they “wanted to upgrade Eddie for the ’90s. We wanted to take him from this sort of comic-book horror creature and turn him into something a bit more straightforward so that he became even more threatening.”
Since then, Riggs has contributed much less to the band’s artwork, creating part of one studio album, one single and two compilation covers, while the band have employed a number of different artists.