Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-eight albums, including sixteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.
Pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums, including 1982's The Number of the Beast, 1983's Piece of Mind, 1984's Powerslave, 1985's live release Live After Death, 1986's Somewhere in Time and 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their 2010 studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 different countries and receiving widespread critical acclaim. Their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, was released on 4 September 2015.
Despite little radio or television support, Iron Maiden are considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, with The Observer reporting in 2015 that the band have sold over 90 million albums worldwide. The band won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002. As of October 2013, the band have played over 2000 live shows throughout their career. For the past 35 years, the band have been supported by their famous mascot, "Eddie", who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live shows.
Steve Harris, Iron Maiden's bassist and primary songwriter, has stated that his influences include Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Wishbone Ash. In 2010 Harris stated, "I think if anyone wants to understand Maiden's early thing, in particular the harmony guitars, all they have to do is listen to Wishbone Ash's Argus album. Thin Lizzy too, but not as much. And then we wanted to have a bit of a prog thing thrown in as well, because I was really into bands like Genesis and Jethro Tull. So you combine all that with the heavy riffs and the speed, and you've got it." In 2004, Harris explained that the band's "heaviness" was inspired by "Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with a bit of Zeppelin thrown in." On top of this, Harris developed his own playing style, which guitarist Janick Gers describes as "more like a rhythm guitar," cited as responsible for the band's galloping style, heard in such songs as "The Trooper" and "Run to the Hills."