The Number of the Beast is the third studio album by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released in March 1982. The album saw the debut of vocalist Bruce Dickinson, and the final appearance of drummer Clive Burr in the band.
The Number of the Beast met with considerable critical and commercial success and was a landmark release for the band, becoming their first album to reach No. 1 in the UK albums chart, and be certified platinum in the United States. The album also produced the singles "Run to the Hills" and "The Number of the Beast", the former of which was the band's first top-10 UKsingle. The album was also controversial – particularly in the U.S. – due to the religious nature of its lyrics and its artwork.
Since the release of The Number of the Beast and its subsequent tour, The Beast on the Road, "The Beast" has become an alternate name for Iron Maiden, and was later used in the titles of some of their compilations and live releases, including Best of the Beast and Visions of the Beast.
Writing and recordingEdit
The Number of the Beast is Iron Maiden's only album to include songwriting credits from Clive Burr, and was the band's first album to feature writing by guitarist Adrian Smith. In addition, the release saw Steve Harris adopt a different approach to writing, which would cater more for new vocalist Bruce Dickinson. The album's producer, Martin Birch, remarked, "I simply didn't think [former vocalist Paul Di'Anno] was capable of handling lead vocals on some of the quite complicated directions I knew Steve wanted to explore... when Bruce joined, it opened up the possibilities for the new album tremendously."
According to several interviews, Dickinson was heavily involved in writing several of the album's songs, and in particular the tracks "Children of the Damned", "The Prisoner" and "Run to the Hills". Due to his previous band Samson's ongoing contractual issues, Dickinson could not legally take part in any songwriting for the record, and had to make what he called a "moral contribution", which meant he was able to influence particular tracks, but not provide enough creative input so as to earn a writing credit. The recording and mixing of the album had to be completed in only five weeks, after the band had spent too long constructing the new songs. This was because the group were for the first time creating a new album from scratch, with very little material written prior to the record's pre-production stage.
Music press reports told stories of unexplained phenomena occurring during the sessions at Battery Studios, such as lights turning on and off of their own accord and the recording gear mysteriously breaking down. This all climaxed when Birch was involved in a car accident with a mini-bus transporting a group of nuns, after which he was presented with a repair bill for £666.
All songs written and composed by Steve Harris, except where noted.
|Original track listing|
|2.||"Children of the Damned"||4:35|
|3.||"The Prisoner"||Harris, Adrian Smith||6:03|
|4.||"22 Acacia Avenue"||Harris, Smith||6:37|
|5.||"The Number of the Beast"||4:51|
|6.||"Run to the Hills"||3:54|
|7.||"Gangland"||Clive Burr, Smith||3:49|
|8.||"Hallowed Be Thy Name"||7:12|