Paul Di’Anno’s contributions to the first two Iron Maiden albums would be enough alone to secure him a legendary status. His rough edged, almost punky style did so much to give those now classic recordings a real energy, and both ‘Iron Maiden’ and ‘Killers’ have continued to receive a massive amount of love, even decades after fans heard them for the very first time.
Iron Maiden’s second album ‘Killers’ was released in the UK in February 1981, just ten months after their debut LP. Not so much “born into a scene of angriness and greed, dominance and persecution” as born of haste following EMI’s request for a speedy follow up, it was a “second album” in almost every conceivable sense. Faced with the prospect of having to deliver a new product amid relentless touring, they looked to their archive of already written material and plundered it for all it was worth. Years of honing their sound on the road and the fact the debut included just eight tracks, they found themselves in the fortunate position of having a cushion of material – and while it’s sometimes obvious why some of the tracks were not considered first division material when compiling the debut, Maiden’s “leftovers” were still strong, with some tracks having already become firm fan favourites by the time Steve Harris and company re-entered the studio.
In 1995 the Iron Maiden catalogue was made available as special edition CDs. These briefly available “special editions” didn’t really live up to expectations – each had a bonus disc containing a handful of b-sides that almost every Maiden fan already owned. They were nice to have, especially for those missing a few items in their collections, but hardly special by any stretch. In 2002, the albums were reissued as “definitive remasters”, this time without bonus discs and with an extra track inserted into the running order of the first three releases. Hardly definitive – and to add insult to injury, the sound on these reissues (presumably okayed by Steve “Bomber” Harris) appeared compressed and not always sounding as good as any of the previous issues.