Iron Maiden headline Sonisphere, Knebworth, this weekend. Here are six reasons why they are still the planet's favourite metal act.
Iron Maiden sell-out stadiums because they are astounding
Watching them is like receiving a titanium kick in the face from Jehovah. They stand at the gates of Valhalla, their legs spread, their arms shredding, their hair twirling in unison like wind-turbines of doom. They cause pandemonium everywhere. Imagine America’s combined veneration of Princess Diana, Simon Cowell and Benny Hill rolled into one and you begin to understand the love felt for them in South America and Scandinavia.
They shift units the world over without help from the media
Cliff asked why radio had forsaken him and sulked. In 2008 Iron Maiden travelled 50,000 miles in 45 days playing five continents; while this was a feat most bands only dream of, they toured with lead singer Bruce Dickinson piloting the aeroplane! Being unfashionable hasn’t stopped them selling 70m records.
Bruce Dickinson is one of those talented swine who can do everything
Nine months older than Morrissey, Bruce Almighty fences, flies planes, writes books, warbles like Pavarotti and says no to drugs, while Morrissey sits indoors faxing Sparks. Bruce used to have the same stylist as Samatha Fox but he’s got that sorted now.
They've got the best mascot ever
Many great groups have a member who doesn’t do a lot. The Happy Mondays had Bez, the Spice Girls had Victoria Beckham. The Irons are never without Eddie, a large, malnourished zombie-like creature with strange, terrifying eyes. So not unlike Bez and Posh then.
Their bass player is a titan of rock
Maiden were formed in 1975 by Steve Harris, a salt-of-the-earth Hammer who wouldn’t look out of place in an Eastend pub griping about ironic moustaches and wondering aloud why nobody likes the Andrews Sisters anymore. Don’t be fooled, the man is a colossus. Bass legend and principle songwriter, nobody puts their foot on a monitor like Harris, and nobody pretends to shoot people with their bass like Harris. Peow!
Their guitar solos are legendary
Maiden are purveyors of the dual-axe attack as demonstrated on this awesome 1985 Lucozade advert featuring Daley Thompson.
Motorhead’s 1992 Pot Noodle campaign came close, but Maiden are the greatest. Age cannot wither them...
For news and video interviews from Sonisphere 2010 - which was headlined by Iron Maiden - visit NME.COM/metal
Photo Gallery - Sonisphere 2010