Listen With Nicko! Part I
- By: Nicko McBrain
....What ho sed de ting! How you doing, you lot out there? Gosh! You, I guess you are now the proud owners of the very first little box set of the re-released singles from Iron Maiden. Well, I've got to say this, welcome to Not a lot of people know that, part 1. Cause here, I'm about to tell you a few stories now and in the next nine releases of this here box sets, over the period of the next ten weeks. Now look here, first of all, my goodness, it's ten years almost to the day...ooh little chickadees out there, oh you've got your grubby little hands on Running Free, Burning Ambition, oh gosh! The very first single! Sanctuary, Drifter, and I've Got The Fire, the second singles..gosh! The first one was released, as I said, almost ten years to the very day on February 8, 1980. Eh, I'll tell you something, right? You know 'Arry... 'Arry Harris, right, he had a band called Gypsy's Kiss ....disgusting...and you know what that rhymes with doncha? Well if you don't, I'm not gonna tell ya anyway so there. He had this song called Burning Ambition, which I suppose was a real drive for 'Arry then because he was, you know, full of ambition to get his music out and play it for people, and he had this song. And he was in this band Gypsies Kiss, well they were, cause they couldn't handle this song. And they turned around and said "'Arry you know look at all these chord changes and time changes", as he's famous for, and I should know...come on, give us a break. So, he took the song... the band and they're going, "come on 'Arry, gypsies kiss off will ya, I can't play that!" And he said, "allright, I've had enough of this then, I'm gonna go find some people that can, so kiss you and all". So anyway that's what he did. Not kiss them, no, he did the other thing, you know, what it rhymes with... mm off. I'll say it, he pissed off, so there you go. Whatever. Now he went out and he formed a band, and um..uuh, Burning Ambition was actually recorded late in 1979 and originally featured the original drummer in fact of..in fact I think there was one guy before him...but Doug Sampson was on drums in those days. Dave double tracked on guitars... you know, he double tracked and all..he doesn't have to though, does he? You know what I'm saying. Well, ok, Running Free as well was also the first art work from Riggsy...RIGGSY! I tell people I'm actually from another planet you know cause I'm a bit off the wall, well I'll tell you this guy OWNS the other planet, my goodness! No god bless him, he's a diamond guy I love him, what an artist! He first brought Eddie into the first sleeve on this the Running Free single, and Eddie if you remember rightly was standing in the shadows, you never really saw him. But uh, oh my goodness, he brought him out didn't he, on the first album all in his glory and splendour, Eddie comes out and goes "yeeeeh I'm here," so watch out folks. Well there, what can you say about it, Running Free, it's a song the band still to this day plays, it's one of the truly great Iron Maiden songs, I mean not only just because it was their first single, but...what a crack. And now then, well we've gone through that, Burning Ambition we talked about, on the other side we got Sanctuary...on the other single rather, we've got Sanctuary, Drifter live, and I've Got The Fire, an old Montrose song. Well this... this was the first top-30 entry actually, it made number 29 and uh, oh you know the boys were really happy it was released 23rd of May 1980 god dearie me, it was a couple within a few months of one another... You lucky boys and girls! Woah, as I said you've got one every week for ten weeks coming out here...ah, oh well. This was recorded by the way...the live Drifter and I've Got The Fire, was recorded in the Marquee in April 1980. And that was a good year, I've got a good drop of wine at home made in 1980, yeah still got half a bottle left, it's really good. I've Got The Fire, it's an old Montrose song as I said, and Steve liked it so he recorded it live, and it used to be a set opener for the band in those days, but on the back of that they kind of got into the deal of like not recording Iron Maiden songs on the b's, this was when the beginnings when b-sides were other people's songs that the band decided to play. Anyway around this time, they uh, they didn't get top of the pops ...rotten buggers...but we all know why, it's the bleedin BBC isn't it? Well you know we'll work out some sort of abbreviation for that later on...but anyway they couldn't get on because there was some sort of reaction, strikes and all that good stuff, you know what the BBC usually like to do... You! Move the broom! Well, is he a labourer? No he f'king well ain't! Well that's it, we're going on strike. Put your teacups up to your face lads, lets go out to the canteen and have another drink... You know, whatever...Well what can you say, what can you say, strikes all around. So the boys didn't get to play top of the pops -- that's no biggie, you know they never play the band anyway do they? poxy BBC... Anyway funnily enough, around this time it the very first gig I ever did with Iron Maiden, no not actually playing with them like as a full band. I played in a band called McKitty, and these guys in McKitty...a guy called Donnovan McKitty himself, we did a gig in Belgium, and it was in fact... not a lot of people know this...but it was in fact Maiden's very first European gig, how about that, and I was there! So there! Hmm! Stuff that up your f'king pipe and smoke it! Right! So there you go. I was really privileged to be there, and that's when I really first met the band, we got on so well and we had such a riot....what can I say? Anyway, you remember the Sanctuary sleeve, you lot? Yeah...Maggie Thatcher...weeelll, can you believe it, she was there, you know what she was trying to do...stupid cow... she was trying to pull down an Iron Maiden poster off the wall. Well, what can you say about that? Not a lot, believe me! She was...I dunno why they called her the iron maiden, do you? Nothing like this....I know why! Maybe because she's like Eddie! Hahahaha! Listen! By the way I've got to tell you this little story real quick, allright, I'm running out of time on this one but nevertheless... You remember Eddie, right? Course you remember Eddie! Well this is the origin of Eddie, right. The band used to have this backdrop which featured this theatrical mask and it sort of spat out all this red die and smoke and all that gobby stuff and here's poor old Clive sitting under it getting gobbed on every night... "Oy! what's all this?!", he's going, "What's all this red st...you know, this shit coming over my head, I've had enough of that", eh....anything you could find, anything they could find they'd sling in it. Anyway, they called him Eddie the Head, see, and it's after an old east-end joke that goes as follows: Eddie was very unfortunate, he was born without a body. So nevertheless, his parents loved him dearly and took him home and placed him on the mantelpiece one day. Well, his family gave him lots of love and attention and he always got loads of presents on his birthday kind of...blowing things, and hats and all that kind of stuff, wow... Anyway one year he was about 16, and the hospital phoned up Eddie's parents and they said to them, "look, due to modern technology and all those good things that we can do with this stuff nowdays, we are now able to build Eddie a body." So, the parents were soooo excited, they couldn't believe it, and they couldn't wait to tell Eddie, I mean this is it, Eddie's gonna have a body! Weeeha! However, as it was close to his birthday, they decided to tell the doctors to go ahead and build his body, and then they would surprise him, you know they weren't far away from his birthday... well, a good birthday present, so anyway... A few weeks later the big day arrived, yes, Eddie's birthday. So his parents go up to him, and walked up to the mantelpiece and "Hello Eddie, how you doin? This year is gonna to be the best birthday yet! Have we got something for you, such a wonderful present! And his mum's going "Oh goodness Eddie we're so pleased!" And Eddie's going, "Oh no!" said Eddie, "Not another fucking hat!" Hahahahaha! Oh, I think it's funny! Shit, it is! It's pretty good isn't it! Anyway, after this...anyway, Derek came up with the creature Eddie and the body and that on the record covers, and the name was just carried over and the rest is history isn't it? And Eddie's out there, yet he's got to have a bit of nookie before long, that's all I can say.