Killers (Iron Maiden album)

Last updated

Iron Maiden Killers.jpg
Studio album by
Released2 February 1981
RecordedNovember 1980 [1] – January 1981 [2]
StudioBattery Studios, London, England
Genre Heavy metal
Length38:18 [3]
Producer Martin Birch
Iron Maiden studio albums chronology
Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast
Singles from Killers
  1. "Twilight Zone*"
    Released: 2 March 1981
  2. "Purgatory"
    Released: 15 June 1981

Killers is the second studio album by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 2 February 1981 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and on 6 June 1981 by Harvest Records and Capitol Records in the United States. The album was their first with guitarist Adrian Smith, and their last with vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who was fired after problems with his stage performance arose due to his alcohol and cocaine use. [4] Killers was also the first Iron Maiden album recorded with the assistance of producer Martin Birch, who went on to produce their next eight albums until Fear of the Dark (1992).

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Iron Maiden English heavy metal band

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-nine albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.

EMI Records record label founded by the EMI company

EMI Records Ltd. was a British record label founded by the music company of the same name in 1972 as its flagship label, and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia and Parlophone record labels. The label was later launched worldwide. It has a branch in India called "EMI Records India", run by director Mohit Suri.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [5]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 9/10 [6]
Pitchfork 7.3/10 [7]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5 [8]
The Daily VaultA- [9]


Killers was the second and final Iron Maiden album with vocalist Paul Di'Anno (shown here in 2008) DiAnno.jpg
Killers was the second and final Iron Maiden album with vocalist Paul Di'Anno (shown here in 2008)

Killers is the only Iron Maiden album to feature two instrumentals, and was written almost exclusively by Steve Harris; [10] only two tracks, "Twilight Zone" and the title track are co-authored. The opening track, "The Ides of March" is the band's shortest song to date.

Steve Harris (musician) English musician, founder and bassist of Iron Maiden

Stephen Percy Harris is an English musician, songwriter, bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He has been the band's only constant member since their inception in 1975 and one of only two to have appeared on all of their albums, the other being guitarist Dave Murray.

Each song, with the exception of "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (based on the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe) [11] and "Prodigal Son", had been written in the years prior to the recording of their debut album, [12] though none were recorded professionally until the Killers sessions with the exception of "Wrathchild" (an early version recorded in 1979 was featured on the Metal for Muthas compilation). [12]

The Murders in the Rue Morgue novella by Edgar Allan Poe

"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been described as the first modern detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his "tales of ratiocination".

Edgar Allan Poe 19th-century American author, poet, editor and literary critic

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and of American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story. He is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

<i>Metal for Muthas</i> 1980 compilation album by Various Artists

Metal for Muthas is the name given to a series of heavy metal compilations made during the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM).

"The Ides of March" is nearly identical to the song "Thunderburst", recorded by fellow British NWOBHM band Samson, which featured a pre-Iron Maiden Bruce Dickinson on vocals at the time. "The Ides of March" is in fact an early Iron Maiden song written during the brief time in 1977 in which future Samson drummer Thunderstick was a member of Iron Maiden. While Steve Harris took sole credit for "The Ides of March", "Thunderburst" is credited to Harris and all four members of Samson's Head On line-up, Bruce Bruce, aka Bruce Dickinson, Chris Aylmer, Paul Samson, and Thunderstick, aka Barry Purkis.

Samson were a British rock band formed in 1977 by guitarist and vocalist Paul Samson. They are best known for their first three albums with future Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, then known as "Bruce Bruce", and drummer Thunderstick, who wore a leather mask and performed on stage in a metal cage. Drummer Clive Burr was also a member of the band, both before and after his tenure with Iron Maiden. Drummer Mel Gaynor had a successful music career being a member of Simple Minds for over 20 years. Dickinson's replacement on vocals, Nicky Moore, performed with Samson throughout the mid-1980s and again from the late 1990s onwards; he has also been a member of the bands Mammoth and Nicky Moore and the Blues Corporation. Samson were a part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.

Bruce Dickinson English musician

Paul Bruce Dickinson is an English singer, songwriter, musician, airline pilot, entrepreneur, author, and broadcaster. He is known for his work as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden and is renowned for his wide-ranging operatic vocal style and energetic stage presence.

Barry Graham Purkis, more commonly known as Thunderstick, is an English drummer who wore various masks and used to perform on-stage closed in a cage. He was in the cult-band Samson, with whom his name is most associated.

The North American edition, which came out a few months after it did in the UK, was initially released on Harvest Records/Capitol Records and subsequently on Sanctuary Records/Columbia Records. The song "Twilight Zone" was also added to the album.

Harvest Records is a British record label belonging to Capitol Music Group, originally created by EMI, active from 1969 to present.

Capitol Records American record label

Capitol Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label "of note" in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.

Sanctuary Records british record label

Sanctuary Records Group Limited is a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of BMG Rights Management. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world. It was also the world's largest independent owners of music intellectual property rights, with over 160,000 songs.

The Killer World Tour was the tour in support of the album and would feature the band's earliest shows in the US, the first being at The Aladdin, Las Vegas in support of Judas Priest. [13] The song "Wrathchild" is the only regularly played track from the album, appearing in almost all their concert tours.

Killer World Tour

The Killer World Tour was a concert tour by the heavy metal band Iron Maiden from 17 February 1981 to 15 November 1981. This would be the band's first world tour, including their debut shows in North America and Japan where they recorded the live release, Maiden Japan. On top of this, the band moved into larger venues in the United Kingdom, including the Hammersmith Odeon, London.

Concert tour series of concerts by a single artist in different venues

A concert tour is a series of concerts by an artist or group of artists in different cities, countries or locations. Often concert tours are named to differentiate different tours by the same artist and to associate a specific tour with a particular album or product. Especially in the popular music world, such tours can become large-scale enterprises that last for several months or even years, are seen by hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and bring in millions of dollars in ticket revenues. A performer who embarks on a concert tour is called a touring artist.

Album collection of recorded music, words, sounds

An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album; this format evolved after 1948 into single vinyl LP records played at ​33 13 rpm. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have mostly focused on CD and MP3 formats. The audio cassette was a format widely used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Steve Harris, except where noted:

Original release

Side one
1."The Ides of March" (Instrumental)1:48
3."Murders in the Rue Morgue"4:14
4."Another Life"3:22
5."Genghis Khan" (Instrumental)3:02
6."Innocent Exile"3:50
Side two
7."Killers" Paul Di'Anno, Harris4:58
8."Prodigal Son" 6:05
9."Purgatory" 3:18
10."Drifter" 4:47
Total length:38:18

1981 North American version

1998 Remastered release

1995 reissue bonus disc

1995 US Reissue bonus disc

The original Australian version of the album also includes the band's cover of Skyhooks' "Women in Uniform", which was previously released as a single in 1980. [14] The US Castle Records 1995 bonus disc contains several live tracks which originally appeared on the 1981 EP Maiden Japan . [15]


The song "Wrathchild" was covered in 2003 by the English metal band Sikth and featured as a B-side on their single "Scent of the Obscene". [16] The song was also covered in 2005 by female tribute band The Iron Maidens on their 2007 album Route 666 , by Gallows on the 2008 tribute CD Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden released by Kerrang! magazine, and by Six Feet Under on the reissue of their 1999 album Maximum Violence . [17] "Wrathchild" was featured in the PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s . [18]


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes. [3] [19]

Iron Maiden

Additional personnel

Chart performance


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [33] Platinum100,000^
France (SNEP) [34] Gold200,000*
Germany (BVMI) [35] Gold250,000^
Sweden (GLF) [36] Gold50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [37] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [38] Gold500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

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