‘Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast’ – Book Review
When it comes to writing hard rock and metal biographies, Neil Daniels is one of the go-to scribes. He has penned books about artists such as Judas Priest, Bon Jovi, Linkin Park, Robert Plant, Journey and more. His latest effort is 'Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast.'
It’s a hardcover book full of photos and other information about Iron Maiden. Every studio album is reviewed, with help from writers including Ian Christe, Martin Popoff, Mick Wall, Gavin Baddeley and others. The meat of the book is biographical info about the band, and their story is an interesting one.
Maiden’s story would make a great episode of VH1‘s 'Behind the Music.' There was the early turmoil of Paul Di’Anno being replaced by Bruce Dickinson, the band’s rise to fame and glory, and the inevitable crash. That was when Dickinson left and Blaze Bayley took over for a few years. Then Dickinson triumphantly returned, and the band re-ascended to the top of the metal mountain, where it continues to reign.
Daniels does a nice job telling the Iron Maiden story. And since it is unauthorized, no interviews with current band members were done specifically for the book. Instead, Daniels relies on quotes from various media sources over the years, and weaves them in seamlessly with the narrative. From big print magazines to obscure web sites, Daniels scoured them all, and if the quote was interesting, he used it.
One of the most valuable parts of the book is the tourography. Every single live show Iron Maiden ever played at the time of publishing is listed. At the end of every chapter the shows for that particular album cycle are detailed. The dates go all the way back to May 1, 1976 when they played a show in Poplar, England.
Another thing that makes 'Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast' stand out over the usual metal biography is the visual aspect of the book. There are over 400 photos of everything from concert shots to album covers to t-shirts to posters to ticket stubs that fans of the band will find fascinating. The cover art was done by Derek Riggs, who did the artwork for several Maiden albums.
There have been several Iron Maiden books written over the years, some which have more detail when it comes to the history of the band. But when it comes to a combination of biographical information, great photos and useful information, 'Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast' can’t be topped.