An Illustrated History Of EDDIE The Head
The undisputed ultimate heavy metal mascot Eddie The Head has taken many forms throughout Iron Maiden’s expansive career from his appearance as a street hoodlum on their first ever single to the weird, the wonderful and sometimes downright macabre incarnations gracing the cover of record collections across the globe. He’s appeared on every album, helped Maiden sell a fuck load of t-shirts, loomed large at some of the finest concerts you could ever bang your head to and been responsible for getting a hell of a load of people get into metal just because they liked the cover. Eddie The Head, we salute you. This is your life.
1980 – Running Free
Designed by Derek Riggs, the very first Eddie appeared as a bottle swinging yoof on the band’s first ever record Running Free. Influenced by a papier mache mask that the band used to glamorize their stage set this 2D version of ‘The Head unwittingly set the tone for decades to come. Is it a skeleton? It is a zombie? Who cares, it looks fucking cool.
1981 – Killers
Iron Maiden unleashed their second album on the world in 1981, and with it one of the most iconic covers to date. Eddie’s sinewy figure cuts a chilling image and shows this maverick wielding a blood-splattered axe just a stone’s throw from Maiden’s local The Ruskin Arms. And we wonder why the East End has a bad rep!
1982 – The Number Of The Beast
What could be more metal than a zombie skeleton playing puppeteer with the Devil while bolts of lightning and flames shoot from its hands? None more metal is the answer. Apparently the album pissed off a few American evangelists and our guess is the cover didn’t help! For the Beast On The Road tour Eddie gets a walk-on part as a stilt-walking menace thus promoting him to three-dimensional status and to this day his stage appearances are still the highlight of many a Maiden show.
1983 – The Trooper
Released as a single lifted from Maiden’s fourth album Piece Of Mind, The Trooper saw our Eddie depicted as a Red Coat during the Charge Of The Light Brigade. This symbol of nationalistic pride, far from being jingoistic, has become a staple in Maiden’s live sets where we often see ol’ Bruce waving the flag for true British heavy metal.
1983 – Piece Of Mind
In stark contrast to the confident young buck displayed on the preceding single The Trooper, for the album itself – Piece of Mind – we see Eddie as a withered lobotomized maniac… like most caners after three days at a metal festival (probably smelling faintly of wee).
1984 – Powerslave
Regarded by many as the best Eddie, 1984’s Powerslave takes a sojourn to the outer reaches of Ancient Egypt, casting Ed as a majestic Egyptian pharaoh. As if that wasn’t cool enough, Eddie embodies an electrocuted mummy for the World Slavery Tour poster making it one of the raddest pictorial representations of the band’s mascot ever.
1984 – Aces High
The cover for the single was a close-up of Eddie in a WWII jet. The back of the case showed the jet spiraling the ground, up in flames, smoke spewing from it. The B-side was “King of Twilight.”
1985 – Live After Death
Holy fuck balls! This is one seriously badass cover. Here’s Eddie complete with his wild hair, enraged with pure wanton zombie lust erupting from his loins in an explosive grave exit.
1986 – Somewhere In Time
Woah, thing’s are getting futuristic, man. Gone are the days of zombies and mummies; this is 1986 and mobile phones and Nintendos are making the world feel like Blade Runner, which as it happens is the influence for this cyborg version of Eddie. A precursor for Evil Scarecrow’s Robototron, perhaps?
1988 – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Amazing album, shit Eddie. For this one ‘The Head is nearly that, just a torso bobbing around in some kind of Dali-esque artic scenery. Probably a bit nippy.
1990 – No Prayer For The Dying
Two versions of the cover exist. The original 1990 version has Eddie bursting from his grave and grabbing a gravedigger by the neck. As the band’s manager, Rod Smallwood, disliked the figure, he asked artist Derek Riggs to remove him from the cover for the 1998 re-release, although the original artwork is used on the disc itself. Additionally an inscription was added to the plaque on the tomb, which Riggs had initially left blank to allow the band to add their own words, and reads “After the Daylight, The Night of Pain, That is not Dead, Which Can Rise Again.”
1991 – Fear Of The Dark
Out goes Derek Riggs and in comes Melvyn Grant for Maiden’s first album cover designed by a new artist. Eddie has morphed into a freaky tree monster proving that even nature can be scary. Anyway, have you been to the park at night? Who knows what’s lurking in the bushes.
1995 – The X Factor
From 1994 to 1999 former Wolfsbane chappy Blaze Bayley replaced Bruce Dickinson on mic duties as Dicko trundled off to pursue a solo career. What does this mean for Eddie? Well, he became a lobotomized victim of disembowelment, obvs. Probably the most grim cover Maiden have ever done, Eddie is seen clamped to an operating table with skewers driven through his gaunt cheeks. From a distance he looks like he’s giving the thumbs up… which is a bit weird.
2006 – A Matter Of Life And Death
Corpse soldiers, a big fuck-off tank and a barely recognizable Eddie, this cover designed by Tim Bradstreet divided opinion not least because our Ed does not take center stage. But when you’ve had had a lobotomy, travelled through time and had your rectum wrenched out from beneath you sometimes it’s nice to take a back seat.
2010 – The Final Frontier
A question mark still looms over whether this is actually Eddie. Artist Melvyn Grant has suggested that it is simply an alien but the band state that this colorful extraterrestrial is the real deal. Either way it’s one helluva cover that still has Maiden fans new and old picking up the tees, the album and whatever frickin’ merch they can get their mitts on in droves.
(Source : teamrock.com)