Alright folks, strap yourselves in and get ready for the ride. After the positive feedback from my series of Kiss reviews, I’ve decided to go with popular demand and do all the Iron Maiden next. We’re going to talk about every studio album, every live album, every compilation, and every rarity that I have access to. But why not start off with a Record Store Tale? Here’s how I acquired rare editions of the crucial first 10 albums….
RECORD STORE TALES PART 116:
IRON MAIDEN’s Gonna Get Ya…No Matter How Far!
My love of Maiden is well documented. The very first blog here at LeBrain’s Record Store Tales, Part 1, was called “Run To The Hills”. It describes the first time I ever heard the band. I don’t need to explain to you why I love Iron Maiden. If you’re reading this, chances are that you already understand. Iron Maiden are more than just a band. They are a passion. With a band like Maiden, the fans strive to own everything.
The setting: Early 1996, when we still carried new CD stock. One of our suppliers dropped off a brand new catalogue. Inside, was a new listing. An exciting new listing!
Iron Maiden were reissuing their first 10 albums in 2 CD editions, with a bonus disc of B-sides! Picture discs! Iron Maiden, Killers, The Number of the Beast, Peace of Mind, Powerslave, Live After Death, Somewhere In Time, Seventh Son, No Prayer, and Fear of the Dark! Knowing that Maiden usually released a minimum of two singles per album, with a minimum of 2 B-sides per single, this was a MUST for me. I didn’t have all the Maiden singles. Not even close. Some of these songs, like “Burning Ambition” and “Invasion”, I’d never even heard before! Now I was going to have the chance to own them on CD.
The discs were expensive, even with my staff discount. But there was absolutely no way I was missing these. As an added incentive, I didn’t even own all the Maiden albums on CD yet. Most of these albums I still only owned on cassette or vinyl! So really, it was a win-win situation. Not only was I getting the B-sides, but I was also getting all the Maiden albums on CD with a minimum of overlap with my existing collection. Plus, these were picture discs with Derek Riggs’ singles artwork. Picture discs were something of a novelty at the time. Today, most CDs are picture discs and nobody cares if they are.
My boss warned me: “If you order these, you better make sure you buy them all.” There was absolutely no question of that, I’m surprised he even mentioned it, knowing what a collector I am. It’s too bad we didn’t order more, for stock. The rarity of these discs has shown that we could have sold them quickly, or better yet, hung onto them for a couple years and jacked up the price once they were out of print.
The supplier we were ordering from, the name of which escapes me, was a small-time supplier, and usually couldn’t get everything we ordered. They had about a 50% success rate. Yet he listed all these European imports that our main supplier usually shied away from. The Maiden reissues were all from Europe. I crossed my fingers. I wanted all 10. Not “some”, but all! “Some” would not do it!
A week later, the first five Maidens arrived! The following week, another chunk of Maiden shipped! They only failed to get me one disc: Fear of the Dark. Resolving to get it somehow, it turns out I didn’t need to worry about it. Two weeks later, even that one arrived. Total expenditure: About $300 with taxes! I had all 10. My Maiden B-side collection: almost complete! [Note: When I go through the Maiden reviews, we’ll cover all the B-sides, including songs that are not on these deluxe editions.]
I settled in for some long, long nights of listening. I made a compilation tape of all the B-sides that I had (including up to the current album, The X Factor), and it ended up being 3 tapes, 100 minute cassettes, which I still have. To knock so many songs off my wishlist in one fell swoop like this was the kind of thing I lived for. This was the perk of working in a record store. What a score! Today, I don’t know anybody else who has the full set of 10.
Be sure to check back in the coming days and weeks for all the reviews, starting with The Soundhouse Tapes, to the present day…