REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Eddie’s Archive (2002)

Part 30 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Eddie’s Archive (2002, limited edition)

Eddie’s Archive was released simultaneously with another (!) greatest hits compilation called Edward The Great.  We’ll talk about that one next.  This is the real meat of it all!

This box set defines limited edition. I’m not sure how many copies were made, but the first printing with blue inlay was sold out nearly immediately. That’s the version I have. It was soon reissued with a red inlay to differentiate it, but even it is long out of print.

Inside you will find three individually packaged jewel cases, each containing 2 CDs for a total of 6 discs. These three “double albums” (for lack of a better term) are:

BBC Archives
Beast Over Hammersmith
Best of the B’Sides

The main reason to buy this set are the first two albums, BBC Archives and Beast Over Hammersmith.  To me, the Best of the B’Sides only scratches the surface of the treasures to be found on the numerous Iron Maiden singles and EP’s.  And as loyal LeBrain readers know, I’ve talked about ’em all.

BBC Archives contains numerous goodies. It starts off with a rare four song session by an ealy version of Maiden featuring Doug Sampson (drums) and Tony Parsons (guitar). Listening to “Sanctuary” as an example, you can tell it’s a guitar player you’re not familiar with. This is Parsons’ only recording with Maiden, but “Sanctuary” was previously released on the very rare NWOBHM compilation that Lars Ulrich put together.  I love the pure fire and raw youth of these early recordings.  “Transylvania” feels very different from its album incarnation.  You can tell it’s a different drummer.  And of course since it is the BBC, they are expertly recorded.

From there it’s a scorching ’82 set with Dickinson at Reading. Then back to 1980 for a Di’Anno Reading set, and finally to 1988 for a Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour (Donington) recording. All of these are pure smoke and it’s great to hear Bruce in peak voice. Unfortunately, on this album alone, you will hear “Iron Maiden” four times!  It is what it is.  You wouldn’t want them to leave any tracks out, would you?

Next disc has the ’82 Hammersmith show. A couple tracks from these were issued as B-sides on the “Run To The Hills” single from Rock In Rio. Anyway, like the BBC discs, this is pure smoke. It is a pleasure to finally have a full concert with Clive Burr on drums and Bruce in top form. Of course you will hear “Iron Maiden” and numerous others again. With a box set of this nature it’s inevitable. If you’re a Maiden fan, you don’t care.  Do you?

Finally, the B’Sides.  Everything here has been made available before on singles.  There is nothing truly “unreleased” here as far as Maiden goes. There’s also nothing that is previously unreleased on CD unfortunately, like Maiden Japan or “I Live My Way” from the “Man On The Edge” 12″ single. For me, these discs are more just a “best of”. There are some cool tracks here such as the Montrose cover “I’ve Got The Fire”. (Maiden chose Dickinson’s version rather than Di’Anno’s, which is fine.) Other highlights include the pop metal goodness of “That Girl” and “Reach Out”, as well as originals such as “Burning Ambition” and “Invasion”. The covers that Maiden selects are mostly obscure enough (Nektar? Marshall Fury?) that they may as well be originals.

Then you get some of Maiden’s little-known jokey material: “Sheriff of Huddersfield” for example. I’m not sure how well it works as an overall listen. I prefer the singles in their original context, personally. As I mentioned, this is far from a complete set, and you can argue all you like for what you would have included. Certainly you can make solid arguments in favour of the Thin Lizzy cover “Massacre” or the rare “I Live My Way”.

Each CD jewel case features its own extensive booklet with photos, Derek Riggs cover art, and liner notes, with the exception of Beast Over Hammersmith. That one contains a booklet which is a reproduction of the original tour programme! Works for me! Otherwise, there is no book for the box set itself.

What you do get includes a neat scroll with the Iron Maiden family tree on it, wrapped inside a metal ring. (I’m sure this family tree is loaded with errors like the previous one included inside A Real Dead One, I’ve never bothered to check.) You also get this cool shot glass with Eddie’s face in the bottom. A cool treat. The box itself is a shiny tin masterpiece. It snaps shut securely and it is very detailed and cool looking.

What are you willing to pay for this set? That’s entirely up to you, but if you don’t have it, expect to pay through the teeth. Personally, to me it’s all about the music. Decide how much you’re willing to pay for approximately four discs of previously unreleased Maiden and purchase accordingly.

For me? 4/5 stars!

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24 comments

  1. This is a great box set. I’ve got the re-pressing, the red lined one! I knew it was the second issue but I didn’t know what the difference was so that’s good to know. I’d given up on finding an affordable copy of this and walked into HMV one day to find a rack of it for just £50 (if memory serves). I was so excited to finally have my paws on it.

    I’m quite happy with the B-Sides album as I stopped buying Maiden singles after the Seventh Son album so the 2nd disc is all stuff I didn’t have. Definitely the least interesting thing here though, I’ll grant you that.

    All the live stuff is blistering. I don’t mind about the repeated tracks because I tend to just listen to the individual concert or sessions anyway. I’ve even divided them up like that on my iPod. There’s a guitar solo spot (or spots) on Beast Over Hammersith isn’t there? I dont’ think that’s something they ever did on later tours.

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    1. They did let Nicko have a drum solo on the Piece of Mind tour but that kind of stuff ended at that time.

      Interesting approach in dividing up the concert segments, but there is a LOT to digest here, and I often find it an overwhelming listen to try and devour it all. Probably a good idea!

      You have to give Maiden credit for doing it, and doing it right. I’m sure this will not be the last time we see a Maiden box set, but I doubt there will be another quite like Eddie’s Archive. I don’t know what this baby sells for today but it can’t be cheap. Your purchase was a wise one.

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      1. Yeah I just wouldn’t attempt to listen to it any other way. It would be too overwhelming. I find it’s often the case with Radio Sessions albums. You get loads of repeated songs and people complain but… they were never meant to be listened to that way. They are all individual concerts/sessions.
        Eddies Archive is one of my favourite box sets… but Maiden can bring out as many box sets as they like! i’ll get them all and I’m sure you would too! :)

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        1. My first and possibly still favourite box set is the original 4 CD Zeppelin. I think it is safe to assume that whenever Steve Harris decides to hang it up, Maiden will have oodles of material waiting to be boxed. From live stuff to the rest of those pesky B-sides, and of course some of those elusive Japanese releases, they could probably keep mining the vaults for worthwhile material ad infinitum.

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        2. But until then they can keep releasing live albums to their hearts content! Haha

          I don’t know what my very favourite box set is… In terms of number of listens; maybe The Misfits coffin shaped one.

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        3. I really like the Bon Jovi one too. Because it was all rare tracks, nothing in it I already had. It wasn’t all great stuff but as a “vault” set it was really well done. (A few more old live tracks from them would be appreciated though)

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        4. Also you have to love the Elvis-inspired cover art for that Jovi box! A Japanese version of that box has even more rarities but I’ve never seen one. With Jovi, I will never own “everything”. I doubt Jon even knows about “everything” as they has so damn much!

          I had a lot of their singles and have always found their B-sides worthwhile. “Borderline” is a great example. What a track. Their unreleased demos were also great — “Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore” being a great example of a song that maybe woulda shoulda coulda been on New Jersey.

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        5. I don’t even know about all that stuff. I’m really realising about all the songs I might have been missing out on by not buying singles… like the Coverdale one! And a cool Maiden-related one for next week (plug)!

          And what do the Japanese do to deserve all these bonus tracks by the way?

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        6. Maiden RELATED? I’m intrigued. Could be Bruce…could be A.S.a.P.? I have two A.S.a.P. singles which I’ll have to get around to talking about later.

          I talked about the Japanese stuff in a very early Record Store Tales but I can’t be bothered trying to figure out which one! Basically, the story is this: Japanese prices are so high, that it is cheaper for them to import in American discs. So the record companies offer extra songs on their domestic product to get them to buy it.

          Of course the side effect of this is making ME buy it too!

          I’m finding, and I’m sure you’d agree, that bonus tracks for different countries and different stores such as Amazon on whatnot have replaced the traditional B-sides.

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        7. I’m not saying…

          Ah, that explains the Japanese situation. Fair enough, I suppose. I do agree that all the bonus tracks have taken the place of the B-Side but it annoys me when you’ve to buy whole albums again just to get them. The KISS Monster thing. I bought the vinyl but I’m just not going to buy the whole album again on iTunes just to get one song. It’s just not worth it to me. Just my personal opinion, I know you bought that. If it’s worth it to you to get the song then go for it! It’s just not for me.

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        8. …and iTunes often will NOT let you buy just the one exclusive song. Sometimes they will. The Alive 1975-2000 box set allowed you to buy the bonus track. Heaven & Hell’s album allowed you to just buy the two bonus tracks. But the double dip can get annoying. Especially for a fellow like me who prefers a physical copy.

          I might do a top ten box set list of some kind. Might be fun.

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        9. A box set list (or series) would be a great idea. I love box sets!

          If you can download the single track then I don’t mind. But paying £8 for one song? No thanks. I should check iTunes more often for these bonus tracks, I rarely think to do it.

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  2. The Beast Over Hammersmith show is worth the price of admission esp with Total Eclipse as well included,man me and my bro listened to this on the way to see Maiden this past summer and man the band is cooking on this disc,they knew they were headed for the top.
    Great all around set of material on this box set….

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    1. You said it Deke. They knew they were heading for the top, you can hear the confidence bleeding out through the speakers. Once again thanks for you contribution…I wish I’d said that in my review!

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  3. Didn’t realize there was more than one pressing of this box set until I read your review. I’m happy to report that I have the original blue-lined version. Not a bad purchase for a guy who had just got into Maiden about 5 years earlier. I think I spent $99 (US), and it’s now worth a lot more than that…although I have no intention of selling it.

    I only collect every b-side by a handful of artists, and Maiden isn’t one of them, so having the b-sides disc in this collection is great for me. I know I’m missing a lot of their rarities but happy to have so many of them in one place. I haven’t listened to the live discs in a while, but I remember being blown away when I bought this set.

    I’m still amazed that these discs have never been released separately. Nearly every other band who’s released a box set like this has eventually succumbed to pressure from fans and record companies to milk even more money from the same product. Maiden should get a lot of credit for keeping this such a special collection.

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    1. $99 is a great price. Well worth it considering the wealth of music inside. I too am surprised it was never broken up to sell separately. I completely expected that considering how complete the three individual albums are. No complaints though.

      At this point Maiden could have attempted to rip their fans off many times off (look at how many times Ozzy has reissued his albums) but they seem to resist the temptation/pressure as much as possible.

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      1. The reason I got it for $99 was that I bought it the day it was released. I knew a box set like this would be a truly limited edition so I snapped it up and I’m glad I did. I can’t think of many artists (or record labels) who haven’t ripped off their fans, so Maiden gets a lot of credit for doing the right thing.

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        1. I doubt I could have found this box set anyway in town. I didn’t try, so I just went ahead and pre-ordered it from Amazon. I paid a lot more than you, but no regrets. Better to have than to have not!

          Rather than a reissue, I would rather see Maiden attempt a sequel. Perhaps later live material, and B-sides that didn’t make the first installment. (Are you listening Mr. Smallwood?)

          Funnily enough I wrote to Rod Smallwood before this box came out and asked if they would consider reissuing B-sides in a box set. He said, “Nope, been there done that!” And then they put this out a year or two later!

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  4. Firstly, a sequel would be a good idea-
    -Donington 2007
    -Piece of Mind tour or Somewhere in Time tour
    -Wembley 1990
    -Ed Hunter tour
    All great tours/shows in need of a live album/dvd

    Secondly, how on earth did you get through to Rod Smallwood?

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    1. The Rod thing was a Q&A. Somehow, one of my questions was selected. I was really thrilled. Same thing happened with Paul Stanley. I asked him how he and Bob Kulick kept in touch over the years being in different bands. He said it’s because New York is just like that — always running into your fellow musician friends at gigs etc.

      Yes, a sequel and I back all that stuff. But I don’t think a DVD is needed in a box set like this. I think for Maiden, they have shown a separate DVD release is a big deal when they do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s bloody annoying that they put Reading 1982 on BBC Archives. Not only is it covered elsewhere in the set, but it pushes the disc too far towards early stuff. Even an audio release of Dortmund 83 would have been better for balance (which actually hadn’t been released at all yet)

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