Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop, Butcher Crew! It’s ya girl, The Saw. And I come to you today with a Metal history lesson. One which I referenced in a recent Album Review: Iron Maiden’s, Senjutsu. Let’s circle back to the many variations – the evolution – of Iron Maiden’s famous mascot, Eddie.
Eddie began as a papier-mâché mask that the band used as a stage prop; “The Head,” as the band called it. An illustration by Derek Riggs became “Eddie,” in his first iteration, in February 1980. Eddie was featured on the band’s debut album in April 1980, and has appeared on every album cover ever since. He hadn’t left the stage, either; at first, someone with an Eddie mask and a leather jacket would appear for certain songs as the band played. Later, as Iron Maiden became more successful, Eddie became a more sophisticated stage prop –a full-body costume for stage appearances, and a huge mechanical presence behind the drum kit that is almost the size of the entire stage.
Today, the band have hired many different artists to depict Eddie, which contributes to his evolution. Eddie’s image has been transferred to video games, to the tail of Iron Maiden’s touring plane, and he is used in no less than 70 illustrations – from album covers to singles released by the band. Today, I want to focus on Eddie as he appears on Iron Maiden’s studio album covers (*with one exception).
Iron Maiden – 1980, the debute album
Killers – 1981, Eddie, fittingly, is a killer. One of the most iconic images of Eddie
The Number of the Beast – 1982, Eddie is the Devil’s puppet master, with the Devil controlling a puppet of Eddie
Piece of Mind – 1983, the iconic image of a lobotomized Eddie; the mental patient
Powerslave – 1984, the statue of the Egyptian God, Eddie
*Live After Death – 1985, resurrected Eddie (my favorite Eddie image!)
Somewhere in Time – 1986, cyborg Eddie (he will appear in this form again on the compilation album, Somewhere Back in Time, 2008, where he is bursting out of the statue of Egyptian God Eddie)
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son – 1988, the surreal Eddie of the broken mind
No Prayer for the Dying – 1990, the re-resurrected Eddie. The original cover depicts him strangling a grave digger as he climbs out of the grave. The grave digger was removed in 1998s remastered release.
Fear of the Dark – 1992, tree Eddie! The twisted Eddie of nightmares
The X Factor – 1995, let the experiments begin; eviscerated Eddie
Virtual XI – 1998 – a completely new image of Eddie, the anti-hero of virtual reality
Brave New World – 2000, originally, Eddie appears in the smoke from a burning Wicker Man, but later illustrations depict Smoke Eddie looming over a futuristic London
Dance of Death – 2003, Grim Reaper Eddie
A Matter of Life and Death – 2006, leader of the Army of the Dead Eddie
The Final Frontier – 2010, a very different image of Eddie, extraterrestrial Eddie
The Book of Souls –2015, Eddie of Mayan Civilization (a return to an historical image of Eddie)
Senjustu – 2021, Samurai Eddie
There are many great images of Eddie that the band commissioned for various occasions and promotions other than Studio Albums Eddie. You should really check them out sometime!