The Number Of The Beast Voted Best British Album Of The Last 60 Years

28 05 2012

Yes folks, the second album I ever bought (the first one was ‘Killers’) has been voted by the general public as being the best British record in six decades. I’ll always remember the first day I head ‘The Number Of The Beast.’ We were having a Christmas party in school and a friend of mine brought in his big brother’s copy of the album on tape. I was in Primary Five at the time, it was 1988 and I was nine and it fucking blew me away. A few weeks later I used the money my Granny gave me for Christmas to buy myself my own copy for £3.99 in Sounds Good in Newry (the tape is pictured below).

Now, ‘The Number Of The Beast’ isn’t my favourite Maiden album (that would be ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’) but I’ll always remember how I felt the first time I heard Bruce belt out ‘Invaders’ while I stood by the tape desk in Mr Bell’s class to make sure no-one put on shite like Michael Jackson instead, and it’s an absolutely seminal LP from start to finish and I’m happy that it’s getting the recognition it deserves.

Press release is below.Up the fucking Irons!

ron Maiden’s landmark Heavy Metal album of the Eighties The Number of the Beast has been voted the best British album of the past sixty years in a major survey of fans and the wider British public.

The Number of the Beast tops the album poll with a 9.2% share of the total albums vote — a potent reminder of the passion and loyalty of their fanbase and of Rock and Metal fans in particular.  See Notes to Editors for more details.

This landmark recording, which, to date, has sold over 14m copies worldwide and features the anthemic UK top-10 single Run To The Hills, is significant not only for giving the band their first UK no.1 album, but for the debut of their lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who comments: “We’re astonished and delighted to hear The Number of the Beast has been named No.1 in HMV’s Diamond Jubilee survey for the greatest British album category. Some of the most influential and classic albums from the past 60 years were in the running so it’s a testament to our incredibly loyal and ever-supportive fans who voted for us. Iron Maiden is a proudly British band, so to win this category as voted for by the British public, in Jubilee year, is very special.  Thank you to all our wonderful fans!

HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo, comments: “You often tend to see the same artists and albums dominate album polls, but with social media increasingly giving the most ardent and passionate fans a powerful voice, I think that’s all going to change, and so it’s no surprise that Iron Maiden have come out on top as their fans are renowned for being the most loyal and dedicated around.  Congratulations to Iron Maiden — we now know The Number Of The Beast is, I fact, ….1.

“The beginning of Elizabeth II’s reign, and the bright new future it represented, didn’t just coincide with a flowering of British popular culture, it helped to provide the very spark that lit the touch-paper for an explosion in music and film talent.  Since then, the Queen has presided over the richest period of cultural achievement in our nation’s history, so it’s only right that her Diamond Jubilee, which ironically also encapsulates sixty years of the official charts, should be a period when we reflect on the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades.”

The top 10 also features Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon — as voted for by Prime Minister
David Cameron in HMV’s poll, Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Oasis (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and the cultural phenomenon that is Adele’s 21, which is the only album currently in the Official UK Charts top-10 to make it into the poll.  Just outside of the top 10 are a number of other iconic artists/albums including Led Zeppelin IV, The Clash London Calling, David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, The Smiths The Queen is Dead,
Black Sabbath’s self-titled album, Radiohead OK Computer and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Featured in the top 30 are acclaimed albums from the likes of Take That, Elbow,
The Who, Coldplay, The Sex Pistols, Muse, Amy Winehouse, Joy Division and The Stone Roses.


Ronnie James Dio R.I.P.

19 05 2010

I’ve intended to write this blog since I heard the news on Sunday about Dio (one of my heroes) passing away from stomach cancer. I’ve put it off until today due to two factors-1) being utterly bummed out that I’ll never get to see him sing again and 2) (perhaps more sensibly) I had to get some deadlines out of the way.

I’m not going to retell Dio’s amazing life story here as you probably already know it (if you’re reading this and haven’t heard his work with Rainbow, Sabbath and indeed his solo stuff you should be ashamed of yourselves) but I will share with you a wee story about the day I became a Dio fan. I was roughly 8 or 9 and growing up in Newry in the late 80s. I wasn’t really like everyone else in my class who seemed to listen to Vanilla Ice and eat the rubbers off of their pencils for thrills. I loved Hammer Horror films, comics, action figures and anthemic, jaw droppingly good heavy metal.

I started out adoring Iron Maiden and Ozzy (while also picking through some of my parents old LP’s) but I wanted more. Being from a working class family meant my folks couldn’t afford all the albums I saw in Carlin Records and Sounds Good, so I did the next best thing-I got a library card, borrowed tapes and recorded them for my collection. Admittedly I ended up borrowing an absolute truck load  of absolute bollocks, but every now and again I got a gem and on this particular weekend I got ‘Holy Diver’ by Dio.

While I’d briefly heard the name, I hadn’t yet heard THE VOICE and chose the record purely on it’s cover (what 9 year old doesn ‘t love pictures of demons and priests getting their fuck knocked in?) and I took it home with me. As soon as the first verse of ‘Stand Up and Shout’ kicked in on my walkman I was utterly and irrevocably spellbound-immediately adding him to my unholy trinity of favourite warblers (Bruce Dickinson and Ozzy for those keeping score). I was so in love with ‘Holy Diver’ I listened to it every night after school for months. Instead of doing homework, I’d pop side 1 of the tape in and forget about the fact that myself and my brother were the only ones our age into this stuff.

As the years passed I got into other types of music, but Ronnie’s voice always did it for me. While Bruce and Ozzy let me down over the years, Dio never did and I will always love him for that. I finally got to see him live too and guess what? He played ‘Holy Diver’ in its entirity and his voice was as good as it ever was. Even better than that was how much passion he put into his performance, throwing the horns like the expert he was (hell, he did invent the gesture after all).

I’ll freely admit that I’m absolutely heart broken about the news Ronnie’s no longer with us. That’s how much this all means to me. But at least he’s left behind a huge legacy that proves he was one of the greatest of all time.

These days when I listen to my battered copy of ‘Holy Diver,’ I’m transported back to 1989 with the added bonus of not having to bother going to school. It’s a pretty good feeling I have to say and it’s as if the 12inch slab of wax is my own personal time machine. Yeah, I’m gutted I won’t get to see Dio do his thing fronting Heaven and Hell in Dublin on July 30 like originally planned, but I’m happy to see the great man remembered so fondly by the world in general.

Rest in Peace.

The Beat Poets

14 04 2009

I’ve always been a big fan of the Beat Poets and try to give them as much coverage as I can. They’ve a great work ethic, have their heads screwed on and are a kickass live band.Where is he going with this, I hear you cry.Well, their singer John has resurrected his blog ( and there’s a great video from their time in America last month on there. My favourite part is when guitarist Beefy Doran says Times Square reminds him of  “the Quays in the Town.” He’s wrong of course. There isn’t anything that even comes close to the Quays in  Newry.

Anyway, check out the video below and look for them on MySpace  The song ‘Bloodline’ is the business.