Like almost every band ever, Iron Maiden’s output depends heavily on their singer.

But there are more than four phases to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal icons’ extensive catalog, and more subtle influences at work behind the fronts provided by singers Paul Di’Anno, Bruce Dickinson, Blaze Bayley and Dickinson again.

Their 1980 self-titled debut was mostly built from a set of songs that bandleader Steve Harris had planned to be recorded by other artists. By Killers they’d secured a distinct approach somewhere between Thin Lizzy and British punk, before Dickinson inspired a move of Biblical proportions in 1982’s The Number of the Beast. The epic turn ramped up steeply through the classic period of the mid to late ‘80s until a sudden and confused “back to basics” punt with 1990’s No Prayer for the Dying and the better-but-not-good-enough follow-up, Fear of the Dark.

Bayley’s arrival heralded a much darker, and also less popular, feel as the band and fans struggled with something of a midlife crisis. Dickinson’s return for Brave New World seemed to signal a return to ‘80s greatness. And while that was the case in many ways, Maiden gradually but gratefully began to fully embrace the prog element that had always been there, and do so to this day.

Selecting one song from each of their 16 albums as “the best” can be challenging because there’s almost always a certain level of quality across the writing of each LP – Maiden very much being a band that embraces the album format. While there can be some doozies, there are almost always at least two, and usually more, candidates for the Best Song From Every Iron Maiden Album.

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