As anyone who watched our recently shared footage of Iron Maiden miming on a German TV show knows, the British metal icons aren’t exactly fond of being asked to fake their songs on live television, and it’s hardly the best way to witness some of the greatest heavy metal anthems ever written being played regardless.
Still, one intrepid YouTuber named Master Noise Present has managed to get hold of some rare 80s footage of Maiden doing exactly that on now-extinct Australian music chart show Countdown, upscaling the video so spectacularly that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was shot last week and just fed through a slightly retro-looking post-production filter.
performing The Number Of The Beast, the title track from the 1982 record that would change Maiden’s career – and indeed heavy metal – forever, the band don’t quite take the piss as wholeheartedly as on that aforementioned German show, but we certainly still have some questions. Do we spy Steve Harris starting the song just a fraction after it actually starts playing? Is Bruce Dickinson trying to put poor Steve off his stride by smashing into him and wrapping himself around the legendary bassist? And who the hell is operating that big, 2D Iron Maiden-era Eddie at the back?
Anyway, you can watch the footage below.
The Number Of The Beast was released as a single 40 years ago today, causing widespread panic amongst Christian America with its devilish subject matter, which was deemed blasphemous by certain religious groups who would begin to protest Maiden’s shows.
In reality, the song was inspired by 1978 horror Damian: Omen IIwhich gave Maiden founder and chief songwriter Harris nightmares after viewing, and Robert Burns’ supernatural 1790 poem Tam O’Shanter. The track would reach a respectable 18 in the UK album charts, before reaching number 3 twice after two reissues in 1990 and 2005.
Iron Maiden take their Legacy Of The Beast tour back on the road this summer. No miming needed.