CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED
22 ACACIA AVENUE
THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
RUN TO THE HILLS
HALLOWED BE THY NAME
The Number of the Beast is a heavy metal album released in 1982 (see 1982 in music) by Iron Maiden on EMI in the UK and originally Harvest Records/Capitol Records in the U.S. (now on Sanctuary Records/Columbia Records). IGN named it the third greatest Heavy Metal album of all time. Metal-Rules.com named this the second greatest heavy metal album of all time. The album is also a part of EMI's "Albums That Shaped Rock History" series. This was the band's third studio album and debut of vocalist Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden.
Of all the songs in the album, "The Number of the Beast," "Run to the Hills" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" remain on the set lists of nearly all of the band's concert tours, with the latter two often used to close a show. All three songs have been released as singles in various forms.
The Beast on the Road was the tour supporting the album.
Even though Iron Maiden were on the brink of worldwide superstardom after their breakthrough second album, Killers, vocalist Paul Di'Anno left the band at the conclusion of its 1981 world tour. The Number of the Beast thus marked Bruce Dickinson's debut with the band. Though the recording process was successful, it was plagued with bizarre events - during the making of the album, record producer Martin Birch had been in an accident and crashed his car into one driven by a "religious nutter" on a rainy Sunday evening. When he got his car back from the mechanic the bill came back in the exact amount of £666.66. Birch, "terrified", demanded the bill be rounded up to £667. Also, the title track reached number 18 in the UK charts - the sum of three sixes. Other stories about various strange occurrences at the recording studio have circulated, such as equipment randomally breaking down and lights turning off and on by themselves.
The album made UK Number 1, with the single "Run to the Hills" reaching number 7 and the title track reaching number 18. On the Billboard Music Charts, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" hit number 50 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The album peaked at number 33 and number 150 on the Pop Albums and Billboard Top 200, respectively and went Gold in the U.S. in 1983 and Platinum a few years later.
The album was also the centre of much controversy, particularly in America, due to the lyrics of the title track and the cover art depicting Satan. This cover art was originally intended for an earlier single, "Purgatory", but the band felt the cover was too high of caliber for just a single and a less complex image was used for the single instead. The album's cover art has been parodied several times - by crossover thrash band Stormtroopers of Death for the cover art of their 1999 album Bigger Than the Devil, and on a T-shirt by underground New York Hip Hop Label Uncle Howie Records *Streetwear brand Diamond Supply Co. parodied the album cover for a shirt in their line. Nick Tershay, founder of Diamond is reported to having had to pay $50,000 due to the parody being too close to the original art work.
It was widely panned by mainstream media upon its release, including Rolling Stone, who claimed that it "blusters along aimlessly, proving again that bad music is hell." However, the album is now viewed by many as a classic - it was ranked number 17 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine's list of the greatest 100 guitar albums of all time, and in 2000 Q magazine placed the album at number 100 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever, and a year later the same magazine named it as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time. The BBC made a documentary of this album in their Classic Albums series.
Many of the songs on the album have been covered by other metal bands; New York progressive metal band Dream Theater covered the album as a whole several times on an international tour in 2002.
The album has also been used in several video games - "Run to the Hills" is featured on SSX on Tour as the opening theme. A cover version is included in the video game Rock Band. "The Number of the Beast" is included as a master track in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and a cover version is available as a downloadable track in Rock Band. Incidentally, both spoofed "22 Acacia Avenue"; in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the first venue is 22 Arcadia Avenue and Rock Band features a venue located at 22 Acadia Avenue.
Since this album (and its tour, Beast on the Road), "The Beast" has become something of a nickname for the band and possibly Eddie, as suggested by albums such as Best of the Beast (which featured a 'best of Eddie' mural on the cover), Beast over Hammersmith, and the DVD Visions of the Beast.
This album is the only one to feature song writing by drummer Clive Burr. This is one of several reasons why the album was so different from previous ones other than the obvious change in lead singer. It was the first album with writing by Adrian Smith (see below track listing for details), and the first to feature writing by the 'new' Steve Harris (his older style had been written for different musicians, and in a different time) - the entire writing system was different. However, it is one of the few albums not to feature a Dave Murray song, and the first album not to feature an instrumental.