Eddie is the name
of British heavy metal
band Iron Maiden
. He appears on all their album covers
and on most of their single covers
. During an Iron Maiden
live show, a 12' high Eddie usually comes walking on stage
during a song
(often during "The Evil That Men Do
"), and a massive 20' high figure
, which usually is the highlight
of an Iron Maiden show.
The original Eddie was just this theatrical mask. You can kind of see it in the band photos on the first album and on the "Running Free" single picture sleeve. It's a face right next to the band logo. It was connected to a pump that would spurt out various kinds of liquids and it would drool all over Doug Sampson or Clive Burr or whoever was at the drums that time. People would also try to sling stuff into it. Its full name was "Eddie The Head" (Edward T.H. on the Live After Death cover) and it comes from the following old joke:
Eddie was born with no body and no arms and no legs. Just a head. But despite this slight birth defect his parents loved him very much cared for him and were always giving him all these presents like hats and blow things at parties and other cool stuff. So on his sixteenth birthday they run into a doctor that says "Hey, I can give Eddie a body" so the parents are going totally nuts because finally their kid can have a body and be like other normal people. They go home and are really excited and say "Have we got a surprise for you. It's the best present ever!" and Eddie says "Oh, no, not another fucking hat!"
By the time of them being signed to EMI Records, they got Derek Riggs to do cover artwork. The first was the cover
to the "Running Free" single, and you see that zombie in the back missing an arm (which somehow is in front of a guy who looks a lot like Bruce Dickinson running away from that zombie). The band liked the zombie guy so much that the name Eddie was transferred over to the zombie when they lost that mask with the pump.
Through the years, Eddie has been through a lot of changes. On the first Iron Maiden album (1980), he was merely a head. On the "Killers" album (1981), he murders someone with an axe. On the cover of "The Number Of The Beast" (1982), Eddie is in hell pulling the Devil's strings.
On "Piece Of Mind" (1983), Eddie is in a padded cell, probably in a sanitarium. You can see that his head was cut open to have his brain removed. The metal plate on his forehead connects the upper part of the skull with the rest of his head. On 1984's "Powerslave", Eddie is shown as an Egyptian faraoh, who is about to be buried in a pyramid, which has a huge sculpture of Eddie on it. Eddie rises from the grave on 1995's live album, called "Live After Death".
1986's "Somewhere In Time" depicts Eddie in the future, when he has several bodyparts replaced with cybernetics, and once again it looks like he has just killed someone. On the frontcover of "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" (1988), Eddie is shown floating above water in an icy environment. The top of his head is missing, and looks like it's on fire. The bottom half of his body is missing too, and he's holding his stomach in his hand.
Then comes 1990's "No Prayer For The Dying", in which we see Eddie coming out of a tomb, grabbing a guy by his jaw. On the 1998 re-release of this album, the artwork has been modified so the guy is missing, and Eddie just comes bursting out of a grave.
In 1992, Eddie has changed drastically. This time he is depicted as a creature coming out of a tree, on the cover of the "Fear Of The Dark" album. This is the first albumcover that was not drawn by Derek Riggs. It was drawn by Melvyn Grant. Riggs did return for the covers for 1993's "A Real Live One", on which Eddie breaks a power cable. On "A Real Dead One" (1993), Eddie is a dj, playing on 666 FM.
1995 saw the first Iron Maiden album cover which was not a drawing, but a photograph. "The X Factor" depicts Eddie being tortured. For the American market an alternate coverpicture was made, because the original one was apparently too shocking. The alternate cover shows Eddie from further away, in an electric chair. Both covers were made by Hugh Syme, using sculptures and computer generated images.
For the "Best Of The Beast" album from 1996, Derek Riggs combined most of the previous covers into one picture, with a number of Eddie's running towards the front with all sorts of horrible weapons in their hands. The cover of "Virtual XI" (1998) was once again drawn by Melvyn Grant. It shows Eddie in an apocalyptic world, where a boy is wearing a virtual reality helmet, and Eddie reaches out to grab him. "Ed Hunter" (1999), a computer game which also came with 20 of Iron Maiden's best songs, shows a computer generated image of Eddie, with chains around his wrists and neck.
The cover of "Brave New World" (2000) shows a futuristic version of London, with Eddie's face watching over it in the clouds.