You Say It's Your Birthday: Iron Maiden's Steve Harris

Iron Maiden album cover art.

Today is the birthday of Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris,

who was born in 1957 in London, England. Iron Maiden served as one of the

pioneers for the heavy metal movement which came into full swing in the mid- to

-late-80s, influencing a generation of guitar-wielding rockers.

Founded in

1976, the group originally included Harris, vocalist Paul Di'anno, guitarist

Dave Murray and drummer Doug Sampson. Iron Maiden's major label-debut, Iron

Maiden, went to #5 in the UK. Harris wrote most of the songs himself,

filling them with horrific imagery and Satanic references.

In 1982 Di'anno

was replaced by Bruce Dickinson, whose wailing voice led the band into greater

success both in the UK and America. Albums like 1982's The Number of the

Beast and 1986's Somewhere in Time sold well, especially considering

the band was denied radio and MTV exposure. But with 1988's Seventh Son of a

Seventh Son sales began to slip.

Iron Maiden survived numerous lineup

changes (Harris and Dickinson remained the core of the group), but when

Dickinson left in 1993 the group lost its appeal to most fans. The singer went

on to write novels; his replacement was Blaze Bayley. Iron Maiden's most recent

album is 1994's Balls to Picasso

Other birthdays: Al Jarreau, Paul

Kantner (Jefferson Airplane), James Taylor, Mike Gibbins (Badfinger), Marlon

Jackson (Jackson 5), Tony Terry, Josina Elder (For Real), Graham Coxon (Blur),

Joya (R&B Female solo artist) and Kelle Bryan (Eternal). -- Beth Winegarner