Personalities | Dave Murray | Iron Maiden to Icon 2 | Guitar Heroes

More than any other hard-rock or heavy-metal duo, Iron Maiden guitarists Adrian Smith and Dave Murray (b. 1956) set the standard for twin-guitar harmony lines and riffs. Indeed, their killer riffs and epic songs have helped to make Iron Maiden one of the most influential metal bands of all time.

Murray was born in Edmonton, England. Inspired by the early rock sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Free and Deep Purple, he got his first guitar at the age of 15 and started a band called Stone Free, which also happened to contain future Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith. In 1976, he met bassist Steve Harris, who asked him to join his fledgling metal band, Iron Maiden. Murray accepted the gig, but left almost immediately after, citing irreconcilable differences with singer Dennis Wilcock. Murray then rejoined Smith, this time in a metal band called Urchin. Together, they recorded one single, but when informed that Wilcock had left the band, Murray bolted back to Maiden.

In 1980, Iron Maiden released their eponymous debut, followed in 1981 by Killers. To this day, metal guitarists cite these two records as among the most influential metal albums of all time. But in terms of worldwide superstardom, it would be the arrival of singer Bruce Dickinson and Maiden’s subsequent amazing string of albums from 1982 to 1984, including Number Of The Beast (1982), Piece Of Mind (1983) and Powerslave (1984), that would put the band on top of the world.

During this time of exploding publicity and recognition, Murray began to garner ever-increasing coverage in guitar magazines and metal-based fanzines, his black 1957 Fender Strat ever present. Murray’s legato-fuelled lines proved technically proficient yet unpretentious, presenting aspiring guitarists with a ‘more metal’ yet robust alternative to the emerging neo-classical stylings of Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Iron Maiden has continued to release albums regularly (2010’s The Final Frontier is their latest), and the band’s appeal as a live act has never waned. From their 1984 World Slavery Tour, which saw them play 322 gigs in 20 countries over a 14-month period, to headlining festivals like Reading, Monsters Of Rock and Rock In Rio, Iron Maiden has by unofficial count entertained more fans than any band in music history. That is their, and Murray’s, greatest legacy.

Essential Recordings

Iron Maiden: Killers

Iron Maiden: Number Of The Beast

Iron Maiden: Piece Of Mind

Iron Maiden: Powerslave

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