Eddie is the most identifiable mascot in all of heavy metal. Thanks to megastars Iron Maiden putting their zombified figurehead on every album, single and t-shirt they can, Mr The Head has become an icon within the genre – not to mention a symbol of its rebellion and love for the macabre to everyone else. Eddie also, according to Bruce Dickinson, is such a cool image that he’ll keep Maiden badass well into their old age.
In a 2004 interview with Banger Films (embedded below), the frontman explains: “I’ve only ever seen Eddie as a member of the band. He’s a huge figure of entertainment and almost an alter ego for the band.
“As a band, we don’t do most of those ‘heavy metal’-type things,” he continues. “If your image is ‘I’m a loud, crazy rocker’ and you suddenly turn up with a wife and two kids, it’s like, ‘Ha! Gotcha! You’re not a loud, crazy rocker at all! You’re a fake!’
“Eddie’s great because we don’t have to pretend at all. We can be exactly who we are. I don’t have to go out with a raft of piercings and covered head to toe in tattoos, not because I want to, but because I have to to maintain the image. Eddie does that on our behalf. In fact, he does it so much better than we could ever do it, and he can do it for eternity.
“When we’re all so haggard and crap-looking that we’d never dare put our pictures on an album cover because people would laugh, we can still be making decent music – just put Eddie on the front!”
Because of his enduring badassery, Eddie has been the central image among Maiden’s fanbase for upwards of 40 years. He debuted during live shows before 1980’s Iron Maiden album and has taken on all manner of forms and occupations since, from an asylum patient to a futuristic cyborg. The band may have grown greyer since the halcyon days, but Eddie still looks as threatening as ever.