In memoriam: Clive Burr (1957-2013)

We learned today that original Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr passed away. He had been suffering for years from multiple sclerosis.

Burr’s drumming can be heard on the first 3 Iron Maiden albums (Iron Maiden, Killers and The Number of the Beast). His distinctive style gave these albums a flavour of their own, with fills you can air drum along, and a swagger that was a big part of their early sound.

To me Clive’s shining moment is Hallowed Be Thy Name (ironically the last track of the his last album with the band). All the fills are memorable and are as much part of what makes the song amazing as the guitar riffs, the thumping bass and the soaring vocals. Whenever this song comes up, I can’t stop myself from air drumming along. I was so disappointed when that song came to Rock Band as a live version. Nicko McBrain is a great drummer (probably superior to Burr) but his version of this song doesn’t have the cohesion of the original.

His sole co-writing credit with Iron Maiden was the ill-loved Gangland from The Number of the Beast. The pseudo-jazz groove probably turned off some metalheads, but I love that song! I used to play in an Iron Maiden tribute band, and we played the entire album. Gangland (and Invaders) always surprised the crowd, and were really fun to play.


RIP Clive. Thanks for the music. I’ll crank up those 3 albums in your memory.


Jean-Frederic Vachon
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