Bruce Dickinson joined Iron Maiden in 1981 and recorded the heavy metal classic The Number Of The Beast shortly after with the band. Now in an interview with Heavy Consequence, Dickinson reveals his biggest influence prior to recording The Number Of The Beast was the 1976 album Rising by Rainbow. Rainbow's lineup for that record included Ronnie James Dio on vocals and then ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, as well as bassist Jimmy Bain (Dio, Phil Lynott), drummer Cozy Powell (Dio, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, etc.), and keyboardist Tony Carey.
"I think the last album – well for me anyway – the last album that really was a big influence on me, before The Number Of The Beast was born is probably [Rising by Rainbow]. You know, when you got to hear Ronnie in full, full throat, and Blackmore playing his pants off, and 'Stargazer', and you're going, 'Oh, my God, nobody's done this in metal before! Wow, this is just incredible! Here's somewhere to go.' And then Ronnie joined Sabbath and, of course, Heaven And Hell is another classic. So, I think that Maiden, the The Number Of The Beast album, offered a kind of a bridge between the two worlds, you know?
"And, of course, we were very young, and we played very fast. And we were very aggressive. And we were like 'ahh!' which those other, slightly older classic bands didn't have because it wasn't who they were. But Maiden was a different animal. We were so fierce and snarling and snapping at everybody, and it was great."
The Number Of The Beast turned 40 years old on March 22 of this year, which Iron Maiden celebrated by publishing a series of historic photographs.