Iron Maiden played their final concert with singer Paul Di’Anno on Sept. 10, 1981, in Copenhagen, though few were aware of the already-decided split at the time.
News of Di’Anno’s dismissal was soon followed by the announcement of his immediate replacement in former Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson. This split with a figure who had graced Iron Maiden’s first two albums, numerous singles and countless shows over the previous three years came as a shock to many fans – and even well-informed media outside the group’s tight-knit inner circle.
For those inside it, however, the drastic change had been a long time coming. All Iron Maiden founder, bassist and chief songwriter Steve Harris had to do was muster the courage to pull the trigger on removing his band’s very popular and talented frontman. It is, after all, a gamble that very few rock bands have undertaken and survived.
As far back as February 1981, when Iron Maiden were riding the largely positive reaction to their impressive sophomore album, Killers, Harris’ patience with Di’Anno’s increasingly reckless partaking of the rock-star lifestyle was beginning to wear thin. In fact, the bassist would later say he’d harbored doubts about the strength of Di’Anno’s commitment to their cause almost from the start of their musical relationship, back in August 1978. MORE