Iron Maiden: Pioneers of band graphic artwork

Eddie The Head, Derek Riggs, hidden messages and The Final Frontier

Heavy metal’s identity is rooted almost as deeply in its imagery as the music itself, and British pioneers Iron Maiden were (and some band members still are) proud exponents of the long hair, ripped-denim, spandex and leather uniform of the '80s. Maiden’s image, however, is all the more enduring - and somewhat remarkably for a heavy metal band, endearing - thanks to the most famous band mascot of all time, Eddie The Head.

Originally designed by Derek Riggs, adopted by the band, and brought to life as a blood-drooling mask at the back of the stage; Eddie’s been a perennial, zombie-like fixture at almost every gig, and on almost every Maiden release since 1980’s debut single, Running Free.

As you’ll see from the following celebration of Iron Maiden’s gloriously gruesome, benchmark-setting artwork, Eddie has evolved along with the band and their musical direction. From lobotomised street-prowling urchin to Satan-battling, time-travelling cyborg - Ed’s 30-year coming of age has been a painful yet compelling journey.

Go to MusicRadar relive the band’s impressively graphic back catalogue. All the quotes from Derek Riggs come courtesy of his excellent online portfolio (a veritable hive of insights from the designer himself), while massive props must go to top fan sites Maiden World and Iron Maiden Wallpaper for sharing all the hidden messages and hi-res artwork you could wish for. Go visit them now.