Clive Burr, best known as the drummer on Iron Maiden's first three albums, died on 12 March 2013 at the age of 56. He had primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Clive Burr was born on 8 March 1957 in Manor Park in London’s East End. He took to drumming at a young age, even building his own drum kit as a boy. He performed with the band Maya for a time before joining the band Samson in 1977. He remained with the band until 1978. It was in 1979 that he joined Iron Maiden. He appeared on the band's debut EP The Soundhouse Tapes, released in November of that year. Iron Maiden released their eponymous debut album in April 1980. The album not only received critical acclaim, but produced a hit single in the form of "Running Free (which went to #34 on the UK singles chart)."
Iron Maiden followed the success of Iron Maiden with their second album, Killers. Killers proved very successful, reaching #12 on the UK albums chart and #78 on the U.S. albums chart. It also produced a hit single in the form of "Twilight Zone," which went to #31 on the UK singles chart. It would be their third album, The Number of the Beast, that would establish Iron Maiden as one of the premiere heavy metal bands to emerge from the United Kingdom. The album reached #1 on the UK albums chart and #33 on the Billboard albums chart in the United States. The album produced the hit singles "Run to the Hills" and "The Number of the Beast," both of which hit the top twenty of the UK singles chart.
After three albums with Iron Maiden, Clive Burr was asked to leave the band for reasons that still remain unclear. He played for a time in the French band Trust. In 1983 he was a member of the initial line up of Alcatrazz, remaining with the band for only a week. From reports he left the band after learning it was going to be based in the United States as opposed to England. He was a member of the British supergroup Gogmagog, which featured former Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno as well. They only released one EP, I Will Be There, in 1985. Clive Burr also formed his own band. Initially called "Clive Burr's Escape," it was later renamed "Stratus" and included former members of Praying Mantis. Stratus released one album, Throwing Shapes, in 1985. In the Nineties he performed with both Elixir and Praying Mantis, although he was never officially a member of either band.
It was in 1994 that Clive Burr was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The disease would eventually affect his drumming skills and in the end he was confined to a wheelchair.
Clive Burr was arguably one of the best drummers to emerge from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. He had a particularly powerful drumming style, strong and often complex. It was in many ways the perfect compliment to Iron Maiden's guitar harmonies. While he was with the band for only their first three albums, it was his drumming that helped shape the sound of the band for the rest of their career. In turn Clive Burr would also influence a generation of heavy metal drummers, from Machine Head's Dave McClain to Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall.