Without a doubt, I consider Iron Maiden to be the best heavy metal group in the history of metal. The main reason for this accolade is the fact that they are what I'd call a "complete band." They have all the basic elements of metal: great music, longevity, consistency, attitude, and image.
A central element of what makes their attitude and image so great is their mascot. Whether you call him "Eddie", "Eddie the Head", or whatever, his iconic image has characterised the band from the very beginning - and inspired other copycat mascots since.
|The Somewhere Back in Time tour|
Even before I was a metal fan, I still remember walking around the music store and being drawn to the album cover of the Number of The Beast record. The first time I saw on TV some Maiden concert footage with the big robot-looking Eddie on stage with the band I was mesmerised too.
The fact that Eddie changes form and is in general the malleable imaginative product of each album's theme, further increases his "cool" factor.
But the central element of Eddie's awesomeness is the fact that he typically presents himself in a threatening form. When James and I saw Maiden in concert at the O2 Arena in London during their Final Frontier tour, Eddie took the form of a gigantic mechanical glowing-eyed version of the Alien-Eddie from the album's cover. He even threw up the devil horns at the end of the concert with his hands. It was great!
This leads me to the subject of this blog entry: which Eddie is the toughest? What I mean is, if you had to pick a fight between the various Eddies, which one would prevail?
To run this experiment I've decided to stick only to the Eddies on the album covers, since there are so many additional Eddies to consider.
Notice that my "top 5" is purely about toughness, not my general like or dislike of the artwork or the album's music. My personal favourite Eddie is Trooper Eddie, but in this form he really only has a sword to work with - not a fair fight at all against Somewhere Back in Time Eddie who has a futuristic laser gun.
Coming in at #5 is Powerslave Eddie. Powerslave Eddie, while stationary since he's part of the facade of an Egyptian pyramid, seems to be able to call on the powers of the Egyptian gods - which is pretty threatening when you think about it. What makes this power tougher than some of the aforementioned Eddies is that Powerslave Eddie can tap into the supernatural. But what makes it #5 on the list, and not #1, is that the Egyptian gods might disregard Eddie's call. Still, Trooper Eddie and the like wouldn't stand a chance.
#4 is Final Frontier Eddie. Final Frontier Eddie is some sort of psychopathic alien who seems to have broken into a space station and killed members of some sophisticated alien race. His mobility and the cool glowing dagger in his right hand makes him tougher than the stationary and god-dependant Powerslave Eddie. Whoever the sophisticated alien spacemen were, they had the Iron Maiden skull and crossbones on the inside of their spaceship which means they were Iron Maiden fans. As such, they must have been able to put up one hell of a fight. Anyone that can make mincemeat out of space-travelling Iron Maiden fans must be pretty tough.
#3 is Brave New World Eddie. Brave New World Eddie is some sort of cloud monster hovering over a futuristic London - arguably the greatest city on earth. He looks like he basically controls the city, or at least threatens its destruction, which is a feat even Hitler couldn't accomplish. Unlike the Nazis though, my guess is the Royal Air Force would find it difficult to repel Eddie's destructive powers. Despite Final Frontier Eddie's prowess in space, I doubt he could similarly occupy the skies over London which makes Brave New World Eddie number three on my list.
#2 is Number of The Beast Eddie. Let's face it, anyone that can control Satan (or at least one of the devil's minions) as a puppeteer must be pretty tough. The only ambiguity is the fact that there are two Eddies on the cover: one above Satan and another small one that Satan is controlling. This could possibly indicate an infinite interplay of power between the devil and Eddie, which could be understood as a limiting factor or conversely as a source of infinite strength. For my ranking, I'm choosing to look at it in the latter way.
The Toughest Eddie
The #1 toughest Eddie is Dance of Death Eddie. Dance of Death Eddie is the Grim Reaper himself. He therefore can't die, can't be threatened, and can't be defeated. He isn't as physically dominating as the other Eddies, but his presence pervades everyone's life. He will, without fail, get us all in the end. This inevitability combined with his inviting calmness makes him Iron Maiden's toughest Eddie!