Seen on the Green
Famous Faces From Chingford
by Thom Goddard
This Month: Paul Di’Anno
A lead singer has to be the front man for any band. Always prominent, standing ahead of the other musicians he or she sets the tone for how a group is perceived. Only Paul Di’Anno can know how he became the lead singer for “Killers”, “Gogmagog”, “Battlezone”, “Nomad” and “Iron Maiden”.
Paul Andrews was born in Chingford on 17 May 1958. His school years were not spectacular but his voice supposedly earned him respect in a local Chingford choir. However, Paul chose not to continue with classical music and spent his teenage years singing in East London-based rock bands. To pay the bills Paul worked at a local butcher in Chingford Mount.
In 1975 Leytonstone-born bass player Steve Harris created a heavy metal rock band and found the perfect name after reading about a torture device in Alexandre Dumas’ “The Man in the Iron Mask” - Iron Maiden. The band had a difficult start with Harris firing 3 singers before a chance meeting in the Red Lion pub in Leytonstone in 1978. Paul had already changed his surname Andrews to Di’Anno and was singing with another band that night but gave a quick, impromptu audition for Steve Harris at the Red Lion and joined Iron Maiden. Harris has said: "There's sort of a quality in Paul's voice, a raspiness in his voice, or whatever you want to call it, that just gave it this great edge".
Amazingly Iron Maiden had only played live so on New Year’s Eve 1978 the band recorded their first EP, “The Soundhouse Tapes”. This proved so popular all 5 thousand copies sold in a week. In 1979 Iron Maiden signed to EMI Records and in 1980 the self-titled album release “Iron Maiden” went to Number 4 in the UK album charts. This album made Paul and Iron Maiden the leading proponents of the ‘new wave of Heavy Metal’ which has lead to modern genres such as thrash metal and speed metal music.
Unfortunately Paul left Iron Maiden 1981 but has since created many successful heavy metal bands. He doesn’t live in Chingford any more but does still tour all over the UK. So do keep a look out for anyone you meet in the Mount or have seen on the Green!
If you spot anyone contact: email@example.com