Killers (Iron Maiden album)

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Studio album by Iron Maiden
Released 2 February 1981
Recorded Battery Studios, London, November 1980[1] – January 1981[2]
Genre Heavy metal
Length 41:18
Language English
Label EMI
Producer Martin "Headmaster" Birch
Iron Maiden chronology
Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast
Singles from Killers
  1. "Twilight Zone"
    Released: 2 March 1981
  2. "Purgatory"
    Released: 15 June 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[3]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5[4]

Killers is the second album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 2 February 1981 in the UK, and 6 June 1981 in the US. The album was their first with guitarist Adrian Smith and their last with vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who was sacked after problems with his stage performance arose due to his alcohol and cocaine use.[5] This was also the first Iron Maiden album made with veteran producer Martin Birch, who went on to produce their next eight albums before retiring after Fear of the Dark in 1992.

The song "Wrathchild" is the only regularly played track from the album, appearing in almost all their concert tours. The song was covered in 2003 by British metal band Sikth and featured as a b-side on their single "Scent of the Obscene".[6] The song was also covered in 2005 by female tribute band The Iron Maidens on their 2007 album Route 666 and again in 2008 by Gallows on the tribute CD Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden released by Kerrang! magazine.[7] "Wrathchild" was featured in the PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.[8]


Killers was the second and final Iron Maiden album with vocalist Paul Di'Anno

Killers is the only Iron Maiden album to feature two instrumentals and was written almost exclusively by Steve Harris,[9] with only minor assistance from the rest of the band (the title track and "Twilight Zone" being the only other songs to receive additional writing credits). Each song, with the exception of "Murders in the Rue Morgue", based on the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe,[10] and "Prodigal Son", had been written in the years prior to the recording of their debut album,[11] although none were recorded professionally until the Killers sessions, apart from "Wrathchild" (an early version recorded in 1979 was featured on the Metal for Muthas compilation).[11]

The US edition, which came out a few months after it did in the UK, was initially released on Harvest Records/Capitol Records and subsequently on Sanctuary Records/Columbia Records. "Twilight Zone" was also added to the album.

The Killer World Tour was the tour in support of the album and would feature the band's earliest shows in the US, the first being at The Aladdin, Las Vegas in support of Judas Priest.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Steve Harris, except where noted. 

Original UK release
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Ides of March" (instrumental)   1:46
2. "Wrathchild"     2:54
3. "Murders in the Rue Morgue"     4:18
4. "Another Life"     3:22
5. "Genghis Khan" (instrumental)   3:06
6. "Innocent Exile"     3:53
7. "Killers"   Paul Di'Anno, Harris 5:01
8. "Prodigal Son"     6:11
9. "Purgatory"     3:20
10. "Drifter"     4:48

The original Australian version of the album also includes the band's cover of Skyhooks' "Women in Uniform", which was previously released as a single in 1980.[13] The US Castle Records 1995 bonus disc contains several live tracks which originally appeared on the 1981 EP Maiden Japan.[14]


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[15][16]

Iron Maiden
Additional personnel

Chart performance[edit]


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[29] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[30] Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[31] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (GLF)[32] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[34] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 83. ISBN 0-946391-84-X. 
  2. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 88. ISBN 0-946391-84-X. 
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. Iron Maiden - Killers at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  4. ^ Stagno, Mike (27 June 2006). "Iron Maiden - Killers". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Saulnier, Jason (22 November 2012). "Paul Di’Anno Interview, Legendary Singer talks Life on the Road". Music Legends. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Sikth - Scent Of The Obscene". Discogs. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kerrang! Maiden Heaven Track Listing Revealed!". Kerrang!. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s: Complete List Of Songs Revealed". 4 July 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Doran, John (2005). "Murder Most Foul". Metal Hammer presents: Iron Maiden 30 Years of Metal Mayhem: 144. 
  10. ^ Brannigan, Paul. "Hack Job?". Kerrang! Legends (2): 26–27. 
  11. ^ a b Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 183. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  12. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 251. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  13. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers 1981 Australian LP". Discogs. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers 1995 US 2CD". Discogs. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Iron Maiden (2 February 1981). "Album credits". Killers Booklet. EMI. 
  16. ^ Iron Maiden (1998). "Album credits". Killers (remastered) Booklet. EMI. 
  17. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers". Ö3 Austria Top 40 (in German). Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  18. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers". Media Control Charts (in German). Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers (album)". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers". VG-lista. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "Iron Maiden - Killers". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  22. ^ "1981 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive - 28 February 1981". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers - Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  24. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers (album)". IFPI Greece. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "UK Singles Archive- 21 March 1981". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  26. ^ "Iron Maiden Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "UK Albums Archive- 3 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  28. ^ "UK Albums Archive- 10 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Iron Maiden – Killers". Music Canada. 30 January 1991. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "French album certifications – Iron Maiden – Killers" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 1993. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Iron Maiden; 'Killers')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  32. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Iron Maiden – Killers". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 April 2013.  Enter Killers in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Iron Maiden – Killers". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 26 April 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH