Killers (Iron Maiden album)

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Iron Maiden Killers.jpg
Studio album by
Released2 February 1981 (1981-02-02)
RecordedNovember 1980[1] – January 1981[2]
StudioBattery (London)
GenreHeavy metal
ProducerMartin Birch
Iron Maiden studio albums chronology
Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast
Singles from Killers
  1. "Twilight Zone" / "Wrathchild"
    Released: 2 March 1981
  2. "Purgatory"
    Released: 15 June 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal9/10[4]
The Daily VaultA−[7]

Killers is the second studio album by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was first released on 2 February 1981 in the United Kingdom by EMI Records and on 6 June in the United States by Harvest and Capitol Records. The album was their first with guitarist Adrian Smith, and their last with vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who was fired after problems with his stage performances arose due to his alcohol and cocaine use.[8] Killers was also the first Iron Maiden album recorded with producer Martin Birch, who went on to produce their next eight albums until Fear of the Dark (1992).


Killers was the second and final Iron Maiden album with vocalist Paul Di'Anno (shown here in 2008)

Killers is the only Iron Maiden album to feature two instrumentals. It was written almost exclusively by Steve Harris;[9] only "Twilight Zone" and the title track are cowritten.

Bar "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (based on the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe)[10] and "Prodigal Son", the songs were written in the years prior to the recording of their debut album.[11] No songs were recorded professionally until the Killers sessions, with the exception of "Wrathchild" (a version recorded in 1979 was featured on the Metal for Muthas compilation).[11]

"The Ides of March" is nearly identical to "Thunderburst", by fellow British NWOBHM band Samson, who featured a pre-Maiden Bruce Dickinson on vocals; however, "The Ides of March" was written during the brief time in 1977 in which future Samson drummer Thunderstick was a member of Iron Maiden. While Harris took sole credit for "The Ides of March", "Thunderburst" is credited to Harris and all four members of Samson's Head On line-up, Bruce Bruce, aka Bruce Dickinson, Chris Aylmer, Paul Samson, and Thunderstick, aka Barry Purkis.

Killers spent eight weeks on the UK chart.[12] The North American edition, which came out a few months later, was initially released on Harvest Records/Capitol Records and subsequently on Sanctuary Records/Columbia Records. The song "Twilight Zone" was added to the album.

The Killer World Tour featured the band's first US shows, beginning at The Aladdin, Las Vegas, in support of Judas Priest.[13] Subsequently, "Wrathchild" is the only regularly played track from the album, appearing in almost all their tours.

"The Ides of March" is Maiden's shortest song and serves as an intro to their fourth-shortest song, "Wrathchild".

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Steve Harris, except where noted.

Side one
1."The Ides of March" (instrumental)1:48
3."Murders in the Rue Morgue"4:14
4."Another Life"3:22
5."Genghis Khan" (instrumental)3:02
6."Innocent Exile"3:50
Side two
8."Prodigal Son" 6:05
9."Purgatory" 3:18
10."Drifter" 4:47
Total length:38:18
Side two – North American edition
  • Di'Anno
  • Harris
8."Twilight Zone"2:33
9."Prodigal Son" 6:05
10."Purgatory" 3:18
11."Drifter" 4:47
Total length:40:51
Side two – Australian edition[14]
  • Di'Anno
  • Harris
8."Women in Uniform" (Skyhooks cover)Greg Macainsh3:07
9."Prodigal Son" 6:05
10."Purgatory" 3:18
11."Drifter" 4:47
Total length:41:25
1995 UK reissue bonus disc
1."Twilight Zone"
  • Murray
  • Harris
2."Women in Uniform" (Skyhooks cover)Macainsh3:07
3."Invasion" 2:38
4."Phantom of the Opera" (live) 6:55
Total length:15:13
1995 US reissue bonus disc[15]
1."Women in Uniform" (Skyhooks cover)Macainsh3:07
2."Invasion" 2:38
3."Phantom of the Opera" (live) 6:55
4."Running Free" (live; from Maiden Japan)
  • Harris
  • Di'Anno
5."Remember Tomorrow" (live; from Maiden Japan)
  • Harris
  • Di'Anno
6."Wrathchild" (live; from Maiden Japan) 2:52
7."Killers" (live; from Maiden Japan)
  • Harris
  • Di'Anno
8."Innocent Exile" (live; from Maiden Japan) 3:46
Total length:32:59
1998 remastered edition
1."The Ides of March" (instrumental) 1:46
2."Wrathchild" 2:55
3."Murders in the Rue Morgue" 4:19
4."Another Life" 3:23
5."Genghis Khan" (instrumental) 3:09
6."Innocent Exile" 3:54
  • Harris
  • Di'Anno
8."Prodigal Son" 6:12
9."Purgatory" 3:20
10."Twilight Zone"
  • Murray
  • Harris
11."Drifter" 4:49
Total length:41:21


The song "Wrathchild" was covered in 2003 by the English metal band Sikth and featured as a B-side on their single "Scent of the Obscene".[16] The song was also covered in 2005 by female tribute band The Iron Maidens on their 2007 album Route 666, by Gallows on the 2008 tribute CD Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden released by Kerrang! magazine, and by Six Feet Under on the reissue of their 1999 album Maximum Violence.[17] "Wrathchild" was featured in the PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.[18]


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[19][20]

Iron Maiden[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[36] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[37] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[38] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (GLF)[39] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[41] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


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  2. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-946391-84-4.
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. Iron Maiden - Killers at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
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  7. ^ McDonald, Riley (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Killers". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  8. ^ Saulnier, Jason (22 November 2012). "Paul Di'Anno Interview, Legendary Singer talks Life on the Road". Music Legends. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  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 978-1-86074-542-3.
  12. ^ The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, 1996 edition
  13. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 251. ISBN 978-1-86074-542-3.
  14. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers 1981 Australian LP". Discogs. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers 1995 US 2CD". Discogs. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Sikth - Scent of the Obscene". Discogs. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Kerrang! Maiden Heaven Track Listing Revealed!". Kerrang!. 25 June 2008. Archived from the original on 2 May 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  18. ^ "Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s: Complete List of Songs Revealed". 4 July 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  19. ^ Killers (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 2 February 1981.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  20. ^ Killers Remastered (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 1998.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
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  22. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 166. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
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  28. ^ "Iron Maiden Chart History". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
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  30. ^ "2020/22. heti Album Top 40 slágerlista" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  31. ^ "Iron Maiden - Killers". Retrieved 2 November 2021.
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  41. ^ "American album certifications – Iron Maiden – Killers". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 26 April 2013.