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10 Best Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Albums of All Time

#4 Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast - EMI Records - 1982

When Iron Maiden released their third studio album, they were in a difficult position. They had already generated quite a loyal following with original lead singer 'Paul Di'Anno'. Many fans, myself included, were very dismayed and skeptical of the thought of a new singer.

They would loose the gritty vocals and raw sound of their self titled debut and follow-up 'Killers' LPs but they gained an amazing new vocalist and a slate of songs that took their music to new heights.

Using themes from history, religion and pop culture, Iron Maiden produced an epic album that propelled them to the front of the new wave of British Heavy Metal that was embraced by audiences around the world.

Already very capable musicians on the earlier releases, Iron Maiden expanded on their unmistakable sound that was grounded on Steve Harris' galloping bass and Adrian Smith's and Dave Murray's intricate guitar harmonies. This would also be the last album to feature drummer Clive Burr who put in some great work here before being replaced by Nicko McBrain for 'Piece of Mind'.

The album contains several tracks that stand out as some of the band's best material, including 'Children of the Damned', 'The Prisoner', '22 Acacia Avenue', 'Run to the Hills' 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and of course the title track 'The Number of the beast'.

You can get some sense of the importance of this album by looking at the number of bands that have done covers and tributes.