A rocker who played drums in one of the bands that defined heavy metal in the 1980s has died. Rolling Stone reports that Clive Burr, the former drummer for Iron Maiden, died Tuesday night at age 56.
“Burr had been suffering from multiple sclerosis, and he died in his sleep,” the story reports.
On the band’s official website, Iron Maiden founder and bass player Steve Harris wrote: "This is terribly sad news. Clive was a very old friend of all of us. He was a wonderful person and an amazing drummer who made a valuable contribution to Maiden in the early days when we were starting out. This is a sad day for everyone in the band and those around him and our thoughts and condolences are with his partner Mimi and family at this time."
The Rolling Stone piece reports: “Born on March 8th, 1957, in East Ham, London, Burr was a member of another up-and-coming British metal band, Samson, before joining Maiden in 1979. As one of the leaders of the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ (which included such groups as Def Leppard, Saxon and Diamond Head), Maiden quickly showcased a sound that, early on, merged the energy of punk with the power of metal.”
The drummer’s playing was at the forefront of the band’s sound on its early classics, including the self-titled 1980 debut album along with “Killers” (1981) and “The Number of the Beast” (1982). Anthems from the period included "Running Free," "Wrathchild" and "Run to the Hills."
“However, during this early era, Maiden members would often come and go, and by December 1982, Burr had exited the group — just as they were about to become a global stadium headliner,” the Rolling Stone report notes. “After leaving Maiden, Burr appeared on recordings by such metal acts as Trust, Stratus, Gogmagog, Elixir, Desperado (which included Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider) and Praying Mantis. Burr was eventually diagnosed with MS, and his former Maiden bandmates came to his aid by performing charity concerts and helping to form the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund. In the last years of his life, Burr was confined to a wheelchair.”