FUN FACTS: Here is the original Live After Death cover. Scream for me Eddie!

LAD02_zps8fb5f8e5The Live After Death cover as we know it today is one of the most iconic and sinister sleeves in the history of Iron Maiden. But if it weren’t for a number of casual events it would most likely never have seen the light of day.

IMOC member Marcelo recently came across an old add for Live After Death in Circus Magazine and reached out to Eddie Godfather Derek Riggs and asked for the story behind the alternative version of the classic painting, which now features on the CD-sleeve of the 1998 remastered version of the album.


Here’s Eddie. Old add for the Live After Death concert video and LP from Circus Magazine featuring the original painting of Eddie popping out of his wooden box.

Says Riggs: – That picture was the original version of Live After Death. I didn’t like it much, I think the Eddie is in a bad position. But that was what the manager wanted. As things turned out it couldn’t be photographed because it was done in oilsand oils are a bit glossy. The picture tended to shine where the lights hit it. The photographers couldn’t stop the picture from shining so I had to paint another one in watercolors. Which was a good thing because then I did it my way and it looks better.

So there you have it, oilsand oils makes your paintings shine. Fortunately for us, because to be honest the original looks a bit naff compared to the lightning stricken and probably most frightening Eddie character to date.

iron maiden live after death original

Eddie, fire and brimstone. Live After Death final artwork in all it’s sinister glory.

Thanks to Marcelo for the story and the scans.

More FUN FACTS: The Soundhouse Tapes recorded as a five piece.

25 thoughts on “FUN FACTS: Here is the original Live After Death cover. Scream for me Eddie!

  1. Best sleeve design they ever had. I only consider Derek Riggs’s Eddie as the true Eddie. I will never wear a shirt designed by Grant or anyone else. Riggs would still be painting him today if Smallwood had treated him better.

    • That’s not necessarily the case. It’s well documented that Riggs pretty much HATES Smallwood, or “the manager” as he always puts it. But Riggs has also stated that he was tired of painting Eddie by 1988, had no ideas about what to do with him post-Seventh Son, and in my opinion his Eddie work in the 90s underlines this. Where could he have gone?

      • I agree with Christer. Derek pretty much burned out after Seventh Son. The last decent painting he did, in my humble opinion, is A Real Dead One. After that he started to use computers, the coloring got weird and the atmosphere were pretty much blown. Flight 666 is OK.

      • Christer, Torgrim, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

        His ‘Paschendale’ picture was quite good, but most of his CGI pictures are a far cry (in the worst possible sense) from his 80s drawings.

      • Well, of course, because everyone knows what a sugary sweet, delicate flower Rod is…*eh-hem cough cough* But, Goddess bless ‘im, he’s one of the best (if not THE best) manager in the business.

        I could see where Riggs would’ve felt stuck revolving his career around Eddie for his entire life, though. I’ve seen some of his abstracts and conceptuals and though they’re visually stunning, they’re very masturbatory. Understandably, if he was feeling suffocated under the Maiden pillow. Still, being Eddie’s daddy, who else could get into his head better? So, Rigg’s abandonment may have been understandable, it’s no less sad.

  2. @Torgrim: I like his Futureal painting as a concept, but the sterility of it is quite painful next to something like Live After Death. And I’m also among the few who seem to prefer Grant’s Fear Of The Dark concept to Derek’s concept drawing.

  3. The character stopped evolving after 7th Son but you could say that about the music too. The band didn’t exactly feed him great concepts to worth with after that point. I think No Prayer for the Dying was a case of ‘haven’t we been here, done it before guys?

    • Of course. But Derek, by his own admission, was tired of painting Eddie by the time of Seventh Son. So it’s not as simple as Rod’s treatment of him. It wasn’t meant to last forever.

      • @Christer. I actually thought Fear of the Dark was a breath of fresh air. It still works. However I’m not overly enthusiastic about his other work. Technically The Final Frontier is amazing, but the features he has given Eddie does not compute, so to speak.

        In regards to capturing the spirit of Eddie and the atmosphere of old, I think Herve does a great job even though he lacks the finesse and imagination of Riggs earlier work.

      • I think Herve is doing a really good job. His cover for “Maiden England ’88” is really good. 🙂

  4. @Torgrim: Fear Of The Dark is easily my favorite album cover post-1988. But boy how Maiden fell… Rock In Rio? Dance Of Death?

    • “Fear of the dark” has a great album cover (much better than Derek’s concept) and I love the cover for “A matter of life and death”. “Brave new world” also has a good cover and I also like “The Final Frontier” one.

      On the other hand, “Dance of death” was a nice idea poorly executed, but if there is one album cover that sucks is that of “The X Factor”. “Virtual XI” is pretty bad too.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t drooling over Riggs’ FOTD concept sketch. And I mean, concept vs concept, not concept vs finished artwork, Grant’s was just much better in my opinion.

        The one thing I always hated about the finished FOTD cover is the way it was designed with that black field blocking out parts of the drawing. If that artwork had filled the entire frame with the logo and title judiciously placed, it would be completely classy.

        Hey, there must be a feature about best and worst album covers at some point, right? 🙂

    • To be honest, I’m not sure they ever took it that seriously. It seems to me that the combination of Riggs and Smallwood was always what drove this aspect of Maiden. Which also would explain why it went awry. We got a lot of a good thing during those years, though!

  5. Hey, maybe someone can answer this question for me: Does anyone know where Riggs’ signature is on the cover for No Prayer for the Dying?

    The old Maiden newsgroups mistakely identified the cross over the “i”, which obviously was incorrect. I’ve seen the actual painting itself but have never been able to find the signature.


  6. @Ghost: You liked the Maiden England ’88 artwork, you say. What about the 2014 version? I seriously think that is one of the very best Maiden artworks this side of 1988. Granted, Herve can build on all the classic Riggs Eddies, but why the hell didn’t they think of something as classy as this to begin with on this tour?

  7. Pingback: Hindsight – IRON MAIDEN: Live After Death | Bits / Bobs / Stuff / Nonsense

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