Clive Burr (pictured above, bottom left), the former drummer for heavy metal band Iron Maiden, died in his sleep on the evening of March 12 at age 56. Burr had been battling poor health for years, according to the band’s official site, and had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In a statement on the band’s site, former bandmate Steve Harris gave his condolences:
“This is terribly sad news,” he says. “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."
Born in 1957 in East Ham, London, Burr joined Maiden in 1979. He had already been a member of rising band, Samson, in previous years, but it was in Iron Maiden that his drumming expertise would radiate. Burr contributed from 1980-1982 on Maiden's first three studio albums, “Iron Maiden,” “Killers,” and “The Number Of The Beast” giving life to tracks like “Wrathchild” and “Run to the Hills.”
Their first album with Dickinson at the helm, "Beast" was Maiden's first top 40 album on the Billboard 200, reaching No. 33 in 1982. It spent 65 weeks on the chart, and continues to be the band's longest-charting album.
"Beast" contains the song "Gangland," Burr's lone songwriting contribution with the group.
After leaving Iron Maiden 1982, Burr performed with various bands including Trust, Elixir and Praying Mantis before being diagnosed with MS in 1994.
“I kept dropping things,” Burr told Classic Rock Magazine in 2011. “I couldn’t grip properly. I could barely keep hold of my sticks.”
After his diagnosis, Iron Maiden helped lessen medical costs by forming the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund and performing various charity concerts, according to Rolling Stone. In the final years of Burr’s life, he was confined to a wheelchair. Despite these conditions, Maiden singer, Bruce Dickinson pointed out Burr’s positive outlook on life.
“I first met Clive when he was leaving Samson and joining Iron Maiden,” he said. “He was a great guy and a man who really lived his life to the full. Even during the darkest days of his M.S., Clive never lost his sense of humour or irreverence. This is a terribly sad day and all our thoughts are with Mimi and the family.”