The late, great Clive Burr

Early days

Clive Ronald Burr was born in London, England on 8th March 1957.

He took an interest in drumming from an early age; first attempting to fashion a drum kit from household items, before receiving his first kit at the age of 15.

His first taste of the limelight came in 1977, when he joined the band Samson, with whom he recorded two singles; “Telephone” and “Mr Rock and Roll”. He left the group the following year, being replaced by former Iron Maiden drummer Barry Purkis, who had adopted the persona of “Thunderstick”.

The meeting of Mimi & Clive

“I had an appointment at Queens Square Hospital. I booked in and was told to sit down and wait in a new, large room, with chairs in rows.

Next, Clive asked me if this is for MS? “I hope so!” I said. There were only two of us patients, in this large room! He started talking.

We both had MS and were talking about what we did for our MS. We talked; I lived in Leytonstone, he said he lived in the country… “Shame” I thought and said, “There’s a good centre in town.”

He hate a note book and pen, something we do, as if you’re on your own, you need to make notes. We waited and waited. He asked if he could have my number. He didn’t seem to know of any centres.

We talked, time went by, and he asked what I was doing the next day. I said “I’m going to Germany. My mum’s German, and we’re going to Germany.” He said, “Yeah? My mum’s German.”

Then a doctor called Clive. He got up and mouthed “Call”, putting his hand like a telephone. Five minutes later, I had my appointmenr.

A few days later, he phoned me. We talked for ages, and his telephone number was similar to mine. I found out he was just across the roundabout from me…

Mimi Highfield-Burr

Clive's Partner

“Clive was a MAJOR influence on so many drummers. The true scope of the “Burr Effect” can never be calculated. And he was my friend.”

Dee Snider

Singer for Twisted Sister/Desperado/Solo

The Iron Maiden years

In 1979, his friend, Dennis Stratton, had just been asked to join a band who were also in need of a new drummer, following the departure of Doug Sampson. The band? Iron Maiden!

The two met at The Golden Fleece, and Dennis played “Phantom of the Opera” to Clive, in his car. A few days later, Clive was rehearsing with the band.

He went on to spend 3 years as Maiden’s drummer, performing on their first 3 albums; Iron Maiden, Killers and most famously, The Number Of The Beast.

After Maiden

Following his departure from the band in 1982, he went on to a very brief stint with Alcatrazz, alongside former Rainbow singer, Graham Bonnet, and virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen. He then joined the French band, Trust, performing on “Trust IV” and “Man’s Trap”.

In late 1983, he formed Clive Burr’s Escape which later became Stratus. The band featured Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep), Tino & Chris Troy (Praying Mantis) and Alan Nelson. They released their only album “Throwing Shapes” in 1984, which proved to be a complete failure and the group split shortly after it’s release.

That year, he was part of the supergroup Gogmagog, which featured Clive’s former Iron Maiden bandmate, Paul Di’Anno, alongside Def Leppard guitarist Pete Willis, bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake/Black Sabbath), and future Iron Maiden guitarist, Janick Gers (then ex-White Spirit and Gillan). The group recorded just one EP and “I Will Be There” and never performed live.

The next few years were quiet for Clive, with his career seemingly over, until he recorded an album with London-bases NWOBHM act, Elixir. Originally released as “Lethal Potion”, the album was reissued in 2004 as “Sovereign Remedy” (the album’s first-planned name). Burr was subsequently replaced for the live dates, and once again, found himself in need of a band.

The call came in 1988, when he teamed up with Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Bernie Torme (Ozzy Osbourne), and Marc Russell. The group recorded their debut album, “Bloodied, but Unbowed”, but with the rise of Grunge, they failed to secure a record deal. The album remained unreleased until 1996.

In 1995, Burr reunited with his former Stratus bandmates, Chris and Tino Troy, as well as former Iron Maiden colleague Dennis Stratton, replacing Bruce Bisland in Praying Mantis. This tour resulted in the live album “Captured: Alive in Tokyo City”, but Bisland returned to the band just a year later. This all-but saw the end of Burr’s career, partly due to his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.

In 2002, Iron Maiden played 3 nights at London’s famous Brixton Academy, raising over £250,000 for the newly-formed “Clive Burr Multiple Sclerosis Trust Fund”. These funds helped to ensure Clive’s home was safe, funded specialist treatments, equipment and assisted with Clive’s general living expenses.

Clive Aid was formed in 2004, with Clive as a patron. Over the next few years, they helped to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and cancer through a number of events; many of which, Clive attended.

In September 2005, Iron Maiden staged another concert for Clive. This time, they performed at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo, where he had played with them on 4 occasions.

Sadly, Clive succumbed to his illness, on 13th March 2013, just days after his 56th Birthday.

Though the man is gone, he will live on in the hearts of many fans, and through the incredible body of work he left behind. His name often appears in polls of “Greatest Metal Drummers” and the like, and “The Number of the Beast” is widely regarded as one of the best Metal albums of all time.

Our kind sponsors