Along with classic songs that stand the test of time 30 years later, one of the most enduring things about Iron Maiden is their mascot, Eddie. And a big piece of that is artist Derek Riggs, who created every album cover for the band up through 1990s No Prayer for the Dying. His iconic and incredibly detailed artwork coincided with the band’s rise in popularity via album covers like The Number of the Beast, Somewhere in Time and Piece of Mind. They’ve used a variety of other artists since with varying results, and now there’s been a petition launched to bring back Riggs. Here’s how the petition reads:
It is important to countless fans all of the world because Derek Riggs artwork and visual direction is second to none. Many fans view his artwork to be as influential as the music IRON MAIDEN produces. Things haven’t been the same since he stopped being IRON MAIDEN’S exclusive artist, so we plead with the band to bring him back for any future artwork needs.
Judging from this interview done with Riggs last year, it doesn’t seem like he’s in any hurry to return. He claims that the band weren’t really able to come up with original ideas and seems to have an axe to grind with the band’s manager, Rod Smallwood.
“The album covers – my work – was getting more attention than the music, and it upset their (the band’s) ego,” Riggs said. “So they were going around the world telling everybody that it was all their ideas and I was just a dumb monkey that painted it all. So this didn’t go down very well. And then they said to me. ‘Well, when are you going to come out with a good idea, because they’re all our ideas,’ and I was like “Oh, are they all your ideas? Then you tell me what to paint and I’ll paint it.” ’cause if you’re working real f**king hard to make these ideas, to make them continuous and make them cohesive the way they were – but then some f**king jackass can turn around and say something like that, it’s a real f**king slap in the face. It gets real old really f**king quick. So, from then on my attitude was like, ‘You tell me what to paint and I’ll paint it, because I’m obviously not getting credit for thinking of these ideas.’
Maiden probably wouldn’t be happy being told that their music isn’t as popular as Riggs’ artwork, but it’s pretty undeniable that the post-Riggs Maiden album covers aren’t anywhere near as good as Riggs’ ones. Hopefully the petition reminds both parties that his artwork will forever be associated with the glory days of Iron Maiden and that his return would be welcome. At this point, the petition, which requests 2,500 signatures, is only 141 away from attaining that goal.