Amen to Scott Ian of Anthrax who proclaimed: “Steve Harris’s right hand, that’s the essence of heavy metal.”
An iconic innovator as Iron Maiden’s founder, chief-songwriter, producer, occasional keyboardist and backing vocalist, and video director, among other roles – Stephen Percy Harris, to my ears, is the bass player who defines the British New Wave of Heavy Metal, which, in turn, has inspired generations of players. Noted for his “galloping” triplet rhythms rendered with his fingers; expert use of hammer-ons, harmonics, open-string pedal tone passages; and a timbre which allows his lines to be heard at massive volumes, among other skills– every motif I’ve heard Harris ply is of strict metal origins – no blues, jazz, funk, soul, or classical references – nada!
With his beloved Precision, Harris traverses Maiden’s stage as metal god should, propping his foot on the monitors and surveying his minions who have worshipped his band for decades and counting. With millions in record sales and box office, and longevity in addition to their artistic accomplishments, Steve Harris and Iron Maiden’s absence from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is appalling.
Coda: In 2009, Fender issued a Steve Harris Signature Bass which reproduces his long-time sparkle-blue finish, which Harris has since replaced with a white veneer complimented by the crest of his beloved West Ham United Football Club.