Dennis Stratton Wanted To Add Queen Sound To Iron Maiden But He Got Vetoed

Dennis Stratton recently appeared in an interview with Metal Express Radio. In it, he discussed his brief tenure with Iron Maiden and included an anecdote about how his attempt to infuse a Queen-like sound into the band’s music was firmly rejected.

While recording Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut album, Stratton sought to experiment with the band’s sound, inspired by the harmonies of Queen. He recalled a moment in the studio where he proposed adding a powerful, Queen-esque chorus to ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ The musician shared:

“But that was a bit of fun because I was in the studio with the engineer, and we were doing the ‘You haunt me, you taunt me / You torture me back…’, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a big Queen sort of powerful chorus on that?'”

Management’s Firm Stance

Despite enjoying the process and believing in the potential of the idea, Stratton acknowledged that such a stylistic deviation was unlikely to be accepted within Iron Maiden. The experimental endeavor was abruptly halted by Iron Maiden’s manager, Rod Smallwood, who had quietly observed the studio session.

Upon hearing the Queen-inspired additions, Smallwood intervened, demanding their removal and stating:

“And then he went absolutely ballistic. ‘Get rid of that, it sounds like Queen!’ ‘And that’s what it’s supposed to sound like,’ I said [Laughs].”

Stratton’s Departure From Iron Maiden

The creative differences between Stratton and Iron Maiden, particularly with Smallwood, eventually led to Stratton’s departure from the band. In a later interview with Chaoszine, Stratton reflected on his exit, noting it was a mutual decision influenced by his desire for more personal freedom and disagreement over his musical preferences. He stated:

“They were fun, you need your bit of space. And Rod didn’t like the idea of me traveling with a crew. He didn’t really like the idea of me having a life outside the band. So it was a few things that clashed. And so it was no problem with the music, no problem with the band. There was no problem with the job I was doing with the band.”

Despite these conflicts, the guitarist emphasized his positive memories of working with the band and his continued friendship with its members. After leaving Iron Maiden, Dennis embarked on a diverse musical career, contributing to bands such as Lionheart and Praying Mantis and collaborating with former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno in The Original Iron Men project.