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Leytonstone, London, England
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Stephen Percy Harris (born March 12, 1956 in Leytonstone, London, England) is the bassist, band leader and primary composer of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. In addition, he plays keyboards, and sings backing vocals. He founded the band as a teenager in 1975. He and Dave Murray are the only members of the band to have appeared on all of the band`s albums, and Harris is the only member to remain in the band throughout its duration. He used to work as an architectural draftsman in the East End of London but gave up his job upon forming Iron Maiden. During the mid 1970s he was a youth team footballer for West Ham United. He still is a talented amateur football player and often has the crest of West Ham on his bass, and he has stated his first ambition in life before music was to become a professional footballer.
Harris is a self-taught bass player. His first bass was a copy of a Fender Precision Bass that cost him Â£40 when he was 17 years old. He went on to use a signature Lado "Unicorn" model and an early 1970s Fender Precision with RotoSound strings. He now uses his own signature RotoSound flatwound bass strings. The strings that Harris uses, SH77, have a brightness not usually associated with flatwound strings. The Bass has no Tone control and Steve taps his head or body to cue the tech for treble or bass adjustments.
Harris`s influences include such bass players as Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Chris Squire of Yes, John Deacon of Queen, Mike Rutherford of Genesis, Geddy Lee of Rush, Andy Fraser of Free and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath, John Entwistle of The Who, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and particularly Pete Way from UFO.
Harris` first band was named first Influence then Gypsy`s Kiss. He later joined Smiler, of which all the band members were several years older than he was. He ended up leaving, as the members of the band made it clear that they did not care for a bassist who leapt around the stage and wrote songs. After Smiler, Harris went on to create Iron Maiden, getting the name from seeing an iron maiden, a type of torture instrument, in the movie The Man in the Iron Mask.
Steve Harris is Maiden`s principal composer and lyricist. His songwriting typically showcases his trademark galloping bass patterns (see below) and features long songs with epic lyrics that feature many tempo changes, influenced by 1970`s progressive rock bands like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Harris frequently writes lyrics about mythology, history or topics inspired from books and movies.
Steve Harris is often considered among the best and most influential heavy metal bassists. He is most known for his "galloping" bass lines - usually an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes at fast tempo (e.g., "The Trooper") or eighth note triplets – which he plays with two fingers. Before playing, Harris often chalks his fingers, to make these fast patterns easier to play, as shown on the bonus DVD for the A Matter of Life and Death album. Besides this he is very adventurous on the bass and plays intricate accompaniment in many of Maiden`s songs. He also uses power chords, which are unusual on bass, on several songs. Harris has also stated that he never uses a pick and that he never warms up before a show.
He plays a specially-painted bass guitar which has been featured on every Iron Maiden album. The guitar has gone through three colour changes since construction. Originally black, it was then changed to blue, then white.
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Stephen Percy Harris
Stephen Percy "Steve" Harris (born 12 March 1956) is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He is the only member of Iron Maiden to have remained in the band since their inception and, along with guitarist Dave Murray, to have appeared on all of their albums.
Lauren Harris (daughter) (singer), Kerry Harris (daughter), Faye Harris (daughter), George Harris (son) (guitarist), Stanley Harris (son), Maisie Harris (daughter)
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Music Genre (Text)
Heavy metal, hard rock
Bass guitar, keyboards, vocals
Iron Maiden, Lauren Harris, Smiler, Gypsy's Kiss
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