SAMSON (1977–2002). Paul Samson (guitar), Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Barry Graham, aka “Thunderstick” (drums), Chris Aylmer (bass).
Best known as the band that Bruce Dickinson was in immediately before joinin Iron Maiden, Samson was one of the initial bands of the New Wave of heavy metal, putting out a string of solid albums from 1979 through the 1980s Formed in 1977 by guitarist Paul Samson, the best-known lineup contained vocalist Dickinson (then going by the handle “Bruce Bruce”), bassist Chris Aylmer, and their drummer Barry Graham, who went by the name “Thunderstick,” and who played up his wild-man image to such an extent that he appeared onstage wearing a leather S&M-style mask and performing inside of a metal cage.
Releasing their first album, Survivors, in 1979 (with Samson singing lead as well as playing guitar), the band hit their peak when Dickinson joined the band and they released two albums, 1980’s Head On and 1981’s Samson, with him before he left to join Iron Maiden. The band would continue to record and tour sporadically, until Paul Samson’s death from cancer on August 9, 2002.
Discography: Survivors (Sanctuary, 1979); Head On (Repertoire, 1980); Samson (Gem, 1981); Shock Tactics (Grand Slamm, 1981); Before the Storm (Polydor, 1982); Don’t Get Mad Get Even (Polydor, 1984); Last Rites (Thunderbolt, 1984); Head Tactics (Capitol,
1986); Refugee (Maze/Kraze, 1990); Live at Reading ’81 (Grand Slamm, 1991); 1993 (Thunderbolt, 1996); Thank You & Goodnight [live] (Magnum America, 1996); Joint Forces (Magnum America, 1996); Test of Time (Delta, 1999); Live in London 2000 (Zoom Club/Windsor, 2001); Tomorrow and Yesterday (Angel Air, 2006); N.W.O.B.H.M. Rarities, Vol. 2 (Cherry Red, 1996); Riding with the Angels: The Anthology (Castle, 2002); BBC Sessions (High Voltage, 2005).