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 in 1975 and, along with guitarist Dave Murray, to have appeared on all of their albums.
Harris has a recognisable and popular style of bass playing, particularly the „gallop” which can be found on several Iron Maiden recordings, such as the singles „Run to the Hills” and „The Trooper”. In addition to his role as the band’s bass player, writer and backing vocalist, he has undertaken many other roles for the group, such as producing and co-producing their albums, directing and editing their live videos and performing studio keyboards and synthesizers. He has been cited as one of the greatest heavy metal bassists.
On 24 September 2012, Harris released his debut solo album, British Lion.
Harris was born and grew up in Leytonstone, where he grew up aspiring to be a professional footballer. Scouted byWally St Pier, Harris was asked to train for West Ham United. After gaining an interest in rock music in his early teens, he realised that he no longer desired to play football professionally.
Initially Harris wanted to play drums, but did not have enough space for a drum kit in his house and so decided on the bass instead. Entirely self-taught, his first bass was a copy of a Fender Precision model which cost him £40 in 1971.
Just 10 months after he bought his first bass, Harris joined a band, initially known as Influence and later Gypsy’s Kiss, featuring Bob Verscoyle (lead vocals), Dave Smith (guitar) and drummer Paul Sears. After a short number of gigs at the Cart and Horses pub in Maryland Point, Stratford and the Bridgehouse in Canning Town, the band split up and Harris auditioned for a band called Smiler in February 1974. In this outfit, Harris began writing his own songs and worked with future Iron Maiden members Dennis Wilcock and Doug Sampson, but left the band after they refused to play his material, claiming it was too complicated.
Upon leaving Smiler, Harris went on to create Iron Maiden on Christmas Day 1975, with the band’s name being inspired by the film The Man in the Iron Mask. Before Iron Maiden signed their contract with EMI in 1979, Harris worked as an architectural draughtsman in the East End of London until he was made redundant, at which point he undertook a job as a street sweeper.
Since their inception, Harris has been the band’s principal composer and lyricist. His song writing typically showcases his trademark galloping bass patterns, which features heavily in songs such as „The Trooper” and „Run to the Hills”, and his progressive rock-influenced time changes.Recently, Harris’ songs have become more progressive, and guitarist Adrian Smith has commented that Harris now prefers contributing „lyrics and melodies and arranging” to other member’s songs over writing alone. Harris frequently writes lyrics about mythology, history or topics inspired from books and films, reflecting his interests and progressive rock influences.