A legendary voice of metal has gone silent

No, we haven’t lost any legendary singers in the world of metal, but this voice is one of the best known to any self respecting metalhead, the man behind this famous intro:

“Woe to you oh earth and sea, for the devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short. 

“Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number. Its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

Every metal fan knows this as the introduction for Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast, and can probably recite it by heart. It’s a passage from the Book of Revelations, and was voiced on Maiden’s Number of the Beast album by British actor Barry Clayton who recently passed away at the age of eighty.

According to Blabbermouth, Maiden originally wanted Vincent Price to recite the intro, but the band couldn’t afford him. Then they heard about Clayton, who used to read ghost stories on the radio, and he fit in perfectly. (Clayton was also a pioneer of black radio and television in England).

Funny enough, not long after he got the offer from Maiden, Vincent Price did the famous spoken word in Michael Jackson’s Thriller. And, let us not forget, Price also did a great job on Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare album on the song The Black Widow, where he works himself into a frenzy ranting about the deadly spider taking over the earth. (Producer Bob Ezrin won Price over by calling him up, and asking how’d he like to make his rock and roll debut).

Although there’s no doubt Price would have done a great job for Maiden, Barry Clayton indeed gave a marvelous performance of this brief passage from The Bible. Even though it’s less than thirty seconds, as one fan wrote on Blabbermouth, “The first time I heard that spoken passage [it] scared the crap out of me.”