Dennis Stratton, who appeared on Iron Maiden’s self titled debut album says that he has approached Steve Harris for the OK to rerecord Phantom Of The Opera in a totally different way with his current band Lionheart.
Former Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton, sat down with The Metal Voice recently and the topic of the recording of the Iron Maiden classic song came up and how Stratton famously worked on a different, more layered version of Phantom Of The Opera that was rejected by manager Rod Smallwood as sounding too much like Queen.
“The funny thing about ‘Phantom’ was that when we were recording, I would sit in the studio with the engineer on my own. I was left with the engineers so we started working on the harmony guitars. We started building the songs up. Then I would put down two or three parts of the vocals and the engineer loved it. It sounded really big.” -- Dennis Stratton -- Lionheart
“So we did it and we were listening to it back and then Rod walks into the control room and he listened to it, he went absolutely mental. He went potty and he said ‘Take all that off. It sounds like Queen.’ So we said, ‘It’s your band. Can we leave one of the vocals for harmony and a harmony for guitar?’ He said ‘Yeah, but no more because it sounds like Queen.’ So that’s what we ended up with.”
Dennis was then asked about the possibility of rerecording the classic song to include the multi-layered treatment and he pursuing such avenues and that he has reached out to Iron Maiden founder Steve Harris to get his permission to do just that.
“I shouldn’t really say this but, after a quite well-known interview regarding Rod Smallwood asking me to take the guitar layers and the vocals harmonies off of ‘Phantom’ because it sounded like Queen, everywhere I’ve gone since 1983-84 when Maiden started becoming one of the big bands in the world, fans would come up to me and they would say, ‘You know the interview you did where you say that ‘Phantom of The Opera sounded like Queen? I said ‘Yeah.’ ‘Why don’t you record it now and see what it sounds like you originally had in mind.’
“So basically I told [bandmate, guitarist] Steve Mann a couple of weeks ago, ‘When we do the new Lionheart album, why don’t we do ‘Phantom of The Opera’ as it was originally intended with vocals and guitar harmonies like a big production on it. And he said, ‘We can have it as the bonus track for Japan.’ So we both agreed.”
Dennis also said nearly all record deals in Japan demand at least one bonus track.
“So I’ll go speak to Steve Harris and I’ll ask him if he’s OK with that. So I’m going to ask his permission. If he says ‘Yes’, then we’re going to record it for the new Lionheart album as a bonus track.”
You can hear the interview in its entirety below: