Barry Clayton, the man behind the spoken-word introduction to "The Number Of The Beast", the title track of IRON MAIDEN's classic 1982 album, has died at the age of 80.
During the recording sessions for "The Number Of The Beast", the band reportedly asked the famous horror film actor Vincent Price to read the intro text to the title song. However, according to MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson, Price refused to do it for anything less than £25,000. The bandmembers then heard of someone who read ghost stories at Capital Radio and got him to do it instead. The man was Clayton, who had no interest in MAIDEN, but obliged when he was asked to put on a Vincent Price kind of voice.
According to the Islington Tribune, Clayton was a resident of Islington, which is in Greater London, England, for 40 years. He was a pioneer of black television and radio programming. He produced the "Black Londoners" radio program for the BBC — the first black daily radio program — from its first airing in 1974 until 1988 when he left to join Capital Radio.
Clayton's deep, booming voice is forever etched in the minds of IRON MAIDEN fans, thanks to the way he spoke those famous, ominous words that start "The Number Of The Beast":
"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."