Urchin was an early band of future Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith, and he formed it, ironically enough, with childhood friend and fellow guitarist Dave Murray, who would later return the favor by getting his chum into the British heavy metal legends. Smith had already been involved with several amateur bands throughout his late teens, but it was with Urchin, starting circa 1974, that the fledgling guitar hero began making a name for himself on the London pub circuit. Countless musicians passed through the Urchin lineup throughout their existence, but it was with singer David Hall, guitarists Smith and Maurice Coyne (who had himself once been poached by Steve Harris for the simultaneously hatchling Maiden), bassist Alan Levitt, and drummer Barry Tyler that the group landed a development deal with Elton John's DJM imprint and released their debut 7" single, "Black Leather Fantasy," in 1977. A biker anthem inspired by the melodic hard rock sounds of Thin Lizzy and UFO, this was followed a year later by a significantly more commercial and successful second single, entitled "She's a Roller," but eye- and ear-witnesses have long held that neither song truly captured Urchin's on-stage heaviness onto vinyl. In any event, times were tough for hard rock and metal during these years, the reigning era of punk, so after struggling in vain for a few more years, Smith finally gave up on Urchin in late 1980, when he was invited to join Iron Maiden for the second time. The rest is history -- as, unfortunately, was Urchin, whose '70s vinyl singles now fetch outrageous prices among Maiden enthusiasts, and whose surviving recordings were briefly made available on an eponymous CD in 2004.
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