Adrian Smith Says Iron Maiden Merchandise Works ‘Too Well’

Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith discussed the pros and cons of having a massively successful merchandise line.

He noted that it resulted in people being associated with their renowned logo and Eddie mascot without having any genuine connection with their music.

“No matter where we go, we always see our merchandise around,” Smith told Louder in a recent interview. “A great thing about this band is that we go out and take the music to people, wherever that may take us. Doing that also means people stick with you. Having said that, I’ve walked by people in those shirts who had no idea who I was! I think our merchandise works a little too well like that.”

He recalled a moment when the band’s highly visible following gave him a laugh: “I was out fishing in Ireland with my dad. Word had got out in the local village, and these kids started turning up, all wearing Eddie shirts, watching us from the banks for a while. I went over and they asked if we could sign their things and, just as I did, two nuns walked up! They looked at the album, looked at me and thought it was hilarious.”

In the same interview Smith mentioned another downside of being a big-name act. “In places like Italy and Mexico, I’ve found the police escorts can be a little … enthusiastic,” he said. “Too much so, you might say! People think it’s glamorous getting this escort, but it can be very stressful, especially when you get a bit carsick and your driver thinks he’s in an action movie, speeding through the night at 100 mph with his sunglasses on!”

Despite the downsides, the guitarist said he and his colleagues have no plans to retire in the near future. “Even now, there’s still a little bit of insecurity and wanting to prove things to people, do things we haven’t before,” he explained.

“It’s like fishing – there’s always bigger fish and new places to explore, always something to look forward to. It’s what keeps me going. That and things like playing tennis with [bassist] Steve Harris to keep me fit. I don’t think any of us feel like slowing down – we still want to get out there!”

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Myles Kennedy Kills It on Acoustic Cover of ‘The Trooper

As of mid-June, Myles Kennedy was “pretty much done” with his second solo album. No other details have emerged on that front, but the singer does have something to tide fans over while the wait for the Year of the Tiger successor continues as he’s just released an Americana cover version of Iron Maiden‘s classic track, “The Trooper.”

Before he played the one-man acoustic cover, which debuted on Sirius XM Octane and can be heard below, he told the satellite radio station how he had worked the song into his set list rotation on tour in support of his 2018 solo debut.

“I hit the U.S. a few times, did Europe, did South Africa,” said Kennedy. “It was amazing — a lot of fun. I played tracks from my career over the last few decades and also played some covers that I would mix up in the set and there was one track that kind of became a fan favorite…”

Detailing how he arrived at Maiden’s popular Piece of Mind track, he went on, “I was laying in my bunk in a bus one night, and I thought, I just need something at a certain tempo and [that] has a certain vibe, but I want it to be a song that’s from my kind of formative years as a young, angst-ridden teenager. And I was thinking about a lot of the bands that I was listening to back then, and I thought it would be interesting to take one of those tracks and change the arrangement to fit the context of what I do within the realm of my solo project, which tends to have more of an Americana vibe, amongst other things.”

“It’s kind of a potpourri of sonic… whatever,” added Kennedy, “So I thought, man, I was a big Maiden fan as a kid and one of my favorite Iron Maiden tracks is ‘The Trooper.’ And I thought, ‘What would happen if you took ‘The Trooper’ and kind of mixed it up with how Johnny Cash might have approached it?’ I thought that would be interesting.”

And interesting it is. This is far from a predictable take on the galloping Iron Maiden anthem and Kennedy adapts it to suit his own needs — it definitely has a bit more of an outlaw feel and comes off less of a charge into bloody battle and more of an adventurous horseback ride through the dusty plains of America’s deserts. Kennedy discharges plenty of variation from verse to verse, invoking a heavy storyteller vibe.

Once he was done performing the track, he lamented, “I really miss performing live and seeing people and connecting with music, but hopefully this crazy time we’re in will pass sooner than later so we can get back to business.”

When business does resume, Kennedy may emerge not only with another solo record, but another one with he’s been working on with Slash and his Conspirators band.

Myles Kennedy Covers Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper”

55 Best Metal Covers of Classic Rock Hits

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Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith Reveals Depression Struggle

Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith spent most of the ‘80s dealing with depression, he’s revealed.

The band’s increasing success contributed to his problems and led to a period of overusing alcohol and drugs to help get through the experiences, he told Metal Hammer in a new interview.

“I don’t really want to come across as ‘poor me,’” Smith said. “But [depression] was a feature of the ’80s for me. The last gig I did before joining Iron Maiden was at a pub in London. I remember getting on the bus with my wah-wah pedal in a Tesco bag, playing that show, then the next thing was a massive gig with Iron Maiden. Quite the jump!

“I managed with sheer bravado to get through the first tour, then it started to hit me a bit – people pay a lot of money to see us and there’s a lot of great musicians out there, meaning it’s very competitive.”

He noted that “it got on top of me a few times, and when we hit America, things really kicked in with booze and drugs, using it as a crutch. But you need to deal with those things, and knowing that now means I don’t have the same struggles. It’s all part of the process of growing up.”

Smith recently published Monsters of River and Rock, a book about his life as a musician and his passion for fishing. Last month, he told how he once abandoned the pastime because he didn’t think it was fitting for a rock star. “I couldn’t imagine Ritchie Blackmore trying to catch carp.”

He later realized that fishing helped him manage his “social anxiety.” “It’s good for your mind,” he told Metal Hammer. “As Billy Connolly said, ‘Fishing is meditation with a punchline.’ The cocoon of plane-to-van-to-hotel is a bit much at times, so it’s great to just go out into the country and free your mind, get that space.”

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Iron Maiden Announce ‘Nights of the Dead’ Live Album

Highlights from Iron Maiden‘s three dates in Mexico City in September 2019 will be released as Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City. The live album arrives on Nov. 20.

“We’ve never released a live album from Mexico before,” bassist Steve Harris said in a press release. “And I think this recording does justice to the passion and joy of our Mexican fans who always give us such a fantastic welcome whenever we play there.”

The 17-song release, spread out over more than 100 minutes, will be available in two-CD, three-LP and digital formats. A limited edition includes a book. The band has also partnered with Walmart to offer a special vinyl version, with each record a different color of the Mexican flag.

You can see the track listing for Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City below.

“When the final leg of our 2020 Legacy tour this summer had to be canceled due to the COVID pandemic, the whole band was very disappointed and deflated, and we know our fans felt the same,” Harris said.

“We’d been really looking forward to bringing the show to even more countries, and although we’ve been able to reschedule most of our European own-shows for 2021, we thought we’d take a listen to the recordings from the tour so far and see if we could create a definitive live album souvenir that everyone, everywhere could enjoy.”

Harris added that he’s “very pleased with the results, especially as this set list includes songs which have never made it to a live CD before, such as ‘For the Greater Good of God,’ and other older songs like ‘Where Eagles Dare,’ ‘Flight of Icarus,’ ‘The Clansman’ and ‘Sign of the Cross’ which haven’t been included in our live set releases for many years.”

Iron Maiden, ‘Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City’ Track Listing
1. “Churchill’s Speech”
2. “Aces High”
3. “Where Eagles Dare”
4. “2 Minutes to Midnight”
5. “The Clansman”
6. “The Trooper”
7. “Revelations”
8. “For the Greater Good of God”
9. “The Wicker Man”
10. “Sign of the Cross”
11. “Flight of Icarus”
12. Fear of the Dark”
13. “Iron Maiden”
14. “The Number of the Beast”
15. “The Evil That Men Do”
16. “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
17. “Run to the Hills”

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Iron Maiden Announce Live Album ‘Nights of the Dead’

Iron Maiden have just announced a new live album, Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City. The 16-track concert recording will be Maiden’s first live album since The Book of Souls: Live Chapter was unleashed in 2017.

Nights of the Dead was recorded in September 2019 throughout Maiden’s three sold-out arena shows in Mexico City. The iconic band played their full Legacy of the Beast setlist, which spans from Maiden’s debut album to 2006’s A Matter of Life and Death.

“When the final leg of our 2020 Legacy tour this summer had to be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, the whole band was very disappointed and deflated and we know our fans felt the same,” explains bassist Steve Harris. “We’d been really looking forward to bringing the show to even more countries and although we’ve been able to reschedule most of our European own-shows for 2021, we thought we’d take a listen to the recordings from the tour so far and see if we could create a definitive live album souvenir that everyone, everywhere could enjoy.”

“I’m very pleased with the results, especially as this set list includes songs which have never made it to a live CD before, such as ‘For the Greater Good of God’, and other older songs like ‘Where Eagles Dare’, ‘Flight of Icarus’, ‘The Clansman’ and ‘Sign of the Cross’ which haven’t been included in our live set releases for many years. We’ve never released a live album from Mexico before and I think this recording does justice to the passion and joy of our Mexican fans who always give us such a fantastic welcome whenever we play there.”

Manager Rod Smallwood adds, “All the shows on the tour so far have been amazing and our fans have loved the whole Legacy extravaganza with the elaborately themed stages, props and drapes, not to mention the killer set-list! When our 2020 tour got cancelled, putting together a live album seemed the obvious thing to do and I think Steve, along with co-producer Tony Newton, has perfectly captured the essence of the 70,000-strong crowd across these three nights in Mexico City. The album serves both as a celebration of this tour, which almost two million fans have already seen, and as a taster for, hopefully, next year’s final run for anyone who hasn’t yet experienced the show.”

The live album will be released Nov. 20 on CD, vinyl and digitally. To pre-order Nights of the Dead, click here.

Iron Maiden, Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City Artwork + Track Listing:

Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
Where Eagles Dare
2 Minutes to Midnight
The Clansman
The Trooper
Revelations
For the Greater Good of God
The Wicker Man
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast
The Evil That Men Do
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Run to the Hills

The 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

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The 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

Since 2000, metal has shape-shifted drastically. From primal nu-metal and core anthems, to the zenith of tech-death and prog, to a revival of classic thrash and occult doom, and post-genre amalgamations filled with contrary dynamics, metal remains the most innovative and fascinating subculture on the planet.

Metal ain’t dead, folks. It’s just evolved at speeds never seen before in popular culture.

Looking deep into the 21st century, we’ve pulled metal’s most important and influential gems from Y2K to present day. While enough time has passed for tracks like Tool‘s “Lateralus,” System of a Down‘s “Chop Suey!” and Opeth‘s “Blackwater Park” to reach iconic status, we’ve also given love to more recent cuts which forced metal to expand its horizons. You’ll find tracks by genre benders such as Scarlxrd, Zeal & Ardor and Babymetal, who sprouted new branches on metal’s family tree to mass acclaim, setting themselves up for possible legendary status in the near future.

The 21st century has been a diverse and experimental one, so delve deep by checking out our picks for The 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century in the gallery below.

The 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

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Rob Halford: I Once ‘Tried to Seduce’ Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’Anno

Rob Halford admits to an unsuccessful attempt at seduction aimed at onetime Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno in the Metal God and Judas Priest frontman’s upcoming book, Confess: The Autobiography.

It happened back in 1980 when Priest were on tour supporting their British Steel album. During the U.K. leg, the band was supported by a Di’Anno-fronted Maiden, who had just issued their eponymous debut.

And even though tensions were high between the camps — at the time, Di’Anno sneered that Maiden would “blow Judas Priest off stage every night” and Priest’s K.K. Downing threatened to have them kicked off the trek  — Halford still tried to take a shot at the Iron Maiden vocalist, as Classic Rock reported.

“We didn’t really hang out and banter with Maiden much on that tour,” Halford recalls in his memoir, “but maybe I took Di’Anno’s comment that he would blow Priest off stage too literally… because the one night we got drunk together, I tried to seduce him!”

Alas, both rockers’ drunkenness prevented anything from happening. The Judas Priest figurehead continues, “We went to my room to carry on drinking, but I was too pissed to try anything, and he was too pissed to even know what I wanted to try.”

Elsewhere in Confess, Halford recounts myriad other tales about his “extraordinary five decades in the music industry,” a book synopsis explains. Those include the Judas Priest vocalist’s “unlikely encounters with everybody from Superman to Andy Warhol, Madonna, Jack Nicholson and the Queen. More than anything else, it’s a celebration of the fire and power of heavy metal.”

Halford’s autobiography arrives Sept. 29 via Hachette Books. Pre-orders are available now.

See Iron Maiden + Judas Priest in the Most Performed Songs by 50 Metal Bands

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How Bruce Dickinson Helped Dave Mustaine Deal With Cancer

Dave Mustaine asked Bruce Dickinson for advice after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2019.

Iron Maiden frontman Dickinson faced a similar illness four years earlier. So when the Megadeth leader received his own health report, he decided to place a call.

“It’s not like I have a whole Rolodex of rock friends that sing heavy metal music that have throat cancer, so my choices were limited,” Mustaine laughed during a recent interview with Forbes. “I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him. Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me … surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”

He added: “When you’re a frontman in one of the biggest bands in the galaxy, you don’t really have to tolerate the frontman of the other bands very much, but he’s always been super kind to me and very, I don’t want to say ‘gentlemanly’ because I don’t want anyone to think that he’s not a bad motherfucker!”

Mustaine also discussed going back to work with Megadeth after receiving successful treatment. “Not to try and be glib about what was going on because it certainly was serious stuff, but I stayed focused,” he said. “I listened to the doctors, prayed a lot, took care of myself and had a great support group. As soon as it was time for us to rehearse, let alone record, I was pretty much scared to death because I didn’t know what it was going to be like … me going into rehearsals, no singing. We had tour just a couple days away; I hadn’t done any rehearsal, anything at all.”

He recalled feeling a “terrible confidence,” continuing: “A lot of people think it’s arrogance; I’m not sure, whatever, if that’s what you want to call it, but I had this confidence in myself and I knew — save your gas ’til the very end. Then when it’s time, get up on stage and sing, and before you know it you’ll be back in your dressing room. The first show will be over. That’s kinda how it happened. Once the tour was over, we were back home; we just picked up where we left off and started doing album 16.”

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Adrian Smith Recalls Getting on Iron Maiden’s Nerves

Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith said that he “got on the other guys’ nerves” in the time leading up to his departure from the band in 1990.

He bowed out while the band was working on what would be its eighth album, No Prayer for the Dying, which represented a back-to-basics approach after the synth-infused ’80s LPs Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. He returned in 1999 after overcoming doubts that a three-guitar lineup wouldn’t work.

“I think on Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son, we were getting into more of a produced sound, which I liked – something a bit more of a refined sound,” Smith told Raised on Radio. “I think what Steve [Harris] wanted to do, maybe Bruce [Dickinson] as well, was go for a real rough and ready sound. … To be honest, I was really struggling.”

Smith noted that he “desperately wanted to write something brilliant, as everybody was. I was struggling; I don’t know why … I was trying too hard probably. And we started recording – we actually started working. I think my lack of enthusiasm just got on the other guys’ nerves and that was it, really.”

You can listen to the interview below.

In another recent interview, Smith explained how Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” had convinced him to become a guitarist like his friend and future bandmate Dave Murray.

“I wanted to be in a band,” he said. “It was a eureka moment, that was it. That one song started it all. … [Murray] was a bit further down; he’d actually put the time in and learn to play the guitar. … He started me off playing. I bought my first guitar off him. I think it was like five quid or something – it was something he had lying around.”

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Dave Mustaine: Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Helped Cancer Battle

Megadeth legend Dave Mustaine got the “all-clear” on his battle with throat cancer less than a year ago, but before he emerged victorious from fighting the disease, Mustaine made a phone call to another metal icon who beat throat cancer — Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.

Mustaine felt compelled to call Bruce shortly after the Megadeth frontman was informed of his diagnosis. “I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him,” Mustaine tells Forbes. “Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me the same thing I just told you: surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”

“When you’re a frontman in one of the biggest bands in the galaxy, you don’t really have to tolerate the frontman of the other bands very much, but he’s always been super kind to me and very, I don’t want to say ‘gentlemanly,’ because I don’t want anyone to think that he’s not a bad motherfucker!”

In January of this year, Mustaine announced to a packed crowd that he was “100 percent free of cancer,” which brought a huge reaction from relieved metalheads.

Mustaine just released a new memoir, Rust in Peace, which recounts the events surrounding the landmark thrash album. “I’d be bullshitting you if I said [cocaine] did not influence [Rust in Peace] because we were all under the influence of the drug at the time,” Mustaine told Loudwire. “I didn’t really like coke that much. I liked the way that it tasted, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It never ended well, put it that way.”

25 Legendary Metal Albums With No Weak Songs

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Iron Maiden’s ‘Powerslave’: 13 Facts Only Superfans Would Know

Iron Maiden‘s 1984 album Powerslave is perhaps the most important album in the band’s catalog, at least when it comes to understanding their absolute domination of heavy metal the world over.

It was the fifth record in as many years for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal breakouts and the Egyptian-themed album cover by artist Derek Riggs set Maiden up for their most ambitious tour to date — one that may have been the most demanding any metal act has ever embarked on.

There’s a rich history to this magnificent album, which leads us to a bit of trivia here with 13 Powerslave Facts Only Superfans Would Know. Remove all the wheelblocks, there’s no time to waste!

1. Well, hello again, everyone!
Iron Maiden’s music may have been consistent — their seven album run in the ‘80s is practically unmatched — but on Powerslave it was the first time there was any consistency among the lineup from album to album. Nicko McBrain was the latest transplant on Piece of Mind and, moving forward, this lineup remained intact until Adrian Smith’s exit in 1990.

2. From England back to the Bahamas! But before we get there… New Jersey?
After fleeing the dreary England winter weather for Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas for Piece of Mind, Maiden figured a repeat sojourn would be just cracking. But first, the band had some writing to do, so before hitting the island, they hunkered down in… New Jersey. Listen, “Joizee” folks, your state has produced some of rock and metal’s best, we know. That’s probably why Powerslave is so excellent. Before you get too cocky, though, Steve still wrote most of “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” once they boarded another flight further south.

3. So long, you amazing instrumental tracks, you
Unable to come up with any lyrics, Iron Maiden elected to let the guitar melodies do the singing on the aptly titled “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra).” Eddie and the boys had last released two instrumental songs — “The Ides of March” and the chaotic “Genghis Khan” — on 1981’s Killers, and, here, it would be the last instrumental track they gave us to date.

Iron Maiden, “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)”

4. Dave Murray, where art thou?
Dave Murray, despite being the longest tenured member of Iron Maiden not named Steve Harris, has never been a primary songwriter within the band. Still, he’s usually good for one or two tracks that go on to claim “deep cut” status (“Judas Be My Guide,” “The Prophecy,” “Deja-Vu” to name just a couple). On Powerslave, however, not a single track is attributed to him, even on collaborative efforts. Whatever, we’ve still got all those buttery Davey solos on here.

5. 189 shows? Sure, just give us 331 days
Has there ever been a more rigorous tour than the ‘World Slavery’ tour, which found the band playing 189 shows in a total of 331 days from start to finish between 1984 and ‘85? Of the originally slated 197 gigs, only eight had to be canceled, half of them for health reasons. Pro baseball players might be going, “So what? We played 162 games a season,” but Iron Maiden don’t get to lounge around in left field picking their arses when there’s heavy metal to be played. Bruce, how on Earth did you pull this off, mate?

6. Iron Maiden go behind the Iron Curtain
In the thick of the Cold War, it was unheard of for a western band to penetrate the Eastern Bloc (the collective of countries under rule of the Soviet Union), much less a heavy metal act with the indescribably massive stage production Maiden’s crew had to lug from gig to gig. With their sights set on world domination, the band was undeterred by geographical boundaries and menacing political systems. Remember, Iron Maiden’s gonna get you, no matter how far. Shoutout to anyone who owns the documentary LaserDisc.

Iron Maiden, Behind the Iron Curtain

7. No live love for the album’s mid-section
For how often fans name Powerslave as their favorite Maiden record, it’s a bit of a shocker the middle section of the album never made it into a set list. Not once. “Flash of the Blade,” “The Duellists” and “Back in the Village” never escaped the studio. To boot, “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)” was only played 70 times live and didn’t even remain in the set for half of the ‘World Slavery’ tour.

8. Rock in Rio: Conquering a continent with just one show
There is no place in the world where Iron Maiden are bigger than in South America, where fans are often reduced to tears, so grateful to have witnessed what many deem the world’s greatest metal band. Before Powerslave though, Maiden had yet to plant their flag in South America and claim it as their own, having never played a show there up until this point. Then came the inaugural Rock in Rio event, where the Brits played to a crowd of 300,000 people. “We conquered an entire continent overnight with that one show. And that was astonishing,” Dickinson told Kerrang.

Iron Maiden at Rock in Rio — 1985

9. Bruce Dickinson, that sneaky S-O-B
Every band argues. It’s perfectly normal. But what happens when the singer discretely eggs on a heated exchange between the band’s founding member and his rhythmic counterpart, the drummer? Fortunately, we know, because Bruce Dickinson secretly recorded a war of words between Harris and McBrain, which was later released as a “2 Minutes to Midnight” B-Side title “Mission From ‘Arry.”

A miscommunication onstage led to McBrain giving his roadie a right proper bollocking, which then incensed Harris that someone in his band had treated a crew member so poorly. At least Steve had a sense of humor about the whole thing after.

Iron Maiden, “Mission From ‘Arry”

10. Can you find Mickey Mouse in the cover art?
Mickey may not be very metal, but everyone reading this has a favorite Disney film. Besides, is there some rule that states Brits can’t sell a million albums or two and go bugger off to the happiest place on earth? Didn’t think so. Artist Derek Riggs snuck in a few things in that magnificent piece of Egyptian-themed cover (“Wot, no Guinness?” “Bollocks” “Wot a load of crap” and “Indiana Jones was here”), setting himself up quite nice for the next album which had three baker’s dozen easter eggs.

11. Themes from The Number of the Beast return
It’s those blasted sixes again! Almost as if they were trolling those pearl-clutching religious zealots incensed over the chorus from “The Number of the Beast,” the “six-six-six” bit resurfaced on “Back to the Village” when Bruce sings “I see sixes all the way” and two more whispers of “six follow the initial one in the background.

12. “Flash of the Blade” flashes on the silver screen
If you’re not going to get a ton of radio support, why not land of spot on a horror film soundtrack? “Flash of the Blade,” which you now know was never played live, was chosen for the Dario Argento flick Phenomena, which was released in 1985. In the movie, a Swiss boarding school girl discovers her psychic ability to communicate with bugs and uses these newfound powers to put an end to a serial killer who has a habit for butchering women at the school.

13. Thanks for the poetry lesson, ‘Arry
We saved the 13th fact for the songs that spans over 13 minutes: “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Never has a song with no chorus been this good. Steve Harris wrote this one all to himself and he had bragging rights for Maiden’s longest track until Bruce locked himself away with a piano and a dream, crafting “Empire of the Clouds” in its 18-minute splendor.

Anyway… let’s focus here, this is about poetry! The original tale was told by the English-born William Taylor Coleridge, who penned it at the tail of the 1700s. Long, long story short… a sailor stops a guest at a wedding to recollect his treacherous events at sea, where mutiny led to near-certain death.

Every Iron Maiden Song Ranked

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How Iron Maiden Made ‘Mad Idea’ of Three Guitarists Work

Adrian Smith thought Iron Maiden having three guitarists was a “mad idea” when it was first suggested, he recalled, and explained how the 2000 single “The Wicker Man” played a role in making it work.

When he returned to the band in 1999 following a nine-year absence, bassist Steve Harris didn’t want to lose Janick Gers, Smith’s replacement. Instead, the band became a six-piece, including veteran guitarist Dave Murray.

In an interview with Planet Rock (via Blabbermouth), Smith said, “It could have gone horribly wrong, couldn’t it? I mean, imagine that with three Yngwies [Malmsteen] or three Ritchie Blackmores. It wouldn’t work.”

Noting that he and Murray went “way back,” Smith noted, “At first, maybe I thought that Jan and I would do half a set each or something. But Steve came up with this mad idea – he suggested to them to have three guitarists. I’d like to have been in the room when he said that!”

Despite doubts, the trio agreed to try it out in a rehearsal space in Portugal. “We were all standing and looking at each other,” Smith recalled. “And someone said, ‘Anyone got any ideas?’ So I said, ‘I’ve got a riff.’ So I had ‘The Wicker Man,’ and we started playing it, and it just clicked. So we went on from there.”

Smith argued the three-pronged approach was successful onstage too. “Amazingly enough, it works out,” he said. “In the old stuff, there’s so many harmonies, unison solos, riffs – I mean, it’s so much work. It actually works well with three guitars, especially live.”

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