Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Iron Maiden. In fact, they are probably one of my favorite bands, next to Metallica. Since I have been a teenager I have had an absolute affinity for these guys and just really cannot get enough of their music. Beyond being a fan, their music has had such an effect on my guitar playing. Adrian Smith would probably be the biggest influence out of the three guitar players (at least on records since 1979), as his style has always resonated well with me. In addition though, the songs and the playing and musical arrangements make me drawn to these guys. I will not and cannot accept someone who claims themselves a fan of metal without citing Iron Maiden’s importance in the genre.
Today, I thought it would be awesome to list my top ten Iron Maiden tracks for all of you guys to check out. I am sure there will be some varying opinions here, but I know what I like and welcome your feedback.
1) ‘Caught Somewhere In Time’
The opening track off my favorite Iron Maiden album, Somewhere In Time, I know certain Maiden purists would crucify me for saying that this is my favorite record from the band, but it really is. The energy comprised in this track is second to none. Great trade-off solos between Adrian Smith and Dave Murray and the opening build up comprises all that is great about massive arena rock. The Blade Runner-themed record cover is definitely a big plus too.
My favorite track off 1983’s Piece Of Mind and for me this is a close second to number one. The slower tempo of this song allows for some killer back beat drumming from Nicko McBrain and the second half of the song picks up dramatically. There has always been this awesome clean guitar/acoustic part that apparently Bruce Dickinson wrote (if I am correct) with the lyrics, “Just a babe in a black abyss…” completely epic!!!
3) ‘Number Of The Beast’
What can be said about this track, the intro conjures some of the darkest images of folklore and satanic themes. Probably the biggest hit for these guys and definitely a fan favorite played live. The chorus is definitely anthemic, the audience always sings along to maximum volume. Love the original recorded version where the intro has a slow, sweeping phaser on the guitar.
A killer up-tempo track starting with the legendary Steve Harris bass line that is followed by some awesome lead guitar playing. It is the only track of the list that features former Maiden vocalist Paul Di’anno. The times I have seen Maiden it was always a pleasure watching this song belted out. Definitely made to play live!
5) ‘Rime of The Ancient Mariner’
Powerslave also features some of the best artwork from Iron Maiden and of course the amazing live album Live After Death was recorded in 1985 on this tour in Southern California. Lyrics are great (Dickinson is rumored to be a high school history teacher or college history major), the breakdown in the middle is filled with droning bass lines as well as awesome volume/delay swells on the guitar. At a full 13 minutes plus, it definitely is one of the longest Iron Maiden songs.
6) ‘The Clairvoyant’
Fans of Iron Maiden are divided over Seventh Son of A Seventh Son as many thought that it was a departure from their previous sound. I, for one, absolutely love this record and would put it in my top three favorites for sure. I think this song really strikes a chord with me because of Bruce’s prolific lyrics, I feel like someone is telling me my future. “There’s a time to live, and a time to die, when it’s time to meet your maker, there’s a time to live, but isn’t strange, as soon as you’re born you’re dying.” Enough said!
7) ‘Fear of The Dark’
Although people my give me some flack, this was the first record from Iron Maiden that I ever got into. The title track was definitely the stand out piece to me and when I was learning to play the guitar, the intro was something that helped me lay out the fretboard really easy. Has an awesome clean guitar verse and great vocal delivery once again by Mr. Dickinson.
The title track off the 1984 record, this particular year was a great year from rock and roll and this album and track were definitely some of the best parts of it. A little Harmonic-minor riffing and trademark guitar gallops make this a must listen for any fan. Is it possible that there is any Iron Maiden fan who does not like Powerslave?
9) ‘Sea of Madness’
Another Adrian Smith-penned track (again, his songs and style are my favorite part of Iron Maiden) with one his finest guitar solos and probably one of the most driving, intense riffs these guys have ever come up with. Adrian brings it!
10) ‘The Wicker Man’
When Bruce Dickinson rejoined Iron Maiden and released this record I was so pumped. It was a triumphant return to their pedestal in metal. This song, I felt, was a great tribute to the old school style that made them so well known.
So those are mine. But which are your favorite Iron Maiden tracks?