Yet again a good standard Maiden album-opener. Smith's signature is easily recognisable and he gratifies us with a blinding solo. All in all, there is nothing special to say about this song. It was a made-to-be single track with lyrics similar to those of 'Wasted Years' (another Adrian Smith composition), reminding us that life is short and that there's no point moping around whereas we could be out there having fun. The rumour has it that it could also be a reflection of Steve Harris on his divorce.
The main particularity of this song is that it was the first song of the album to have been disclosed to the audience during the 'Gimme Ed 'Til I'm Dead' tour that took place prior to the release of the Dance of Death album, and Bruce warned the audience at every concert that he didn't care if the song was illegally recorded and posted as an mp3 file on the Internet, as long as people were going to buy the album on the day of its release. This marks the beginning of a new attitude towards diffusion of music files over the Net, far remote from Metallica's who initiated court cases during the infamous "Napster Incident", and thus made themselves very unpopular.
Iron Maiden have understood that the mp3s anyone can download from the Net should be an appetiser, either before an album release or to get to know an album before buying it. People who download music without ever buying the albums are committing a crime by law such a crime's name is simply "theft" and are abusing this great system that allows the sampling of an album before its purchase. Steve commented quite rightly a few years ago that, because of such an electronic diffusion of music, they would have to re-think the way they do things in the future, and that's exactly what they did. Not a single note of the album was to be found on the Internet prior to the release of Dance of Death, and 'Wildest Dreams' was only known through the poor-quality live recordings that were made during the tour. This manoeuvre actually raised the fans' curiosity and constituted a pretty good marketing gimmick. Maiden had cleverly turned illegal diffusion of music files to their advantage, and fuelled more interest in their upcoming album than before.
One last thing to note about 'Wildest Dreams': the album doesn't start with the music right away, but with Nicko counting the beat. Most albums have Nicko talking at the end of some track or another, but this one is special in the way that "Mad McBrain" is the first one to be heard on an album before the music even starts. Nicko can also be heard before 'King Of Twilight', the B-side of the Aces High single, and on 'Justice Of The Peace', the B-side of the Man On The Edge single, as well as at the beginning of 'Losfer Words', the instrumental featured on the Powerslave album. What may be the reason for that? Just for fun probably...