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This is one of the best songs on the album, and indeed one of Maiden's best songs of all time. It is about someone who is obsessed with the spirits in a pool of water, and eventually joins them, taking his partner with him. It has been suggested that 'Still Life' is based on a short story called "The Inhabitant Of The Lake", featured in a collection of novellas, Cold Print (1969), by Ramsey Campbell. However, the album credits do not mention him and it's hard to be sure. Although Steve Harris said that the song was about the fear of drowning, it has always reminded me of the Dead Marshes in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings:


'I don't know,' said Frodo in a dreamlike voice. 'But I have seen them too. In the pools when the candles were lit. They lie in all the pools, pale faces, deep deep under the dark water. I saw them: grim faces and evil, and noble faces and sad. Many faces proud and fair, and weeds in their silver hair. But all foul, all rotting, all dead. A fell light is in them.'

Quoted from The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Regardless of the source, this is an extremely powerful and compelling song, and it undoubtedly represents the climax of the Piece Of Mind album. If you're interested in the backward message that appears at the beginning of 'Still Life', including RealAudio samples, go here. At the end of the song, you can also hear Nicko say: "Yeah, that was fucking great!"

It's basically a story of a guy who is drawn like a magnet to a pool of water. He sees faces in the lake. He has nightmares about it and in the end he jumps in and takes his lady with him. It's a very enjoyable number to play because there's a lot going on. Again we're creating a mood and coming in with a very heavy guitar sound. Adrian takes the first solo. After the solo there is a really tight bass and drums staccato part which goes right across the top of the riff. I like that part a lot.

Steve Harris



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