This was Iron Maiden's first full-length studio album, although it contains a couple of re-recorded versions of tracks from The SoundhouseTapes. Most of the songs on this album had been played by the band during the previous several years during their endless series of small gigs at various clubs and pubs around London . For this reason, the album contains a wide range of material that is not really unified into any specific theme or style. The sound is also a bit different from the later albums to which most Maiden fans are accustomed, but after several listens their unique power and depth begin to sink in. This is particularly astonishing because although Will Malone was officially the producer for the album, he never contributed much and the album production was mostly done by the band and the recording engineer. So although the production is a bit primitive, the album virtually explodes with raw energy and power. Several of these tracks have become Maiden classics and still almost mandatory at every Maiden concert..
Despite being about a sicko who likes to lurk in the shadows and flash women, this song has an incredibly catchy tune. The lyrics are somewhat shallow and probably reflect what most Rock bands were mainly singing about at that time although this hasn't changed much nowadays! It is however a very good song thanks to its melody and raw power. It was first recorded on the legendary Soundhouse Tapes, but this album version is re-recorded at a faster tempo and is far superior to the Soundhouse version. Its instrumental and guitar solo are great, making it one of the most enjoyable songs on the album.
'Prowler' was re-recorded in 1988 and aptly titled 'Prowler '88' for the B-side of the The Evil That Men Do
'Sanctuary' first appeared on the Metal For Muthas compilation, and it did not appear on the UK/European version of the album until the 1998 re-release. It was Maiden's second single, which rose as high as number 29 in the U.K. charts. It is a fast and energetic song about a criminal fugitive from the law (a theme that later appears on several other Maiden songs including 'Murders In The Rue Morgue', 'Innocent Exile', and 'The Fugitive').
The sentence "I've never killed a woman before but I know how it feels" is quite intriguing. To whom does this refer? Could it be that this is about Eddie murdering Maggie Thatcher, as depicted on the single's sleeve? This is however quite unlikely, as the illustration was in fact drawn after the song was written and this particular sentence was the one that inspired Derek Riggs to paint the murdering
According to Di'Anno, this song is about his grandfather, although the meaning of the lyrics is somewhat obscure. It is a relatively slow-tempo song, with both acoustic and power guitar parts and another great instrumental and solo. Some people have suggested that Di'Anno's grandfather may have been a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II. This is illustrated by sentences like "the clouds take me higher" (the pilot's view from his aircraft), linked to "I shall return from out of the fire" (the hope of the pilot that he'll survive the combat). Moreover, "Out in the madness the all seeing eye/Flickers above us to light up the sky" may refer to the searchlights during a bombing raid. Although there is no evidence that this is true, it does make sense somehow.
Running Free' was Maiden's first single, and is still a Maiden classic and one of their most memorable songs. It is a very simple song by Maiden standards, with a repetitive tune and chorus, but it still manages to convey some energy. 'Running Free' is a much better song when played live, and indeed it has been a concert staple over the years. Despite all that, this song is far from being one of the best on this album it's just a bit too simple and repetitive to make it a really good Maiden composition. Early versions of this song had a guitar solo by Dave Murray, but for some reason the solo was dropped before the album was released. That's a shame because the solo added an interesting spark of energy that now seems to be lacking.
The story is basically that of a runaway American teenager who hitch-hikes his way through the country in pursuit of fun (this could happen in any other country). It is not clear why he spends a night in a Los Angeles jail (maybe just for the rime!), although one may suspect that the vagrancy laws of California are somewhat tougher than those in Britain . Nevertheless, he successfully manages to pick up a girl at some bar called The Bottle Top, which has probably angered the "natives", as "all the boys are after [him]". He doesn't seem to mind, but on the opposite seems to enjoy it. There are some wild youths who like to live dangerously!
Paul Di'Anno was asked what 'Running free was about by Shan Siva, of battlehelm.com, and here's his answer:
"'Running Free' is about me as a kid. My mum ruled my life, but she said to me, You live in a shit area, but do what you can do and see what happens... As long as you dont hurt anybody, just get on with it. But I did get into trouble with the law a few times and thats the only thing I wish I could change... The grief I gave my poor mama. I never really knew my real dad, but my step dad was really cool. Sometimes, hed surprise us and walk in when we were doing some speed, but hed just brush it off as long as it wasnt heroin or the hard shit. I dont have the same attitude with my kids, though if I catch 'em with anything Ill kick the crap outta them."
Yet another interesting story by master story-teller Paul Di'Anno. Is there any truth in this? Probably.
This song is inspired by the 1910 classic novel of the same name by French author Gaston Leroux (18681927), on which the famous broadway show by Andrew Lloyd Webber is also based (go see it, it is really great). The story is basically one of love, fame and jealousy, with a gruesome character who has his lair deep under the Paris Opera House, and who perpetrates he Phantom, Erik, is someone whose ugliness forces him to live as a recluse away from mankind. However, his thirst for love is a strong as that of any other human being and only wants to be loved for himself. When he falls in love with Christine Daae, a talented and beautiful young opera singer, his feelings are torn between the love he has for her and the jealousy he feels towards her fiance, the Viscount Raoul de Chagny, and the rest of "the human race". The writing style of the novel is slightly outdated, and it is certain that, narrated by Stephen King, the novel would have been over twice as long and with more gruesome details. However, Leroux manages to captivate the reader and to unfold the story before our eyes in the most interesting manner. Those who love to read will enjoy this book.dark deeds for the love of a woman.
Many films have been made about this novel and the 1974 Brian De Palma film, Phantom of the Paradise is also inspired by the same story that the director transposed to a more modern setting.
In any case, this is one of Maiden's greatest songs, and many fans' favourite of all time (next to 'Hallowed Be Thy Name'). The instrumental section slowly builds from a soft and slow guitar solo into a driving rhythm which builds and builds and finally climaxes with two of the most enjoyable guitar solos ever, after which it unbuilds back the way it came. It is impossible to describe it adequately, and has to be heard to be believed. If you buy the CD only for this song, it will be well worth it.
This is a very cool and catchy instrumental track, the first of only four that were ever done by Iron Maiden. (The others are 'The Ides Of March', 'Genghis Khan', and 'Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)').
Other than the title, there aren't any clues to what the song is about. Transylvania, however, is a real place located inside modern-day Romania. It was made famous as the setting for Bram Stoker's (18471912) classic vampire novel Dracula, which has been made into numerous movies, the best of which being probably Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
It is likely that the song was somehow inspired by the Dracula story, itself inspired by the life of Vlad Tepes, the ruthless ruler of Wallachia in the 15th century. It is not clear why Stoker used this historical character as a basis for his story, as there is no evidence that the man was drinking any human blood depite all the atrocities he committed.
A mostly acoustic song, this is a re-recording of the version that first appeared on the Soundhouse Tapes in 1979. Although this version of 'Strange World' is excellent, it doesn't seem to have improved much from the Soundhouse version. Nevertheless, it is a great slow-type song whose style is quite similar to that of 'Remember Tomorrow', with dream-like lyrics.
Many people wonder about the origins of the lyrics of 'Strange World'. Some like to link it to 'Transylvania', since they are obviously overlapping musically on the album, but this song doesn't seem to be related to the vampire theme. The "plasma wine" mentioned in the lyrics could somehow relate it to some sort of blood-drinking creatures, but are we talking about the same plasma? Moreover, 'Transylvania' was supposed to have lyrics at first, weakening furthermore the supposed link between the two songs.
Some could say that the song is just about getting high, but it doesn't seem to be enough either, since it doesn't explain why the whole feel of the song is so sad. If you consider the "never grow old" phrase, it sounds like an ideal situation: being able to get a grip on reality, trying to pause time and cheer the unique feeling of the moment you're living. Of course, this is quite impossible since time runs wild and quick and no one can really grasp it. That's why the song could also be about getting in a state of mind where one can believe he can pause time, while knowing at the same time that it's a pure temporary illusion, hence the depressed music.
The song can therefore be interpreted in several ways, like a piece of poetry. It seems to have no true meaning, but it is all down to how you view it. Some may think it's about dreams, but others may see it as something else.
This is the first song in what became a series of Charlotte songs, which describe some of the pain and emotion involved with having a prostitute for a girlfriend. Although overshadowed by '22 Acacia Avenue', this is still a good song in its own right. 'Charlotte The Harlot' was later re-recorded as a B-side to The Evil That Men Do single in 1988.
The questions, "who was Charlotte the Harlot? Did she really exist?" have been asked time and time again to the Maiden boys, but no clear answer ever passed their lips. Only when the question was popped by Shan Siva, of battlehelm.com, to Paul Di'Anno a few year ago, did we get some idea about who she might have been. Here's what Paul said:
"Yep, it's true. Her real name is High Hill Lil and shes basically an old prostitute. Well, actually she was more of a slut, ha ha! I mean, if you turned up to her house with some booze or some speed you were more or less guaranteed a lay. She was a legend in Walthamstow, everyone knew her... She was about 45 but a real rock out bitch... Shed take any guy from 15 upwards, ha ha! The song says that she lived on Acacia Avenue but it's actually Markhouse Road, just before you go into Leyton 'cause that's the area where I lived."
Paul is known to have said things that weren't entirely true, so this information needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. In any case, this is some element of answer for whoever's interested in knowing whether Charlotte was a real person or not .
Another classic Maiden song, this is a mandatory song at all Maiden concerts. It was first recorded on the Soundhouse Tapes and, although this re-recorded version is much superior to the Soundhouse version, it still doesn't make it a very good song by Maiden's standards. There isn't any guitar solo, and the lyrics seem quite strange. It is hard to understand how such a medium-quality song has become the band's trademark song over the years.
Note that an "Iron Maiden" was a medieval torture instrument looking like a sarcophagus, and whose "door" was embedded with sharp spikes. It was usually used vertically and the victim was put inside before the door was allowed to slowly close under the influence of its own weight. What a horrible way to die! More recently, "Iron Maiden" was the nickname of Margaret "Maggie" Thatcher who was head of the Conservative party in the U.K., then elected Prime Minister of Britain around the time the band started. She appears on the cover sleeves of the Sanctuary and Women In Uniform singles.