Iron Maiden monument in 1982 The number of the beast was the point where everything changed for the icons of British metal. With new leather-breathing vocalist Bruce Dickinson replacing the temperamental Paul Di’Anno, it marked a milestone on every level, transforming Maiden from brave underdogs into title contenders.
But even classic albums have their weak points, and Number Of The Beast is no exception. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to rank its nine – yeah, nine – titles in order of magnitude, from worst to best. You’re welcome.
Widely hated by Maiden connoisseurs, in part because it kept the upper good total eclipse out of the album (we’ll get to that in a minute) but mostly because it’s not very good.
Sure, it captures the harshness of East End villains that some Maiden members may or may not have grown up with, but it would have been nice had they remembered to set it to a decent tune.
An inauspicious children’s TV theme from a song to open Iron Maiden’s defining statement, invaders gave Bruce a convoluted tongue twister to launch his debut album Maiden: “Rowboats were sighted and evidence of war began.”
However, it is a poetic improvement on the first line of Maiden’s previous b-side on the same theme, Invasion: “The Vikings are coming, you better get ready because we are fighting.”
7. 22 Acacia Avenue
Essentially a sequel to the equally fiery Charlotte the prostitute from Maiden’s self-titled debut album, 22 Acacia Avenue is a prime example of the band’s gift for telling stories and writing music that takes an audience on the narrative journey.
Originally a song by Adrian Smith’s previous band Urchin, it was revamped by Steve Harris for Maiden’s third album and duly showcased Maiden’s mastery of tempo changes and elaborate arrangements. It also kicks ass.
6. The Prisoner
Inspired by the cult series from the late 60s, The prisoner is wonderful. From the titular TV show’s opening dialogue drama, featuring the late great Patrick McGoohan, to that monstrous opening riff and one of the greatest choruses Maiden has ever produced.
McGoohan gave his personal approval for the band to use his vocals, and it’s not hard to imagine why. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with the most exciting young band on the planet?
5. Children of the Damned
This album classic is loosely inspired by the 1962 British black-and-white horror film of the same name (the sequel to Village of the Damned), in which six children turn out to be aliens, leading to all kinds of violence.
Proposes to Bruce: “I love this song. I have to say that musically we were heavily influenced by ‘children of the sea‘, the song from Black Sabbath. Listen. There’s a bit of that in this song, in terms of structure. But other than that, it’s a beautiful song, almost plaintive at times, until it starts (laughs).
4. The number of the beast
Despite also upsetting a lot of stupid religious people, Maiden’s third album The number of the beast was widely and rightly hailed as a masterpiece when it was released in 1982.
Its title track is still one of the most exciting metal songs of all time: Steve Harris’ love of a spooky thread blending seamlessly with the sound of a heavy metal band on their way to taking over the world. rhythm.
3. Total eclipse
A muscular and sullen mini-epic about the advent of a new ice age, total eclipse was surely a natural choice of The number of the beast LP. Strange, then, that it ended up being relegated to B-side status instead of the throwaway twitter Gangland.
The band now admits that was a mistake, and total eclipse – which was strong enough to make it onto the setlist for the European leg of the Beast On The Road Tour – takes its rightful place as the penultimate song on the CD reissue. That’s why we’ve included it here. Do you want to do something with it?
2. Run for the hills
It was the first Iron Maiden song the world heard with new boy Bruce Dickinson singing along, and he’s an all-time metal hall of famer.
The history of the labors of European settlers in the so-called New World, Run for the hills is told from the perspective of both foreign invaders and oppressed Native Americans (though use of the term “redskins” is rightly a no-no today), it’s an exhilarating history lesson and the perfect taste of what was to come.
1. Hallowed be thy name
Feel free to chat whether it’s that or Metallica Puppeteer is the greatest heavy metal song of all time, but anyway Hallowed be thy name is in the top two. Wielding true emotional power and highlighting Maiden’s soaring storytelling chops, Hallowed’s The story of a convict facing the gallows captured the imagination of a generation of metal fans.
It also firmly established Steve Harris as one of heavy music’s most distinctive songwriters, via melodies and riffs that will live on forever.