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Piece of Mind was released on May 16th, 1983 and is the fourth studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Piece of Mind was also the first Iron Maiden album not to be titled after a track on the album.
Piece of Mind was the first album to feature ex-Pat Travers drummer Nicko McBrain, who had recently left the Paris-based band Trust. In fact each Iron Maiden album had seen an original member leave (in this case drummer Clive Burr) but this last change was the last until 1990 and widely regarded as *the* classic Iron Maiden lineup.
Even with all the changes in personnel, all the trademark Iron Maiden elements are there – Derek Riggs “Eddie the Head” artwork, galloping bass-lines, soaring vocals and the twin attack of harmonized guitars. However producer Martin Birch had polished the sound a little, making it more accessible and for the first time it featured meaningful songwriting contributions from members other than bassist Steve Harris.
However another Steve Harris composition in the shape of “The Trooper” remains as one of the most popular songs in the band’s history, included in the set list of every tour since the album’s release. It is based on Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” thrusting the listener right into the middle of a battlefield during the Crimean war.
The last track “To Tame a Land” was originally entitled “Dune” but Dune’s author, Frank Herbert, refused Iron Maiden‘s request to name the song after his book, so it became “To Tame a Land”. This is a 7 minute epic closing Piece of Mind in a fantastically over the top barrage of intricate guitars, booming bass and vocals.
Most of the rest of the album is also of a high standard, however Piece of Mind was the first Iron Maiden album to include tracks that I actively skip (“Sun and Steel” being the most skipped), but it is still an undisputed metal classic and many feel this is the quintessential Iron Maiden album.
- Bruce Dickinson – vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Adrian Smith – guitar, backing vocals
- Steve Harris – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Nicko McBrain – drums
- Martin Birch – Producer, Engineer, Mixer
- Frank Gibson – Asst Engineer
- Denis Haliburton – Asst Engineer
- “Where Eagles Dare” (Steve Harris) – 6:10
- “Revelations” (Bruce Dickinson) – 6:48
- “Flight of Icarus” (Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith) – 3:51
- “Die With Your Boots On” (Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Steve Harris) – 5:28
- “The Trooper” (Steve Harris) – 4:15
- “Still Life” (Dave Murray, Steve Harris) – 4:53
- “Quest for Fire” (Steve Harris) – 3:41
- “Sun and Steel” (Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith) – 3:26
- “To Tame a Land” (Steve Harris) – 7:27
1995 reissue bonus CD
- “I Got the Fire” (Montrose cover)
- “Cross-Eyed Mary” (Jethro Tull cover)
At the beginning of the sixth track, Still Life, the band included a hidden message which could only be understood by playing the album backwards. This was a joke and an intended swing back at the right wing Christian groups who had accused Iron Maiden of being satanic and corrupting the nation’s youth.
In reality the backwards-message features Nicko McBrain mimicking Idi Amin…or at least mimicking a mimic, mimicking Idi Amin!