Friday, August 19, 2011


YEAR: 1982

LABEL: EMI/Columbia

TRACK LISTING: Invaders, Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, 22 Acacia Avenue, The Number of the Beast, Run To the Hills, Gangland, Total Eclipse, Hallowed Be Thy Name

BONUS TRACKS: "Total Eclipse" did not appear on the original album

IMPRESSIONS: I came to this album fairly late so consequently I don't have any deep impressions of it to relate. It is considered one of Iron Maiden's greatest albums and is routinely voted one of the top metal albums of all time.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, Hallowed Be Thy Name

FACT SHEET: THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST is Iron Maiden's third album and the first with lead singer Bruce Dickinson. This is one of the few albums that doesn't feature a song written by Dave Murray and the only album to have songwriting by drummer Clive Burr; it is also the first album with songwriting by Adrian Smith and the "new style" Steve Harris -- not to mention the first Maiden album that doesn't have an instrumental track. The album stirred up a lot of controversy for its supposed "satanic" message which bassist Steve Harris (who wrote the title track) found "laughable". The album cover art was done (as usual in the 1980s and early 90s) by Derek Riggs and features (as usual) the band's mascot "Eddie". The original vinyl album cover featured a misprinting of the background sky in light blue; it has since been corrected to black for the cd. The inspiration for the title track (and consequently the album title) was from Steve Harris having a nightmare after watching the movie "DAMIEN: OMEN II"; he found the satanic business both frightening and funny so he used it as an inspiration. The title track features a spoken introduction by actor Barry Clayton which uses the King James version of Revelations 13:18 and is reportedly inspired by Robert Burns' "Tam O'Shanter". "Children of the Damned" seems to have been based on the films "VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED" and its sequel "CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED" which were based on John Wyndham's novel "THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS"; however in recent years on a BBC Radio interview Bruce Dickinson told Ronnie James Dio that the song was actually inspired by Black Sabbath's song "Children of the Sea". "The Prisoner" was inspired by the Patrick McGoohan TV series of the same name; when asked permission to use dialogue from the show in the song, McGoohan reportedly asked: "What did you say the name was? Iron Maiden? Do it." Bruce Dickinson apparently was greatly involved in the songwriting for such songs as "Children of the Damned", "The Prisoner" and "Run To the Hills" but was unable to received co-writing credit due to contractual problems with his previous band "Samson" at the time.

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