10 Greatest Iron Maiden Songs


Live image of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden: Audio Ink Radio presents its 10 greatest Iron Maiden songs of all time – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Ken Settle

Audio Ink Radio shares its list of the 10 greatest Iron Maiden songs of all time

Iron Maiden, unquestionably, are one of the most celebrated heavy metal bands of all time. Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris and company formed in the mid-1970s in Leyton, East London. From there, they went on to become one of the early success stories in the new wave of British heavy metal, landing platinum and gold-selling albums and fans around the world. So, what are the greatest Iron Maiden songs of all time?

While Iron Maiden’s success is in their full-length albums, they’re also a band lauded for their metal singles. There’s something special about an Iron Maiden song. Each track has its own flavor and heavy metal charm, supported by Harris’ exceptional songwriting and Dickinson’s powerful vocals, oozing with passion.

When it comes to Iron Maiden’s discography, while the band has many strong songs, only a handful are the greatest Iron Maiden songs of all time. Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s picks, and reach out to us on social media with your choices.

10. “The Book Of Souls, “The Book of Souls”

Sure, “The Book of Souls,” both the song and album, are newbies in Iron Maiden’s catalog, having dropped in 2015. But, they desserve some respect. The grandiose title track is one of the greatest of Iron Maiden’s later material. It’s a gigantic, 10-minute Steve Harris/Janick Gers-penned collection of heavy metal sounds that rivals their highly respected earlier material. That’s not easy to do decades into a career.

9. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Powerslave”

This finale track on Iron Maiden’s seminal “Powerslave” album takes its regal story from the 18th century poem, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Dickinson tells the tale of being out on sea in an almost 14-minute opus. The song even includes ocean sounds, making this a true journey that not many metal songs have taken. This is storytelling at its finest.

8. “Run to the Hills,” “The Number of the Beast”

“Run to the Hills” is one of Iron Maiden’s trademark songs, so it’s surprising to not find it on many top-10 lists about the band. It’s not only a solid metal song, but “Run to the Hills” is also the perfect workout jam. This song also appeals to a wide range of listeners, as Iron Maiden has a bit of a metal-pop sensibility. Moreover, this is one of the band’s more “political” songs, as it features lyrics about the Native Americans and Europeans who took over their land.

7. “Killers,” “Killers”

The lead single off Iron Maiden’s 1981 set, “Killers,” is a forceful statement, proving the band could follow up the highly praised material of their self-titled debut. The title track, co-written by then-singer Paul Di’Anno and
Steve Harris, is one of Di’Anno strongest songs during his time with the band. It really shows that the Di’Anno era brought something to Iron Maiden’s history.

6. “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,” “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”

Here’s another title track that deserves attention. The title track off “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” is one of Iron Maiden’s best storytelling pieces, taking inspiration from novelist Orson Scott Card’s “Tales Of Alvin Maker series.” It’s an epic, loud, magical number that is one of the pillars of Dickinson’s early time with the band.

5. “Aces High,” “Powerslave”

“Aces High” takes listeners on a heavy metal journey, and it’s a dramatic one. The song even features Winston Churchill’s historic speech, asking citizens to “never surrender.” That said, this is one of Iron Maiden’s most elaborate songs, and it’s a centerpiece of their career.

4. “Powerslave,” “Powerslave”

The title track from “Powerslave,” penned by Dickinson, helped take Iron Maiden from being one of the biggest heavy metal bands in their country to one of the biggest in the world. The song features a bevy of sounds, from dark metal guitars to a psychedelic run in the middle. Moreover, it truly represents Iron Maiden’s mid-1980s era.

3. “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” “The Number Of The Beast”

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” is simply the blueprint for not just Iron Maiden but for the entire heavy metal genre. The song tells the story of a condemned prisoner who goes through claustrophobia of prison, and it’s a beautifully terrifying storyline. Dickinson really shows off his operatic pipes in this track, and it’s simply one of the greatest in their catalog.

2. “The Trooper,” “Piece Of Mind”

“The Trooper” is another mainstay in Iron Maiden’s collection. The song takes inspiration from the Lord Tennyson poem, “The Charge Of The Light Brigade.” It tells the tale of a Cavalryman during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. Aside from the history, musically, “The Trooper” displays excellent songwriting, showing off Harris’ writing at its best.

1. “Phantom of the Opera,” “Iron Maiden”

“Phantom Of The Opera” is a crucial song in the story of Iron Maiden, because it marked the first time Harris really tried to present a dramatic, operatic song of epic proportions. From the opening riff to the catchy, anthemic chorus, “Phantom of the Opera,” well, is Iron Maiden. It was an early indicator of Iron Maiden’s talent and potential, and for that, we’re making it No. 1 on our tally of the greatest Iron Maiden songs of all time.

The Beastie Boys are very different from Iron Maiden, but they also have some fantastic songs in their catalog. Find Audio Ink Radio’s feature on the greatest Beastie Boys songs here.

Have an idea for a feature or comment? Contact Audio Ink Radio head writer Anne Erickson at anne@audioinkradio.com.

Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music

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