Iron Maiden: Powerslave (1984)


Powerslave” was released on September 3rd, 1984, and in coinciding with my first week back to school entering Grade 12 Iron Maiden put out a new album which totally had me NOT doing my homework.

Studying the fascinating “Powerslave” front and back cover artwork done amazingly yet again by Derek Riggs totally blew my mind. I spent hours looking at all the intricacies of minor detail on the cover. 

Just the cover alone sidetracked me!

Circus Magazine had in one of their summer issues(a few months before) an ad for the upcoming “Powerslave” album and the release date. 

Come release day it was off to the record store and Tbone was in tow as well and we both purchased our own copies of the new Maiden release. I bought it on vinyl, Tbone on cassette tape.

Upon getting home it was a quick drop of the needle onto the vinyl and opening track “Ace’s High”. Nicko McBrain leads the charge with his drumming and from there were off. 

“Ace’s High” is a great album opener and of course, over the years it became at times the set opener at shows. 

Bassist Steve Harris wrote 4 songs on “Powerslave”. The already mentioned “Ace’s High, Losfer’s Word (Big Orra)” which is an instrumental, “The Duellists”, and the classic 13-minute “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Harris always delivered stellar writing as you could easily learn a good early history lesson from Steve. “To Tame A Land” and “Where Eagles Dare” from 83’s “Piece of Mind” came to me right away when I was typing this.

“Rime of the Ancient Mariner” came in handy for me when I needed to explain a poem in Grade 12 English.  Thanks to Steve I got an A on my presentation thanks to the help of playing snippets of Rime in my class( much to the dismay of the yuppies in the front row) and the fact that Steve explained to me the whole meaning of the Samual Taylor Coolridge poem in 13 minutes!

God Bless Steve Harris!

Bruce Dickinson also had a big hand on this record. Writing two songs by himself (Flash of the Blade and the title track Powerslave) while doing two co-writes with Adrian Smith (2 Minutes To Midnight and Back In The Village).

“Powerslave” the song is one of the best Maiden tracks ever.  The song takes off from the get-go and as it builds it lifts off than breaks down as Dave Murray and Adrian take over and build up the tune as the solo’s take off like a rocket. When Maiden played this tune on the 2017 “Book of Souls Tour” I lost my shit when I heard it LIVE!

Adrian over the years is easily one of the best riff gods in the game of metal. That opening riff to “2 Minutes To Midnight” proves that theory going back in the Maiden catalog how about that opening riff to” 22 Acacia Avenue” from 82’s “The Number of The Beast” album.

FYI-more classic Adrian riffs are coming during this series so stay tuned.

1984 was packed with huge albums from huge bands in the Hard Rock spectrum( Van Halen, RUSH, Dio, Judas Priest, KISS, and others) yet Maiden held their own and solidified the fan base with both the “Powerslave” album and tour.

Canadian Sales of Powerslave- Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Powerslave- Platinum



38 thoughts on “Iron Maiden: Powerslave (1984)”

  1. I quite love this album. Got it my junior year in high school. Remember it vividly as we had just moved and my room wasn’t finished yet so I was sleeping in the garage. Fun times. NOT!

    I remember a thunderstorm one night and having lightning crack right outside the house, and the garage isn’t exactly insulated well so I jumped out of my skin at about 2 AM!

    As for this album. Pretty much perfect. One of their best releases, I’m hard pressed to find a genuine dud. I saw them on tour the next summer, and they killed it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not to mention all the crickets since it was summer time and I.m from MO. I remember them driving me up the wall during the night time. They wouldn’t shut up.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Like many of these 80’s Maiden albums I have a hard time picking just one. The momentum that had been building up since TNOTB album was huge and it spilled over onto this album and tour.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 1984 was a great year for music in general. Even stuff that was mainstream like Purple Rain and Born in the U.S.A. were great records.

        You left off maybe my favorite metal album of 1984. Don’t Break the Oath!

        Harrison’s very favorite vocalist of all time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah Man! Powers lace is where things really heat up. The Live After Death record for this tour is still able to get the hairs on the back of my neck up. Such a great and influential metal album and so few tracks. Restraint is an underrated quality in classic rock albums

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shoot, I saw this album at the Book Off last week Friday, but it was $18 (or $29, there were three Maiden albums and I went with the cheapest one, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’). I’m happy with my choice, but I really wanted ‘Powerslave’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deke, I’m enjoying reading about the impact of Iron Maiden on your musical and school education.
    I like how this one initially derailed the homework upon its release but then it turned out the time spent listening paid off nicely on the eventual english presentation!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime, Deke – I remember trying to include my favourite music in presentations whenever possible. If you’re interested in the topic you’re presenting, you’re going to do a lot better than if it felt like just another school project!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the things that got me into Iron Maiden was the cover art. At the time, this was undisputably their best cover. Funny enough Sam the Record Man always had Powerslave on blowout yet I never got vinyl. I got cassette instead.

    But anyway the cover art. Somewhere on there it says “Indiana Jones Was Here” and I was like, OK. My old world connected with my new world. It made it just easier to get out of childhood and into the teen years of heavy metal because there were already bridges between them.

    But I had a cassette and like many EMI cassettes in the 80s, it sounded horrific. Not until 1995 did I finally get to hear Powerslave properly once again. I knew i loved it, I just couldn’t stand playing that tape.

    Liked by 1 person

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