“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