Once the calendar month turned to September in 1986 out came “Somewhere In Time” the latest release from the mighty Iron Maiden.
“Somewhere In Time” in the catalog of Maiden sometimes it gets forgotten about as so many classic Maiden records that came during the 80s as the pace that Maiden was doing was crazy.
A 13-month tour of “Powerslave” almost drove singer Bruce Dickinson out of the band. It didn’t help Bruce’s case that when the band gathered their ideas to begin the album. None of what Bruce wrote made the cut as I’m sure Steve Harris had a focus on where “Somewhere In Time” would be headed musically and Bruce’s tunes were not in Harris sightlines.
Ugh, I’m sure that was touchy time, to say the least! Not that any of us knew any better at the time (1986) as in interviews the Maiden guys said Bruce was fried out from the Powerslave tour so fair enough.
With a man down in the songwriting department up rose guitarist Adrian Smith who contributed three great rock songs.
Adrian has a real flair for adding a melodic rock touch to the songs he writes at times. “Sea of Madness” starts off with a bang with that familiar Maiden gallop of the instruments but the chorus goes into melodic rock vibe, Maiden style that is.
Smith also wrote the brilliant “Stranger In A Strange Land”. Love how the song builds and builds. Bruce even though had his tunes denied for the album he still showed up and gave it his all vocally.
As a fan back than Maiden kept their lid on all personal matters internally for the most part. RUSH, Van Halen and AC/DC are the others who come to mind who would keep their business private, unlike Motley Crue who wanted everybody to read about there drama and still do.
The biggie track though that comes from this record that got a ton of video play was “Wasted Years”. Once again Adrian leads the way with the opening ‘riff’ that takes the song over. Catchy verses and an even catchier chorus capped off with a brilliant Adrain solo!
Adrian more than picked up the slack of Bruce’s non-writing credits and boy did the dude deliver!
Steve Harris wrote five songs including a co-wrote “Deja Vu” with Dave Murray which is a pretty decent song as it’s always nice to see Murray show up every album or two with a co-write.
Of the four songs solo that Steve Harris wrote by all accounts two, I considered absolute classics upon first listen as a 19-year-old in 1986 whereas the other two tracks that Harris wrote were slow growers in the world of deKe.
The two slow growers were “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” and “Alexander The Great”. Both tracks were on Side 2 with TLOTLDR being the first track and at the time it was a different type of Maiden tune.
Nicko must have hit that snare drum about 1000 times on the track. I found it laggy back than but when I reacquired this album a year or so ago I found out that I dug it more now in 2020 than 1986. Shit, I must be mellowing!
“Alexander The Great” was also a tough listen. Maybe I was burnt on the long Maiden Harris tracks. But like the ‘Runner’ tune ATG grew on me as you can’t fault these epic time changes that Harris composed. Maybe it was the catchy Adrian melodic metal that I was looking for at the time. Who knows? Now that I’m old I can appreciate it. Also, I have a bit more time on my hands as back than tons of music was coming out.
Now one of the two Harris tracks that were awesome and still are awesome is “Heaven Can Wait”. What a great opening riff and as the song goes so does the tempo. Bruce commands participation during the section of ‘Oh Oh Oh’. Fantastic tune.
Now the opening track that leads off the album I would have to say is one of the best ever written Harris tracks. “Caught Somewhere In Time” is one of the best ever openers and I still can’t believe to this day they have only played this tune on the 86/87 World Tour.
Why? I have no idea but Harris grand slammed this song out of the park. I love the charge of the drums from Nicko McBrain and don’t you just love that synthy sound that emulates from the guitars? I sure do. Bruce delivers an outstanding vocal as he really nails it during the chorus.
I recall reading I think it was either Kerrang or Metal Hammer at the time as Judas Priest were not too happy with what Maiden was doing in regards to the synth guitars as you recall earlier that year Priest released the “Turbo” album which was a huge shift in their sound. Who knows if it was true but makes for a great debate.
“Caught Somewhere In Time” is easily in my all-time Top 5 Maiden songs! Yeah, I just typed that.
For an album that sometimes gets overlooked in the catalog of Iron Maiden Somewhere In Time is a stellar release that over time(ha) at any given time can easily be my favorite Maiden studio release.
Canadian Sales of Somewhere In Time- Double Platinum
U.S Sales of Somewhere In Time- Platinum