Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time (1986)

 

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. 

Oh boy…

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

 

 

42 thoughts on “Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time (1986)”

  1. Another great write-up Sir Deke! This one I’m familiar with the cover and the album name, but I don’t think I know any of the songs on this one. In ’86 my taste were pretty much Ratt, Motley, Scorpions, Lep and about to be Whitesnake. Still, the urge to start buying these is getting greater.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the thing John there was so much music coming out it was crazy to keep up. Maiden for me was a priority if you didn’t already know! Lol
      But yeah it would be cool to see one of these albums is the Snowman’s collection !

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My favourite 80s Maiden album. Seventh Son might be a better album objectively (and is my second favourite 80s Maiden album), but this will always be my preferred of the first seven

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great write up. I went in so hard for this album. The richness of that sleeve which I studied in every tiny detail from Caught Somewhere to Alexander The Great and back again. I still quote that “My Son, Ask for thy self another kingdom” line whenever ATG is mentioned and people think I went to a posher school than I did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha. Thats awesome Steve! Harris once again helping out one’s mind with his lyrics. That is by the way a great line to quote. I’m sure you could go to Harvard on that line.
      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember dubbing this on a 90 cassette (45 mins on each side) and putting side 2 first so I can have all of ATG as I knew Heaven Can Wait would be cut off towards the end.
    And the title track is one of my favourites as well. It’s hardly played live, along with 7th Son, which needs to be revisited if you ask me.
    And Smith is the star here, his three tracks are awesome and his riffs, especially the SIASL riff.

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  5. I was off the train after this one. Haha. But I do like this one. I quit way earlier than most people did. I’ve heard all the later stuff, but I don’t own it. I can’t really say I think I’m missing out on that much.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just think all the prog stuff got boring since it’s not really prog, it’s just repetition until they get to prog lengths. The albums where they stripped back weren’t that good either, see the craptastic No Prayer.

        Brave New World was pretty decent, Fear of the Dark had some winners too.

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  6. I noticed a track “Stranger in a Strange Land.” Since I never heard that song, I am curious whether it was inspired by Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi masterpiece. Maiden does seem to draw on literature for inspiration (Rime of the Ancient Mariner comes to mind). Might have to check it out. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘Somewhere in Time,’ Deke! I enjoyed reading about the songs you grew to like overtime and I’m one of those folks that hasn’t heard stuff other than “Wasted Years” from that album. I was missing out though because that’s not even the best track on there. I personally like “Sea of Madness.” I didn’t know that much stuff went down with Bruce Dickinson. 13 month tours are never good; Bon Jovi learned that the hard way.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a great track. When I first heard this tune years ago I told my pal that it sounded like a Bryan Adams tune on steroids. Reach Out is with Bruce backing up Adrian is awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Funny enough when listening to it, I thought, “the track doesn’t need Bruce on backing vocals.” But I got into it as the song went on. I think cause he and Adrian have contrasting voices. Why’d they take the song off streaming sites though?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lana, you should look into A.S.A.P. (Adrian Smith and Project) as well. It’s the band Adrian formed during a rare Maiden-related break after the 7th Son tour was finished. They released one album in 1989 called Silver and Gold. It’s more hard rock than heavy metal – very Def Leppard-esque – and a pretty fun listen.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This album is Number 2 With a Bullet for me, and on any given day, it could easily be #1. “Wasted Years” is absolutely my favorite song ever. When I finally got to see Maiden live for the first time back in 2013, I found myself standing next to a Latino fella who spoke very limited English and we sang along with “Wasted Years” together and cried like babies and it was amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is me in grade nine!

    Adrian did deliver, you are right. I was a big Adrian fan at this time. I bought a white guitar because he had one in the video for Stranger. I don’t know why I never got this on vinyl. It looks terrific.

    Initially I taped it off Bob and then got the real tape for Christmas 86. Had to wait back then!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My favourite Maiden artwork by far, I love this one – Riggs was on fire, the artwork for the singles was great too around this time. I’m a bit less sold on some of the LP though, although Wasted Years is a stone-cold classic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Adrian tunes are all stellar. That dude stepped up big time. I hear what your saying as I think Harris as well was hitting a bit of road block as well. It wasn’t only Bruce.
      Amazing that they got it all together again on 7th Son!

      Liked by 1 person

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