Words by Phil Ashdown.
Released on 16 May 1983, Piece of Mind is the fourth studio album by British Heavy Metal goliaths, Iron Maiden. The album was drummer Nicko McBrain’s first album with the band following the departure of Clive Burr due to personal reasons and the band’s growing touring schedule.
Piece of Mind was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 3 in the UK album charts.
It was the first of five albums not named after a song featured on the album itself. It was also the first time the band recorded in The Bahamas, after writing and rehearsing at the hotel Le Chalet in Jersey, as it was low season. Recording took place throughout March at Nassau’s Compass Point Studio with producer Martin Birch. The original working title for the album was Food For Thought after it had been decided on the artwork that featured a lobotomised Eddie. It was changed to Piece Of Mind in a pub in Jersey during the writing stage.
Lyrically the album draws on literary and film interests such as To Tame A Land being inspired by Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune, The Trooper by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Charge Of The Light Brigade and Where Eagles Dare by the 1968 film starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Interestingly, To Tame A Land was originally going to be called Dune after the novel, but after asking permission from Frank Herbert’s agents, Maiden were told “Frank Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially bands like Iron Maiden”, forcing them to change the name.
Following the band being accused of being Satanists after the release of previous album The Number Of The Beast they left a hidden message at the beginning of Still Life which could only be understood by playing it backwards. It featured drummer McBrain mimicking John Bird’s impersonation of Idi Amin saying “What ho said the t’ing with the three bonce, do not meddle with things you don’t understand..” followed by a belch!
The album was preceded by the single Flight Of Icarus that reached number 11 in the UK and was the band’s first to be released in America. The accompanying World Piece Tour started with a 22-date UK tour in Hull on 2nd May and featured four sold-out shows at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The tour came to a climax with a televised performance in Dortmund, Germany on 18th December with band mascot Eddie being ‘killed’ and having his brain removed. This was cut from the TV broadcast as it was deemed to be too violent.
The artwork was once again created by Derek Riggs and featured a chained Eddie inside a padded cell after clearly having had a lobotomy. The inside of the gatefold sleeve has the band sitting for a medieval banquet with the fare to include Eddie’s brain! In a lower corner on the back side of the album cover, there is this message: “No synthesizers or ulterior motives”.
- Where Eagles Dare
- Flight Of Icarus
- Die With Your Boots On
- The Trooper
- Still Life
- Quest For Fire
- Sun And Steel
- To Tame A Land
- Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Adrian Smith – guitar
- Steve Harris – bass guitar
- Nicko McBrain – drums
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