Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Iron Maiden Songs

Iron Maiden, 2003; Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns

Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Iron Maiden, those epic-beyond-epic NWOBHM titans with their galloping riffs and zombie-like mascot Eddie. Maiden are still going strong, packing arenas led by the ageless ball of energy that is Bruce Dickinson, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.

“WRATHCHILD”
ALBUM: KILLERS

Steve Harris asks, “Who’s your daddy?” and establishes himself as heavy metal’s ultimate bass player and one of its finest tunesmith in the process.
Sample lyrics: “My mother was a queen/My dad I’ve never seen/And now I spend my time looking around/For a man that’s nowhere to be found.”

“THE TROOPER”
ALBUM: PIECE OF MIND

The futility of war will never extinguish the noble flame of individual courage and valor. Discuss.
Sample lyrics: “The bugle sounds, and the charge begins/But on this battlefield, no one wins/The smell of acrid smoke and horses’ breath/As I plunge on into certain death.”

“MURDER IN THE RUE MORGUE”
ALBUM: KILLERS

Original Maiden frontman Paul Di’ Anno assumes the persona of a man who finds two dead girls and is wrongly accused of their murder. Unfortunately, when he protests his innocence, his whiskey-and-cigarette-ravaged voice inspires little confidence.
Sample lyrics: “And then I heard a piercing scream/And I rushed to the scene of the crime/But all I found was the butchered remains/Of two girls lay side by side.”

“RUN TO THE HILLS”
ALBUM: NUMBER OF THE BEASTS

The first (and best) of many, many metal songs (Anthrax, White Lion, et al) written about the injustices perpetrated on Native Americans by the white man.
Sample lyrics: “Soldier blue in the barren wastes/Hunting and killing their game/Raping the women and wasting the men/The only good Indians are tame.”

“DIE WITH YOUR BOOTS ON”
ALBUM: PIECE OF MIND

Hopefully, the actual end of the world will rock almost as hard as this track predicting its imminent arrival.
Sample lyrics: “In 13, the beast is rising, the Frenchman did surmise/Through earthquakes and starvation the warlord will arise.”