Iron Maiden is one of heavy metal’s GOATs; for almost half a century the British band has adventured throughout the world, unleashing thrilling and epic metal upon the masses.
From their 1980 self-titled album, all the way to their latest 2021 record Senjutsu, Iron Maiden has released a vast array of remarkable songs. So similar to what we’ve done with Metallica and Slayer, we decided to challenge ourselves and comb through the band’s catalog in an effort to compile a list of the 10 greatest Iron Maiden songs of all time.
This was one hell of a job, for Maiden has crafted an overwhelming number of awesome tracks. That said, the following 10 songs represent the band at their finest and most captivating.
“The Trooper” – Piece of Mind
Riveting from the start, Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” is one of the band’s most iconic works. Bruce Dickinson‘s voice soars alongside the electric vibrancy of the band’s instrumentation, the song providing a powerful momentum that has the means to stir even the most passive concertgoers into a mosh pit frenzy.
“Run to the Hills” – The Number of the Beast
Among the many components that make Iron Maiden’s music captivating is the narrative depth provided in the band’s lyrics. In “Run to the Hills,” while the instrumentation flies forth, Dickinson sings about the horrors of colonization brought upon Native Americans by English settlers. The track not only works as an intense sonic experience but also an emotional one.
“Flash of the Blade” – Powerslave
1984’s Powerslave is jam-packed with an abundance of exhilarating Iron Maiden songs, and one of the best among them is easily “Flash of the Blade.” Not only has this song been covered by the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, but it also made an appearance on the soundtrack for Dario Argento’s Phenomena. Talk about range!
“Hallowed By Thy Name” – The Number of the Beast
Besides creating speedy and electrifying atmospheres, Iron Maiden also has an incredible talent for crafting moodier and more somber presentations. “Hallowed By Thy Name” is such a track, and while it features some moments of aggressive instrumentation, the band primarily plays to an air of gloom-reeking tension. Among their catalog, “Hallowed By Thy Name” is one of Maiden’s most epic ballads.
“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
There’s always been a cinematic quality to Maiden’s music; it isn’t just that the band writes heavy and intense material, there are multiple dynamics at work in a given song. Alternating tempo structures, as well as surprising twists in tonal delivery that drastically shift mood, are just a couple of examples of how the band provides theatrical depth to their music. An amazing example of this is the band’s song “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.”
“Phantom of the Opera” – Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden showed great promise as a band from the very start, for their 1980 debut is chock-full of bangers. Paul Di’Anno was fronting the band at the time, and with his superb singing talents and the band’s riveting instrumentation, they crafted one of heavy metal’s strongest debuts ever. Among the songs on this Iron Maiden album, we have to hand it to “Phantom of the Opera” – the dramatic extremity of this track still hits hard to this day.
“Where Eagles Dare” – Piece of Mind
For just a little over six minutes, “Where Eagles Dare” offers a sonic presentation that has the power to leave one’s jaw hanging. With its incredible display of melodic ferocity, it’s impossible not to feel energized while listening to this Iron Maiden song.
“The Number of the Beast” – The Number of the Beast
Let alone that 1982’s The Number of the Beast is one of Maiden’s most brilliant albums, the title track is also one of the band’s greatest works to date. A fun piece of trivia about this song: it was inspired by a nightmare that bassist Steve Harris had after seeing the horror movie Damien: Omen II.
“Wasted Years” – Somewhere In Time
Another astonishing Iron Maiden ballad is “Wasted Years” from the band’s 1986 record Somewhere In Time. Instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically, the song oozes with melancholy, these numerous creative elements coming together to create a palpable atmosphere of despair. But even with that stark emotion at work, the band still provides an electrifying angle, that sonic punch only aiding in further strengthening the song’s atmosphere.
“2 Minutes to Midnight” – Powerslave
Closing out this list is one of Iron Maiden’s most powerful and riveting cuts of all time: “2 Minutes to Midnight.” For some who may have grown up playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, this song likely served as their introduction to the legendary heavy metal band. When it comes to epic and theatrical presentations, it’s tough to compete with the enthralling intensity of “2 Minutes to Midnight.”