Holy Smoke (song)

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"Holy Smoke"
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album No Prayer for the Dying
B-side "All In Your Mind"
"Kill Me Ce Soir"
Released 10 September 1990
Recorded 1990
Genre Heavy metal
Length 3:47[1]
Label EMI
Writer(s) Steve Harris
Bruce Dickinson
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"Infinite Dreams (live)"
(1989)
"Holy Smoke"
(1990)
"Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter"
(1990)

"Holy Smoke" is a song by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It is the first single release to feature guitarist Janick Gers, who joined the band in mid-1990.[2] It was released just weeks before the album, No Prayer for the Dying, and climbed to number three on the UK Singles Chart.

Synopsis[edit]

The song deals with the many televangelist scandals that took place in the United States in the late 1980s, including mentions of "Jimmy the Reptile" (a reference to Jimmy Swaggart), "The TV Queen" (a possible reference to Tammy Faye Bakker), Noah, and "plenty of bad preachers for the Devil to stoke." Contrary to what some believe, however, this song is not aimed at the Christian religion itself, but rather the people that abuse it to make gains for themselves. This is one of the very few Iron Maiden songs with profanity in the lyrics (for example, "Flies around shit/bees around honey" and "I've lived in filth/I've lived in sin/and I still smell cleaner than the shit you're in"), which is replaced by gunshot sounds in censored versions.

The song is atypical for the band standards, being short and straight. It features a common pop-rock song structure with intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, verse and ending with another chorus. The guitar solos are very fiery, making use of artificial harmonics, sweep picking, tapping and wild bends. The first solo is played by Janick and second one is played by Dave Murray.

The band took a humorous approach for the video of the song, as the band members are filmed on Steve Harris's farm at Sheering, playing football and driving a tractor, while everything happens in bright daylight. There are similarities with Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers video, from 1984. Bruce Dickinson is bouncing in a turnip field, dancing randomly and wearing a pink T-shirt, Dave Murray appears playing guitar with his feet in a creek, and Janick Gers plays with a toy guitar in a swimming pool wearing only a pair of white swimming trunks, alternating with him in a goalkeeper kit playing his own guitar. The band's producer, Martin Birch, can also be seen on the video, wearing a kind of sadomasochist costume in some scenes. All this footage is interspersed with scenes of the band rehearsing in the Barnyard recording studio. The video was directed by Harris himself.

The B-side has covers of Stray's "All in Your Mind" and Golden Earring's "Kill Me Ce Soir".[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Holy Smoke" (Dickinson, Harris) – 3:47
  2. "All in Your Mind" (Stray cover; Del Bromham) – 5:58
  3. "Kill Me Ce Soir" (Golden Earring cover; George Kooymans, Barry Hay, John Fenton) – 7:03

Personnel[edit]

Production credits are adapted from the 12 inch vinyl cover.[1]

Iron Maiden
Production

Versions[edit]

Songs Country & Year Catalog Number Format
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind Australia 1990 EMI 2477-7 Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind France 1990 EMI 2040287 Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind Germany 1990 EMI 006 0 204028 7 Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind Italy 1990 EMI 06 20 4028 7 Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind UK 1990 EMI EM 153 Black Labels Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind UK 1990 EMI EM 153 Silver Labels Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir EEC 1990 (German Label) EMI 060-20 4028 6 Maxi Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir Italy 1990 EMI 14 20 4028 6 Maxi Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir UK 1990 EMI 12 EMP 153 Maxi Single 12" + Poster 12"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir UK 1990 EMI EMP 153 Picture Disc Single 12"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir Japan Promo 1990 EMI TOCP-6449 CD Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir Japan 1990 EMI TOCP-6449 CD Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce Soir UK 1990 EMI CDEM 153 CD Single
Holy Smoke USA Promo 1990 Epic ESK 2194 CD Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind Australia 1990 EMI TC-2477-4 Cassette Single
Holy Smoke / All in your Mind UK 1990 EMI TCM 153 Cassette Single

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart 4[4]
Swiss Singles Chart 20[5]
UK Singles Chart 3[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Holy Smoke" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 10 September 1990. 
  2. ^ "Iron Maiden". Retrieved 07/04/2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "Holy Smoke". Retrieved 07/04/2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ "Irish singles archive". IRMA. irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'Holy Smoke'". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 22 September 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 October 2011.