Piece of Mind
|Piece of Mind|
|Studio album by Iron Maiden|
|Released||16 May 1983|
|Recorded||January – March 1983 at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas|
|Iron Maiden chronology|
|Singles from Piece of Mind|
Piece of Mind is the fourth studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, originally released in 1983 by EMI, and by Capitol in the US, where it was reissued later by Sanctuary/Columbia Records. It was the first album to feature drummer Nicko McBrain, who had recently left the Paris-based band Trust and has been Iron Maiden's drummer ever since.
Piece of Mind was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart and achieving platinum certification in the UK and North America.
In December 1982, drummer Clive Burr ended his association with the band due to personal and tour schedule problems and was replaced by Nicko McBrain, previously of French band Trust, as well as Pat Travers, and Streetwalkers. Soon afterwards, the band went to Jersey to compose the songs, taking over the hotel Le Chalet as it was out of season, and rehearsing in its restaurant. In February, the band journeyed for the first time to the Bahamas to record the album at Nassau's Compass Point Studios. Recordings were finished in March, and afterwards the album was mixed at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.
This is the first of four Iron Maiden albums that were not named after a song featured on the album itself (though the lyrics in the song "Still Life" contain the expression "peace of mind"). Originally, the release's working title was Food for Thought, once the band had decided that Eddie would be lobotomised on the front cover, until the band came up with the title Piece of Mind in a pub in Jersey, during the album's writing stage.
Included in the liner notes is a slightly altered version of a passage from the Book of Revelation, which reads:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more Death. Neither sorrow, nor crying. Neither shall there be any more brain; for the former things are passed away.
The actual text (from Chapter 21, Verse 4) is nearly identical, except that it says "neither shall there be any more pain", rather than brain, which was added as a pun on the album's title, and possibly the new drummer's last name.
In a lower corner on the back side of the album cover, there is this message: "No synthesizers or ulterior motives".
Lyrically, the album largely reflects the group's literary interests, such as "To Tame a Land," inspired by Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction novel Dune, "Sun and Steel", based on Yukio Mishima's 1968 essay about samurai Miyamoto Musashi, "Still Life", influenced by Ramsey Campbell's 1964 short story "The Inhabitant of the Lake", and "The Trooper," inspired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854). Film influences are also present, such as "Where Eagles Dare", based on the Brian G. Hutton 1968 film, scripted by Alistair MacLean, and "Quest for Fire", based on the 1981 film by Jean-Jacques Annaud. On top of this, "Revelations", written by Dickinson, includes lines from G. K. Chesterton's hymn O God of Earth and Altar, while the remainder of the song is influenced by Aleister Crowley. More exotic influences include Greek mythology, albeit slightly altered for "Flight of Icarus". "To Tame a Land" was meant to be entitled "Dune" after the novel, but, after seeking permission from Frank Herbert's agents, the band received a message which stated, "Frank Herbert doesn't like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially bands like Iron Maiden" and were forced to change the name.
At the beginning of the sixth track, "Still Life", the band included a hidden message which could only be understood by playing the album backwards. This was a joke and an intended swing back at the critics who had accused Iron Maiden of being Satanic. The backwards-message features McBrain mimicking actor John Bird's impression of Idi Amin, uttering the following phrase "What ho said the t'ing with the three 'bonce', do not meddle with things you don't understand...", followed by a belch. The phrase itself is taken from the satirical album The Collected Broadcasts of Idi Amin (1975) by Bird and Alan Coren. "What ho" and "What ho said the t'ing" are phrases that also crop up regularly on McBrain's "Listen With Nicko!" tracks from The First Ten Years collection.
According to McBrain, "We were sick and tired of being labelled as Devil worshippers and all this bollocks by these fucking morons in the States, so we thought, 'Right, you want to take the piss? We'll show you how to take the bleeding piss, my son!' And one of the boys taped me in the middle of this Idi Amin routine I used to do when I'd had a few drinks. I remember it distinctly ended with the words, 'Don't meddle wid t'ings yo don't understand.' We thought, if people were going to be stupid about this sort of thing, we might as well give them something to be really stupid about, you know?"
Release and reception
Piece of Mind was released on 28 May 1983, peaking at No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart. It was preceded by the single "Flight of Icarus" on 28 April, and its supporting tour, the World Piece Tour, opened at Hull City Hall, on 2 May. Said tour would end on 18 December, following 139 concerts in total, with a televised performance at Westfalenhalle in Dortmund.
In North America, the album became the band's highest charting thus far, peaking at No. 14 in the Billboard 200. By July Piece of Mind was certified gold by the RIAA, rising up to platinum status in 1986. In 1995, the album achieved platinum status in the UK.
Reviews for Piece of Mind were mostly positive. In 1983, Kerrang! magazine published a poll of the greatest metal albums of all time, with Piece of Mind ranking No. 1, and with The Number of the Beast at No. 2. Since its release, the album has received consistent critical acclaim with Sputnikmusic stating that it's "easily an album that belongs in your collection", although they argue that "the likes of Powerslave , Somewhere in Time , and Brave New World  would over take it", while AllMusic described it as "essential for anyone with even the most basic interest in heavy metal", although "the second half dips a bit from the first". In addition, it was ranked No. 21 on IGN's list of the top 25 metal albums in 2007.
|1.||"Where Eagles Dare"||Steve Harris||6:10|
|3.||"Flight of Icarus"||Adrian Smith, Dickinson||3:51|
|4.||"Die with Your Boots On"||Smith, Dickinson, Harris||5:28|
|6.||"Still Life"||Dave Murray, Harris||4:53|
|7.||"Quest for Fire"||Harris||3:41|
|8.||"Sun and Steel"||Dickinson, Smith||3:26|
|9.||"To Tame a Land"||Harris||7:27|
|1995 reissue bonus CD|
|1.||"I've Got the Fire" (Montrose cover)||Ronnie Montrose||2:38|
|2.||"Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull cover)||Ian Anderson||3:55|
- Iron Maiden
- Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Adrian Smith – guitar
- Steve Harris – bass guitar
- Nicko McBrain – drums
- Martin Birch – producer, engineer, mixing
- Frank Gibson – assistant engineer
- Denis Haliburton – assistant engineer
- Bruce Buchhalter – assistant mixing engineer
- Derek Riggs – sleeve illustration, sleeve design, sleeve concept
- Simon Fowler – photography
- Keith Peacock – art continuation
- Rod Smallwood – management, sleeve design, sleeve concept
- Andy Taylor – management
- Simon Heyworth – remastering (1998 edition)
- Ross Halfin – photography (1998 edition)
- Robert Ellis – photography (1998 edition)
"The Trooper" has been covered by Finnish doom/death metal band Sentenced on their 1994 EP The Trooper, the American heavy metal band Iced Earth on the "tour edition" of their 2011 album, Dystopia, the death metal band Vital Remains on the 1998 tribute album A Call to Irons, Christian hard rock band Stryper on the album, The Covering, in 2011, and Swedish lounge act Hellsongs on their 2008 album, Hymns in the Key of 666.
"Where Eagles Dare" has been covered by Fozzy on their second album, Happenstance, in 2002. The song was also covered by Faroese viking metal band Týr and released on their album Valkyrja, in 2013. Fozzy has also covered "The Prisoner" (from The Number of the Beast) on their debut, Fozzy.
|Country||Chart (1983)||Peak position|
|Austria||Ö3 Austria Top 40||10|
|Germany||Media Control Charts||8|
|United Kingdom||Official Albums Chart||3|
|United States||Billboard 200||14|
|Country||Chart (2010)||Peak position|
|Country||Chart (2012)||Peak position|
|Single||Chart (1983)||Peak position||Album|
|"Flight of Icarus"||Irish Singles Chart||14||Piece of Mind|
|UK Singles Chart||11|
|"The Trooper"||Irish Singles Chart||12|
|UK Singles Chart||12|
|Single||Chart (1990)||Peak position||Album|
|"Flight of Icarus/The Trooper"||UK Albums Chart[note 1]||7||—|
|Single||Chart (2005)||Peak position||Album|
|"The Trooper" (live)||Canadian Singles Chart||5||Death on the Road|
|Danish Singles Chart||7|
|Finnish Singles Chart||5|
|French Singles Chart||100|
|Irish Singles Chart||16|
|Italian Singles Chart||8|
|Spanish Singles Chart||1|
|Swedish Singles Chart||5|
|Swiss Singles Chart||61|
|UK Singles Chart||5|
|"The Trooper" (live)||Spanish Singles Chart||10||Death on the Road|
- Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.
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