Stranger in a Strange Land (song)

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"Stranger in a Strange Land"
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album Somewhere in Time
B-side "That Girl"
Released 22 November 1986
Genre Heavy metal
Length 5:45
Label EMI
Writer(s) Adrian Smith
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"Wasted Years"
"Stranger in a Strange Land"
"Can I Play with Madness"

"Stranger in a Strange Land" is the second single by Iron Maiden from their 1986 album Somewhere in Time. The song is unrelated to Robert A. Heinlein's novel by the same name.[1]


The lyrics are about an Arctic explorer who dies and is frozen in the ice. After a hundred years his body is found preserved by other people exploring there.[2] Adrian Smith was inspired to write about this song after talking to an explorer who had had a similar experience of discovering a frozen body.

The guitar solo in "Stranger in a Strange Land" is played by Adrian Smith. The song is one of only three Iron Maiden songs to fade out, the other being "The Prophecy" from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and "Women in Uniform", a single included on some pressings of Killers. The lyrics "no brave new world" were also present in Iron Maiden's 2000 studio release, Brave New World.

Cover Details[edit]

Eddie's appearance on the single cover is an homage to the Clint Eastwood character "Man with No Name".[3] Though it can also be seen as a mixture of "Deckard"[4] from Blade Runner and "Man with No Name". This version of Eddie would later be used in the Camp Chaos music video for "Run to the Hills".

  • In the top-right corner of the cover (slightly right of Eddie's lit match), the time on the clock appears as "11:58". This is a reference to a previous Iron Maiden single, "2 Minutes to Midnight".
  • Several cards can be seen falling from the table. One, (orange background, next to red coloured card) contains a picture of the Grim Reaper, like that on the Trooper cover.
  • Just under one of the stacks of cards, on the edge of the table, Derek Riggs' signature can be seen.
  • In the music video for a later song, "The Angel and the Gambler" (from Virtual XI), then-singer Blaze Bayley dressed up like this Eddie.


The B-sides to this single, "That Girl" and "Juanita", were both played during The Entire Population of Hackney secret gig on 19 December 1985, with Adrian Smith on vocals. This is probably where the idea came from to play them as B-sides, especially with Adrian's large presence on this single and the Somewhere in Time album.

"That Girl" was originally written for The Entire Population of Hackney by the guitarist Andy Barnett, and was recorded by both Iron Maiden and FM around the same time. It was prominently featured on FM's 1986 debut album Indiscreet, which was released just three weeks prior to Iron Maiden's Somewhere In Time. The FM's version was rewritten by bassist Merv Goldsworthy and drummer Pete Jupp, resulting in the two versions being significantly different, sharing only harmony on the verses and some of the lyrics. However, Iron Maiden's version is still credited to both Goldsworthy and Jupp alongside Barnett, possibly due to copyright issues. The first guitar solo is played by Dave Murray while the ending guitar solo is played by Adrian Smith, who also played bass on the recording because Steve Harris didn't want to learn to play the song.

"Juanita" was originally played by Barnett's band Marshall Fury in the early 1980s, and it was written by Steve Barnacle and Derek O'Neil. Marshall Fury never recorded a studio version of the song. Iron Maiden's version features Bruce Dickinson (who reportedly changed some of the lyrics during the recording) on vocals, Nicko McBrain on drums and Adrian Smith on all guitars and bass.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Stranger in a Strange Land" (Adrian Smith) – 5:45
  2. "That Girl" (FM cover; Merv Goldsworthy, Pete Jupp, Andy Barnett) – 5:04
  3. "Juanita" (Marshall Fury cover; Steve Barnacle, Derek O'Neil) – 3:47


Production credits are adapted from the 7 inch vinyl,[5] and 12 inch vinyl covers.[6]


Chart performance[edit]

Single Chart (1986) Peak
"Stranger in a Strange Land" Irish Singles Chart 18[8] Somewhere in Time
UK Singles Chart 22[9]
Single Chart (1990) Peak
"Wasted Years/ Stranger in a Strange Land" UK Albums Chart[note 1] 9[10]


  1. ^ Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Stagno, Mike (2 June 2006). "Review: Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Man With No Name". Retrieved 08/04/2012. 
  4. ^ "Deckard". Retrieved 08/04/2012. 
  5. ^ "Stranger in a Strange Land" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 22 November 1986. 
  6. ^ "Stranger in a Strange Land" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 22 November 1986. 
  7. ^ a b Fanelli, Damien; Hart, Josh (9 July 2013). "Synth City: 10 Classic Guitar Synth Songs". Guitar World. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Irish singles archive". IRMA. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 29 November 1986". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive 14 April 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 September 2011.