2 Minutes to Midnight
|"2 Minutes to Midnight"|
|Single by Iron Maiden|
|from the album Powerslave|
|Released||6 August 1984|
|Format||Vinyl (7", 12")|
|Iron Maiden singles chronology|
"2 Minutes to Midnight" is a song by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, featured on their fifth studio album, Powerslave (1984). It was released as the band's tenth single, and first from the album on 6 August 1984. It rose to number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 25 on Billboard Top Album Tracks. The band's first single to exceed five minutes in length, it remained their longest until the release of "Infinite Dreams" in November 1989.
The song title references the Doomsday Clock, the symbolic clock used by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which represents a countdown to potential global catastrophe. In September 1953 the clock reached two minutes to midnight, the closest it ever got to midnight, when the United States and Soviet Union tested H-bombs within nine months of one another. The atomic clock, set at 12 minutes to midnight in 1972, regressed thereafter among US–Soviet tensions, reaching three minutes to midnight in 1984 – the year this track was released – and at that time the most dangerous clock reading since 1953. According to Dickinson, the song critically addresses "the romance of war" in general rather than the Cold War in particular. Currently in the year 2018 the clock reads 2 minutes to midnight.
The first B-side is a cover of British progressive rock band Beckett's "Rainbow's Gold", which was featured on their self-titled album released in 1974. The song was written by Terry Slesser and Kenny Mountain, respectively the band's vocalist and guitarist. On the original release, it is titled "A Rainbow's Gold".
The band's manager, Rod Smallwood, commented this version: "This was originally done by a band called Beckett who the band liked a lot. Adrian used to do a cover of another of their songs 'Rainclouds' in his band 'Evil Ways'. Beckett were from Newcastle and had a great singer called Terry Wilson Slesser (incidentally I was Beckett's agent prior to meeting Maiden)."
"Mission From 'Arry"
Another B-side, entitled "Mission from 'Arry", is a recording of an argument between bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain, which took place after a show in Allentown, Pennsylvania, during the band's World Piece Tour. During the concert, Harris' bass gear broke down, so he asked the nearest roadie to tell McBrain to extend his drum solo. The crew member was unable to communicate the message effectively, which unfortunately distracted McBrain and had a negative impact on his solo, causing him to yell at the roadie afterwards. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson states that he found the ensuing argument so amusing that he decided to record it with a concealed tape recorder.
- 7" single
|1.||"2 Minutes to Midnight"||Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson||6:04|
|1.||"Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover)||Terry Slesser, Kenny Mountain||4:57|
- 12" single
|1.||"2 Minutes to Midnight"||Smith, Dickinson||6:04|
|1.||"Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover)||Slesser, Mountain||4:57|
|2.||"Mission from 'Arry" (spoken word)||Steve Harris, Nicko McBrain||6:40|
- Iron Maiden
- Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Adrian Smith – guitar
- Steve Harris – bass guitar
- Nicko McBrain – drums
|1988||Decameron||Made in Tribute: A Tribute to the Best Band in a Whole Goddamn World|
|1999||Deceased||A Call To Irons Vol. 2|
|2005||The Iron Maidens||World's Only Female Tribute to Iron Maiden|
|2005||Joe Lynn Turner, Richie Kotzen, Bob Kulick, Tony Franklin, Chris Slade||Numbers From The Beast|
|2005||Primal Fear||A Tribute to the Beast, Vol. 2|
|2008||Glamour of the Kill||Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden|
|2012||Maiden uniteD||Across The Seventh Sea|
Appearances in other media
- It is featured in 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the in-game radio station V-Rock.
- It appears as a playable track in 2009 music video game Guitar Hero 5, but is heavily censored, due to lyrics referring to the killing of children and abortion.
- It is downloadable content for Rock Band console games.
|"2 Minutes to Midnight"||German Singles Chart||70||Powerslave|
|Irish Singles Chart||10|
|UK Singles Chart||11|
|"2 Minutes to Midnight" / "Aces High"||UK Albums Chart[note 1]||11||—|
- Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.
- "Doomsday Clock Timeline". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Timeline". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "The History of Iron Maiden part 2". Live After Death (DVD). EMI. 4 February 2008.
- "Beckett's 1974 self-titled album". Rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Smallwood, Rod (2002). Best of the 'B' Sides (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI.
- Noguera, Anthony (May 1992). "B-Side Or Be Dead". Metal Attack "Iron Maiden Special". London: Rock Team Publishing And Productions Ltd.
- "2 Minutes to Midnight" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 6 August 1984.
- "2 Minutes to Midnight" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 6 August 1984.
- "Single – Iron Maiden, '2 Minutes to Midnight'". Media Control Charts. charts.de. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "Irish Singles". IRMA. Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 25 August 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive 31 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.