Aces High (song)

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"Aces High"
Aces High (Iron Maiden single - cover art).jpg
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album Powerslave
  • "King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)
  • "The Number of the Beast" (live)
Released22 October 1984
FormatVinyl (7", 12") cassette
GenreHeavy metal
Songwriter(s)Steve Harris
Producer(s)Martin Birch
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"2 Minutes to Midnight"
"Aces High"
"Running Free (Live in 1985)"

"Aces High" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, written by the band's bassist Steve Harris. It is Iron Maiden's eleventh single release and the second from their fifth studio album, Powerslave (1984).

The first B-side is a cover of Nektar's "King of Twilight", from their 1972 album A Tab in the Ocean. Their cover is actually a medley of the songs "Crying in the Dark" and "King of Twilight", the last two songs on the album. The Japanese 12" was mixed with the B-side covers from "The Trooper" & "2 Minutes To Midnight" singles.[1][2][verification needed]

Song information[edit]

The song's lyrics are written from the viewpoint of a British RAF pilot fighting during the Battle of Britain (1940), the first military engagement to be fought entirely with aircraft.[3] The artwork depicts the band's mascot, Eddie the Head, in the cockpit of a Supermarine Spitfire, one of the principal aircraft to participate in that battle.

"Aces High" is one of Iron Maiden's most popular songs, and has been covered numerous times.[4][5] It is featured in the video game Madden NFL 10, the MTV show Nitro Circus, and Steve Peat's segment in the mountain bike film New World Disorder III. Colin McKay used the song on his part of the skate video Plan B Questionable. It can also be found in the soundtrack of the game Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now.

Live performances[edit]

"Aces High" is frequently used as the opening song for Iron Maiden concerts. As seen in concert videos such as Live After Death and Iron Maiden: Flight 666, it is usually preceded by Winston Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech with the sound of planes in the background. Churchill's speech was also included at the beginning of the song's music video.

In a 2014 interview with Q magazine, Gerard Way said that "the live version of 'Aces High' off the Live After Death album was the song that first made [him] interested in performing live."[6]

"Aces High" has been performed on five Iron Maiden Tours (World Slavery Tour, The Ed Hunter Tour, Somewhere Back In Time World Tour, Maiden England World Tour and Legacy of the Beast World Tour). It was the opener to all five tours in which it was performed except for the Maiden England World Tour where it was moved to the encore.

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
Side one
1."Aces High"Steve Harris4:31
Side two
1."King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)Nektar4:49
12" Single
Side one
1."Aces High"Steve Harris4:31
Side two
2."King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)Nektar4:49
3."The Number of the Beast" (live at the Live at the Westfalenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 18 December 1983)Harris4:57
Japanese & Brazilian 12" Single
Side one
1."Aces High"Harris4:31
2."The Number of the Beast" (Live at the Westfalenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 18 December 1983)Harris4:56
Side two
3."King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)Nektar4:50
4."Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover)Terry Slesser, Kenny Mountain4:57
5."Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull cover)Ian Anderson3:52


Production credits are adapted from the 7 inch vinyl,[7] and 12 inch vinyl covers.>[8]

Iron Maiden


Chart Performance[edit]

Single Chart (1984) Peak
"Aces High" Irish Singles Chart 29[14] Powerslave
UK Singles Chart 20[15]
Single Chart (1990) Peak
"2 Minutes to Midnight / Aces High" UK Albums Chart[note 1] 11[16]


  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. ^ "2 Minutes To Midnight". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. ^ "The Trooper". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  3. ^ 92 Squadron - Geoffrey Wellum Archived 2 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine, RAF website
  4. ^ "Aces High - Iron Maiden". WhoSampled. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Aces High by Iron Maiden". SongFacts. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  6. ^ Q #341, December 2014, p48
  7. ^ Iron Maiden (22 October 1984). "Aces High" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). EMI.
  8. ^ Iron Maiden (22 October 1984). "Aces High" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). EMI.
  9. ^ Numbers From The Beast Last.FM entry
  10. ^ Scott Lavender - Aces High Last.FM entry
  11. ^ Concord Dawn - Aces High Discography
  12. ^ The Iron Maidens Last.FM entry
  13. ^ Children of Bodom - Aces High Last.FM entry
  14. ^ "Irish Singles". IRMA. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive 10 November 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive 31 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.

External links[edit]