Aces High (song)
|Single by Iron Maiden|
|from the album Powerslave|
|Released||22 October 1984|
|Format||Vinyl (7", 12") cassette|
|Iron Maiden singles chronology|
"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.[verification needed]
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. 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. 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.
"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.
"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.
- 7" Single
|1.||"Aces High"||Steve Harris||4:31|
|1.||"King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)||Nektar||4:49|
- 12" Single
|1.||"Aces High"||Steve Harris||4:31|
|2.||"King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)||Nektar||4:49|
|3.||"The Number of the Beast" (live at the Live at the Westfalenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 18 December 1983)||Harris||4:57|
- Japanese & Brazilian 12" Single
|2.||"The Number of the Beast" (Live at the Westfalenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 18 December 1983)||Harris||4:56|
|3.||"King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)||Nektar||4:50|
|4.||"Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover)||Terry Slesser, Kenny Mountain||4:57|
|5.||"Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull cover)||Ian Anderson||3:52|
- Iron Maiden
- Bruce Dickinson - vocals
- Dave Murray - guitar
- Adrian Smith - guitar
- Steve Harris - bass guitar
- Nicko McBrain - drums
- A version recorded in the summer of 1996 by Arch Enemy was – as guitarist Michael Amott observed in the liner notes to Wages of Sin (on which the cut reappears) – "released on the Japanese Iron Maiden tribute album Made In Tribute. This one turned out really intense, and was easily one of the better songs on a really terrible collection of Iron Maiden cover versions."
- It was covered in 2005 by Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Niacin), and Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) – drums on the tribute album Numbers from the Beast.
- It was covered in 2005 by Scott Lavender on the album The Piano Tribute to Iron Maiden.
- It was covered in 2006 by Concord Dawn (featuring State of Mind) on the album Chaos by Design.
- It was covered in 2006 by The Iron Maidens on the album The Iron Maidens
- It was covered in 2008 by Children of Bodom on the album Skeletons in the Closet.
- It was covered in 2011 by Reinxeed on the album 1912
- It was covered in 2013 by Thomas Zwijsen on the album Nylon Maiden
- It was covered in 2016 by Green Fields on the album Harvest
|"Aces High"||Irish Singles Chart||29||Powerslave|
|UK Singles Chart||20|
|"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.
- "2 Minutes To Midnight". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- "The Trooper". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- 92 Squadron - Geoffrey Wellum Archived 2 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine, RAF website
- "Aces High - Iron Maiden". WhoSampled. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- "Aces High by Iron Maiden". SongFacts. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Q #341, December 2014, p48
- Iron Maiden (22 October 1984). "Aces High" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). EMI.
- Iron Maiden (22 October 1984). "Aces High" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). EMI.
- Numbers From The Beast Last.FM entry
- Scott Lavender - Aces High Last.FM entry
- Concord Dawn - Aces High Discography
- The Iron Maidens Last.FM entry
- Children of Bodom - Aces High Last.FM entry
- "Irish Singles". IRMA. Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive 10 November 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive 31 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.