Aces High (song)

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"Aces High"
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album Powerslave
  • "King of Twilight"
  • "The Number of the Beast" (live)
Released 22 October 1984
Format Vinyl (7", 12")
Recorded 1984
Genre Heavy metal
Length 4:31
Label EMI
Writer(s) Steve Harris
Producer(s) Martin Birch
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"2 Minutes to Midnight"
"Aces High"
"Running Free (live)"

"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 against the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain (1940), the first military engagement to be fought entirely with aircraft.[3]

"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 me interested in performing live."[6]

Track listing[edit]

UK single[edit]

  1. "Aces High" (Steve Harris) - 4:31
  2. "King of Twilight" (Nektar cover) - 4:49
  3. "The Number of the Beast" (live in Dortmund - 18 December 1983) (Harris) - 4:57 (12" only)

Japan and Brazil 12"[edit]

  1. A1 - "Aces High" (Steve Harris) - 4:31
  2. A2 - "The Number of the Beast" (live in Dortmund - 18 December 1983) (Harris) - 4:56
  3. B1 - "King of Twilight" (Nektar Cover) - 4:50
  4. B2 - "Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover; Terry Slesser, Kenny Mountain) - 4:57
  5. B3 - "Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull Cover) - 3:52[7]


Production credits are adapted from the 7 inch vinyl,[8] and 12 inch vinyl covers.>[9]

Iron Maiden


Chart Performance[edit]

Single Chart (1984) Peak
"Aces High" Irish Singles Chart 29[15] Powerslave
UK Singles Chart 20[16]
Single Chart (1990) Peak
"2 Minutes to Midnight / Aces High" UK Albums Chart[note 1] 11[17]


  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 2015-12-24. 
  2. ^ "The Trooper". Retrieved 2015-12-24. 
  3. ^ 92 Squadron - Geoffrey Wellum, 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. ^ "Aces High". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  8. ^ "Aces High" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 22 October 1984. 
  9. ^ "Aces High" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 22 October 1984. 
  10. ^ Numbers From The Beast Last.FM entry
  11. ^ Scott Lavender - Aces High Last.FM entry
  12. ^ Concord Dawn - Aces High Discography
  13. ^ The Iron Maidens Last.FM entry
  14. ^ Children of Bodom - Aces High Last.FM entry
  15. ^ "Irish Singles". IRMA. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive 10 November 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive 31 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 

External links[edit]