Be Quick or Be Dead

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"Be Quick or Be Dead"
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album Fear of the Dark
B-side "Nodding Donkey Blues"
"Space Station #5"
"Bayswater Ain't a Bad Place to Be"
Released 13 April 1992
Recorded 1992
Genre Heavy metal
Length 3:24[1]
Label EMI
Writer(s) Bruce Dickinson
Janick Gers
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter"
"Be Quick or Be Dead"
"From Here to Eternity"

"Be Quick or Be Dead" is a song by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released as the first single release from their ninth studio album Fear of the Dark, released in 1992.[2]


The song is about several political scandals taking place at the time of its release, including the Robert Maxwell banking scandal, European stock market crashes, and the BCCI case. It was released a month prior to the album and reached No. 2 on the UK singles chart. The song is faster and heavier than most Iron Maiden songs, and is the band's first single co-written by Janick Gers.

The B-side features two official songs and one hidden track, including an original blues number ("Nodding Donkey Blues") and Montrose cover ("Space Station No. 5"), and the unlisted "Bayswater Ain't a Bad Place to Be".[2] The last is a spoken word comedy piece by Bruce Dickinson (along with acoustic guitar accompaniment from Janick Gers) in which he imitates and makes fun of Maiden manager Rod Smallwood. A similar mockery of Smallwood was released before, as a B-side titled "Sheriff of Huddersfield", which was available in the "Wasted Years" single.

The song was featured in the video game Carmageddon 2.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Be Quick or Be Dead" (Bruce Dickinson, Janick Gers) – 3:24
  2. "Nodding Donkey Blues" (Iron Maiden) – 3:11
  3. "Space Station #5" (Montrose cover; Ronnie Montrose, Sammy Hagar) – 3:47
  4. "Bayswater Ain't a Bad Place to Be" (Dickinson, Gers) – 8:05 (unlisted hidden track on random UK releases only)[2]


Production credits are adapted from the 7 inch single,[1] and picture disc covers.[3]

Iron Maiden

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 47[4]
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 47[5]
Dutch Singles Chart 26[6]
German Singles Chart 32[7]
Irish Singles Chart 10[8]
New Zealand Singles Chart 12[9]
Norwegian Singles Chart 3[10]
Swedish Singles Chart 15[11]
Swiss Singles Chart 15[12]
UK Singles Chart 2[13]


  1. ^ a b "Be Quick or Be Dead" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 13 April 1992. 
  2. ^ a b c "Iron Maiden - 'Be Quick Or Be Dead'". Discogs. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Be Quick or Be Dead" Picture Disc Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 13 April 1992. 
  4. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'Be Quick or Be Dead'". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'Be Quick or Be Dead'" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'Be Quick or Be Dead'". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  7. ^ / PhonoNet GmbH. "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Irish singles archive". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'Be Quick or Be Dead'". RIANZ. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Iron Maiden Discography". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Iron Maiden discography". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "'Be Quick or Be Dead'". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Official UK Singles Archive 25 April 1992". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 October 2011.