The Trooper

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"The Trooper"
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album Piece of Mind and Death on the Road
  • 1983
  • "Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull cover)
  • 2005 CD
  • "The Trooper" (Live)
  • "Prowler" (Live)
  • 2005 7" Live
  • "Another Life" (Live)
  • 2005 12"
  • "The Trooper" (Live)
  • "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (Live)
  • 2005 Digital Download
  • "The Trooper" (Live)
Released20 June 1983
15 August 2005
24 November 2003
GenreHeavy metal
Songwriter(s)Steve Harris
Producer(s)Martin Birch
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"Flight of Icarus"
"The Trooper"
"2 Minutes to Midnight"

"The Number of the Beast (Reissue)"

"The Trooper (Live in 2003)"

"The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg"
Music video
"The Trooper" on YouTube

"The Trooper" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released as the second single on 20 June 1983 from the band's fourth studio album, Piece of Mind (1983). It was one of only a few songs to get much radio airplay in the United States, thus peaking at No. 28 on the US Mainstream Rock charts.[1] It also achieved success in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 12 in the UK Singles Charts as well as gaining a much better reception than the band's previous single, "Flight of Icarus".[2]

A live version of the song, from Death on the Road, was issued in 2005.


Bruce Dickinson performing the song live wearing a "red coat" styled military smock.

Written by bassist and founding-member Steve Harris, the song is based on the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava 1854, which took place during the Crimean War,[2] and inspired by Lord Tennyson's 1854 poem of the same name.[3] The track has been the subject of much praise since its release, with AllMusic describing it as "an all-time genre classic that boasts guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith's most memorable harmonized lead riff, plus that trademark galloping rhythm,"[4] while Mick Wall comments that it is the song "which most Maiden fans from those days still recall first when you mention the Piece of Mind album."[5] Despite the popularity of the song, it was the single's B-Side, a cover of Jethro Tull's "Cross-Eyed Mary", which managed to gain a substantial amount of airplay on US radio,[6] becoming one of the band's few tracks, along with previous single "Flight of Icarus",[5] to do so.

The single's accompanying music video included clips of a cavalry battle from the 1936 film The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland,[7] which the BBC refused to play unedited, deeming the footage too violent.[2] The band's manager, Rod Smallwood, has since criticised the decision, stating, "Anyone would think we'd killed the horses ourselves instead of using an old Errol Flynn movie."[2] In 2003, Iron Maiden released a Camp Chaos version for the song. The music video shows the never-before-seen clips of the band playing the song as well as the animated battle between Eddie and politicians Al Gore and George W. Bush to which Eddie ended the conflict in the video by killing both Bush, Gore and their team. The updated version came in 2008, this time, the two US politicians were replaced by Eddie's yellow skeleton allies and their red enemy skeletons.

A regular fixture in the band's concerts, vocalist Bruce Dickinson has always waved a Union Flag during live performances and, more recently, has begun wearing an authentic red coat uniform which would have been worn during the battle on which the song was based.[8] During a performance in Dublin in 2003, Dickinson's flag-waving reportedly received a large amount of booing from the Irish audience.[9]

While the band were receiving criticism from Sharon Osbourne in 2005, at the time justifying her attack on the band at the 2005 Ozzfest, she accused Iron Maiden of disrespecting American troops, then fighting alongside the British in Iraq, for waving a Union Flag in the US, although Classic Rock magazine supported the band by pointing out that the song's subject bore no relation to the military activity then taking place in the Middle East.[8]

On 15 August 2005, a live version of the song was released from the then upcoming live album, Death on the Road.[10]

On 24 April 2016, during Iron Maiden's performance in Beijing (their first in China), Dickinson did not bring out a flag while performing "The Trooper" as part of the request from the Chinese government to allow Iron Maiden to perform in the country.[11] The flag was also omitted for a concert in Shanghai two days later.

In popular culture[edit]

The song has appeared in several Iron Maiden tribute albums, including A Call To Irons: A Tribute To Iron Maiden,[12] Numbers from the Beast,[13] A Tribute to the Beast[14] and Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden,[15] as well as on records by tribute bands such as Maiden uniteD (on 2010's Mind the Acoustic Pieces)[16] and The Iron Maidens (on their 2006 self-titled debut album).[17] In addition, the song has been released by Sentenced on The Trooper EP (1994),[18] Rage on End of All Days (1996), Hellsongs on Hymns in the Key of 666 (2008),[19] Thumper on the Metalliska compilation,[20] Highland Glory as a bonus track on Forever Endeavour (2005),[21] Radio Cult on Grooves From The Grave (2008),[22] Stryper on The Covering,[23] Iced Earth on the "tour edition" of their 2011 album, Dystopia,[24] and 2Cellos on their 2015 album, Celloverse.[25]

On top of this, the track has also been included in the Guitar Hero 2, Carmageddon 2, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and Rock Band video games,[26][27] is mentioned in the novel World War Z by Max Brooks[28] and is used as the opening theme for the documentary series Metal Evolution.

Iron Maiden created a beer called "Trooper", named after the song.[29]

Northern Ireland[edit]

During the course of the Troubles in Northern Ireland the image of Eddie, as he appears on the sleeve of "The Trooper", became an unofficial mascot of the Ulster Freedom Fighters loyalist paramilitary group and was the main figure on a number of the group's murals. The loyalist representation frequently carried a tattered flag with the emblem of the Ulster Defence Association rather than the Union Flag as on the Iron Maiden sleeve.[30][31]

Track listings[edit]

7" & 12" Single
Side one
1."The Trooper"Steve Harris4:10
Side two
2."Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull cover)Ian Anderson3:52
2005 Enhanced CD
Compact Disc
1."The Trooper" (Live at the Westfalenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 24 November 2003)Harris4:13
2."The Trooper"Harris4:12
3."Prowler" (Live at Egilshöllin, Reykjavík, Iceland, 7 June 2005)Harris4:24
4."The Trooper" (Video - Live at the Westfallenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 24 November 2003)Harris4:12
5."The Trooper" (Video - Music video)Harris4:10
2005 7" Blue Vinyl
Side one
1."The Trooper" (Live at the Westfallenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 24 November 2003)Harris4:13
Side two
2."Another Life" (Live at Egilshollin, Reykjavík, Iceland, 7 June 2005)Harris3:43
2005 12" Picture Disc
Side one
1."The Trooper" (Live at the Westfallenhalle Arena, Dortmund, Germany, 24 November 2003)Harris4:13
Side two
1."The Trooper"Harris4:12
2."Murders in the Rue Morgue" (Live at Egilshollin, Reykjavík, Iceland, 7 June 2005)Harris3:33
2005 Digital Download
1."The Trooper" (Live at Egilshollin, Reykjavík, Iceland, 7 June 2005)Harris4:06


Production credits are adapted from the 7-inch vinyl cover.[32]

Iron Maiden



Single Chart (1983) Peak
"The Trooper" Ireland (IRMA) 12[33] Piece of Mind
UK (Official Company Charts) 12[34]
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[35] 28
Single Chart (1990) Peak
"Flight of Icarus / The Trooper" UK Albums Chart[note 1] 7[36]
Single Chart (2005) Peak
"The Trooper" (live) Canada (Canadian Singles Chart) 5[37] Death on the Road
Denmark (Tracklisten) 7[38]
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 5[39]
France (SNEP) 100[40]
Germany (Media Control Charts)[41] 78
Greece (IFPI)[42] 8
Ireland (IRMA) 16[33]
Italy (FIMI) 8[43]
Spain (PROMUSICAE) 1[44]
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 5[45]
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 61[46]
UK (Official Company Charts) 5[47]
UK Rock & Metal (OCC) 1[48]
Single Chart (2006) Position Album
"The Trooper" (live) Spain (PROMUSICAE) 10[44] Death on the Road


  1. ^ Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[49] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Iron Maiden Billboard Charts". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 114. ISBN 0-946391-84-X.
  3. ^ "Iron Maiden Like You've Never Heard Them Before!". Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Iron Maiden- Piece of Mind". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 245. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  6. ^ "Maiden Vinyl Facts - Part 2". Iron Maiden. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  7. ^ Childers, Chad (24 May 2013). "Iron Maiden, 'The Trooper' – Songs About Soldiers". Loudwire. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Sabotage!". Classic Rock (85): 8. 1 October 2005.
  9. ^ "Iron Maiden Will Make 'At Least One More Album,' Says Bruce Dickinson". 4 August 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Iron Maiden: More 'The Trooper' Single Details Revealed". 27 July 2005. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Iron Maiden forced to alter their show to play in China". 29 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Various Artists - A Call to Irons: A Tribute to Iron Maiden, Vol. 1". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Producer Bob Kulick Discusses Iron Maiden Tribute Album Numbers From The Beast". Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Various Artists - A Tribute to the Beast". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Metallica, Machine Head, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater featured on Maiden Heaven CD". 25 June 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Threshold, Within Temptation Members Record Acoustic Versions Of Iron Maiden Classics". 13 October 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  17. ^ "The Iron Maidens". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  18. ^ "Sentenced - The Trooper". Metal Storm. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Hellsongs - Hymns in the Key of 666". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  20. ^ "Various Artists - Metalliska". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  21. ^ "Highland Glory- Forever Endeavour". Discogs. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  22. ^ "Radio Cult Catalogue". Radio Cult. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Stryper: The Covering Album Pushed Back To Early 2011". 24 October 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  24. ^ "Iced Earth - Dystopia Tour Edition To Be Available At Merch Stands On North American Tour". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  25. ^ "2Cellos Create A New Dimension With Celloverse Album". PR Newswire. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  26. ^ Bozon, Mark (5 May 2009). "Guitar Hero Smash Hits: The Full Track List". IGN. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  27. ^ "Iron Maiden Rock Band Downloadable Content Due In June". 29 May 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  28. ^ Daniels, Neil (10 April 2014). Killers The Origins of Iron Maiden, 1975-1983 (1st ed.). Soundcheck Books. p. 139. ISBN 978-0957570023. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Home".
  30. ^ Mural directory from Conflict Archive on the Internet
  31. ^ Union Jack Fury of Iron Maiden Fans; Point Crowd Boo at Flag Waving
  32. ^ "The Trooper" 7 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 20 June 1983.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  33. ^ a b "Search the Charts". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  34. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive 9 July 1983". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Iron Maiden Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  36. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive 24 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  37. ^ "Iron Maiden Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  38. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'The Trooper' (song)". Tracklisten. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  39. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'The Trooper' (song)". The Official Finnish Charts. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  40. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'The Trooper' (chanson)". SNEP (in French). Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  41. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (in German). Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  42. ^ IFPI archive
  43. ^ "Iron Maiden Songs". FIMI. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  44. ^ a b "Iron Maiden - 'The Trooper' (Song)". PROMUSICAE. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  45. ^ "Discography Iron Maiden". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  46. ^ "Iron Maiden - 'The Trooper'". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  47. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive 27 August 2005". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  48. ^ "Rock Singles Chart Top 40". BBC Radio 1. Archived from the original on 2005-08-27. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  49. ^ "British single certifications – Iron Maiden – The Trooper". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 March 2021.