Back to it after giving my wife a much deserved break from all this Iron Maiden-ness. I stopped and waited a couple days into the future so I could travel back to a couple days ago and listen to “Somewhere in Time”.
This sixth studio album has a couple notable thingies. One, guitar synthesizers. Hey, I didn’t say that they were notable because they were awesome. Two, the album contains no songs written by Bruce Dickinson. I guess he wrote a bunch of acoustic songs and cuddled up with a bunch of bunnies and kitties and the rest of the band was like “Uh-uh Bruce.”. The band rejected all of his songs for this record. I understand though, how the hell you gonna write a bunch of acoustic songs when we have GUITAR SYNTHESIZERS, Bruce?? Get with the program!
This was also the first release that didn’t come out a year after it’s predecessor. The band wanted to take their time and not rush to get it ready like they had in the past.
I’m gonna be honest here, I’ve always thought the art work related to this record was some of my favorite. Also, it’s kinda bat shit crazy. In the future, skinless cyborg Eddie roams the streets of some Blade Runner type city. Packing future type ray guns and wearing fedoras and smoking and just being all super futurey. I remember that there were tons of references to old Maiden albums in the cover art, but today I found this list. This crazy fucking list:
The street sign on the corner where Eddie is standing says Acacia (partially obscured), a reference to the song “22 Acacia Avenue” from The Number of the Beast album.
Below “Acacia” is a poster of Eddie from the first album, with graffiti reading “Eddie lives” written on it. Torn posters are also featured on the “Sanctuary” and “Women in Uniform” singles.
A banner with the words, “This is a very boring painting” is displayed backwards within the lobby of the Bradbury Towers Hotels International. This can be seen to the left of Eddie’s right leg.
In the very centre, just above the “Department” sign and behind the cable going to the cyborg’s weapon, there is a small vertical phrase in red neon, which reads “Меня Рвёт” [Menya Rvyot], Russian for “I’m vomiting” — or more literally, “it’s tearing me up”, depending on the context.
An Eye of Horus neon sign at the top of a building, a reference to the song, “Powerslave”.
Under Eddie’s left leg there is a rubbish bin attached to a lamppost, identical to the one seen on the cover of the “Iron Maiden” album.
The haloed black cat from the back cover of Live After Death is on the pavement behind Eddie.
Below the Eye of Horus is the name, “Websters,” a tribute to Charlie Webster, EMI’s art director.
Derek Riggs’ artistic signature symbol can be found on Eddie’s chest.
References on the back include:
A clock reading 23:58 (“2 Minutes to Midnight”).
Below the clock there is a sign which reads “Phantom Opera House,” in reference to the song “Phantom of the Opera” from the first album.
The words “Bollocks again & again” appear just below the “Phantom Opera House”.
A building on the left side carries the sign, “Aces High Bar,” a reference to the song (“Aces High”) of the same name.
Flying over the “Aces High Bar” is a Spitfire from the “Aces High” cover.
To the left of the “Aces High Bar” are four letters in yellow and green. These are Hebrew letters spelling out the name of God, namely יהוה, Jehovah/Yahweh.
Below the “Aces High Bar”, is a sign that says “Sand Dune” in reference to their song “To Tame a Land,” from Piece of Mind, based on the novel Dune.
Pyramids in the background, a reference to the Powerslave album.
Among the pyramids, a grim reaper, similar to that which appears on the covers of “The Trooper” and Live After Death.
The marquee for the cinema reads Blade Runner, the film which inspired the album’s cover. It also reads “Live After Death”, the name of their 1985 live album.
The cinema is named “Philip K. Dick Cinema”, named after the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the book on which the film Blade Runner was based.
More Blade Runner references include “Dekkers Department Stores” and a “Tyrell Corp” sign.
In the background, “Bradbury Towers” can be seen, a likely reference to the Blade Runner prominent Bradbury Building located in Los Angeles.
To the right of the clock is a neon sign which reads “Ancient Mariner Seafood Restaurant”, a reference to the song “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” from the Powerslave album.
On the bottom left hand side of the cover is “The Ruskin Arms”, famous for being one of the first venues which Iron Maiden performed in.
On the second floor of the “Ruskin Arms” building is a woman sitting in a red lit room which, a reference to “Charlotte”, a repeated character in the band’s songs.
Just above “The Ruskin Arms” is a neon sign that reads “RAINBOW”, another famous venue where Iron Maiden recorded a video in 1980.
Above and to the left of the “Rainbow” sign is a neon sign reading “L’AMOURS Beer Gardens”, a reference to the “L’Amours” rock venue Iron Maiden once played in Brooklyn, New York.
On the roof of the same building is the TARDIS from the BBC TV series Doctor Who. The TARDIS is also featured on the cover of the “Wasted Years” single.
Above the Bradbury Towers neon sign is Icarus in flames falling from the sky, in the same style of the cover for the band’s 1983 single “Flight of Icarus”. According to Riggs, Icarus is supposed to look like the logo used by Swan Song Records, a label founded by Led Zeppelin.
On the walkway above the clock is an electronic sign that says “LATEST RESULTS…….WEST HAM 7……..ARSENAL 3”, a nod to bass guitarist Steve Harris who is a West Ham supporter.
At the right edge below, just near the band, there is another sign in Russian – Кефир (“KEFIR”), which means “yoghurt”.
Just above the “KEFIR” sign is a street sign reading “Upton Park,” which is where West Ham’s football stadium is located.
There is a sign which reads “Tonight: Gypsy’s Kiss”, a reference to the first band Steve Harris ever played in.
On the right side, above the “Bradbury Towers” sign, is a sign in Japanese, “浅田 彰,” which refers to a notable Japanese philosopher, economist and critic, Akira Asada.
To the right of the pyramids is a sign reading “Long Beach Arena,” which is where most of the Live After Death album was recorded.
The Syncom sign refers to the 1961 NASA program of the same name.
The neon sign above the band reads “Maggies Revenge” and refers to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who appears on the cover of the “Sanctuary” and “Women in Uniform” singles.
One of the buildings is labelled “Asimov Foundation”, a reference to the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov.
A character wearing a large cloak stands above the walkway’s right side, which Riggs claims is Batman.
Above and slightly to the right of the cloaked character reads more Hebrew lettering, “ג’ין” (Gin, in English).
On the right side of the walkway and just above the “Latest Results” sign is the bracket that holds Eddie’s skull together from the Piece of Mind album onwards, which Riggs drew as a cartouche.
In the bottom right hand corner all five members of the band are standing in a line. Bruce Dickinson is holding a brain, a reference to Piece of Mind, and Nicko is wearing aviator goggles (he had a pilot’s license by this time, long before Dickinson) and a t-shirt that says “Iron What?”. According to Riggs, the band complained because the pictures of themselves were not accurate enough.
To the right of “Long Beach Arena” is a sign which reads “Hammerjacks”, a night club and concert hall in Baltimore frequented by the band.
Below Hammerjacks is a sign that says “Tehe’s Bar”, which is where the choir vocals in the middle of “Heaven Can Wait” were recorded.
To the left of the clock is a sign that says “Herbert Ails”, a reference to the author Frank Herbert who wrote the book, “Dune,” which the Iron Maiden song, “To Tame a Land,” is based on. Herbert had also died that same year, explaining the word “Ails.”
Beneath the Phantom Opera House sign, there is a sign that reads “EMI REC.”. All of the band’s albums, outside North America, have been released by EMI Records.
Got that from wiki again, deal with it.
1. “Caught Somewhere in Time”
2. “Wasted Years”
3. “Sea of Madness”
4. “Heaven Can Wait”
5. “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”
6. “Stranger in a Strange Land”
8. “Alexander the Great”
Been working on the computer today so I did a quick Eddie using the magical future machine!