Piece of Mind

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Piece of Mind
Studio album by Iron Maiden
Released16 May 1983
RecordedJanuary – March 1983 at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
GenreHeavy metal
ProducerMartin Birch
Iron Maiden chronology
The Number of the Beast
Piece of Mind
Singles from Piece of Mind
  1. "Flight of Icarus"
    Released: 11 April 1983
  2. "The Trooper"
    Released: 20 June 1983
  (Redirected from Still Life (Iron Maiden song))
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Piece of Mind
Studio album by Iron Maiden
Released16 May 1983
RecordedJanuary – March 1983 at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
GenreHeavy metal
ProducerMartin Birch
Iron Maiden chronology
The Number of the Beast
Piece of Mind
Singles from Piece of Mind
  1. "Flight of Icarus"
    Released: 11 April 1983
  2. "The Trooper"
    Released: 20 June 1983

Piece of Mind is the fourth studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, originally released in 1983 by EMI, and by Capitol in the US, where it was reissued later by Sanctuary/Columbia Records. It was the first album to feature drummer Nicko McBrain, who had recently left the Paris-based band Trust and has been Iron Maiden's drummer ever since.

Piece of Mind was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart and achieving platinum certification in the UK and North America.


In December 1982, drummer Clive Burr ended his association with the band due to personal and tour schedule problems and was replaced by Nicko McBrain, previously of French band Trust, as well as Pat Travers, and Streetwalkers.[1] Soon afterwards, the band went to Jersey to compose the songs, taking over the hotel Le Chalet as it was out of season, and rehearsing in its restaurant. In February, the band journeyed for the first time to the Bahamas to record the album at Nassau's Compass Point Studios. Recordings were finished in March, and afterwards the album was mixed at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.[2][3]

This is the first of four Iron Maiden albums that were not named after a song featured on the album itself (though the lyrics in the song "Still Life" contain the expression "peace of mind"). Originally, the release's working title was Food for Thought, once the band had decided that Eddie would be lobotomised on the front cover, until the band came up with the title Piece of Mind in a pub in Jersey, during the album's writing stage.[4]

Included in the liner notes is a slightly altered version of a passage from the Book of Revelation, which reads:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more Death. Neither sorrow, nor crying. Neither shall there be any more brain; for the former things are passed away.[5]

The actual text (from Chapter 21, Verse 4) is nearly identical, except that it says "neither shall there be any more pain", rather than brain, which was added as a pun on the album's title, and possibly the new drummer's last name.[5]

In a lower corner on the back side of the album cover, there is this message: "No synthesizers or ulterior motives".

Until 1995's The X Factor, this record would be the only Iron Maiden studio album not to feature a title track, though the title is alluded to in the song "Still Life".


Lyrically, the album reflected the group's literary interests, such as "To Tame a Land," based on Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune,[6] and "The Trooper," inspired by Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade,[7] as well as film, such as "Where Eagles Dare", a film by Brian G. Hutton, and screenplay & novel by Alistair MacLean,[8] and "Quest for Fire", based on the film by Jean-Jacques Annaud.[6] On top of this, the writer G. K. Chesterton is quoted at the beginning of "Revelations".[9] More exotic influences include Greek mythology, albeit slightly altered for "Flight of Icarus". Aleister Crowley influenced a good piece of the remaining lyrics of "Revelations", which was written by Dickinson.[10] The last track was meant to be entitled Dune, but, after seeking permission from Frank Herbert's agents, the band received a message which stated, "Frank Herbert doesn't like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially bands like Iron Maiden."[6]

Hidden message[edit]

At the beginning of the sixth track, "Still Life", the band included a hidden message which could only be understood by playing the album backwards. This was a joke and an intended swing back at the critics who had accused Iron Maiden of being Satanic. The backwards-message features McBrain mimicking Idi Amin (or rather mimicking John Bird mimicking Idi Amin) uttering the following phrase "What ho said the t'ing with the three 'bonce', do not meddle with things you don't understand...", followed by a belch. The phrase itself is taken from the satirical album The Collected Broadcasts of Idi Amin by Bird and Alan Coren. "What ho" and "What ho said the t'ing" are phrases that also crop up regularly on McBrain's "Listen With Nicko!" tracks from The First Ten Years collection.

According to McBrain, "We were sick and tired of being labelled as Devil worshippers and all this bollocks by these fucking morons in the States, so we thought, 'Right, you want to take the piss? We'll show you how to take the bleeding piss, my son!' And one of the boys taped me in the middle of this Idi Amin routine I used to do when I'd had a few drinks. I remember it distinctly ended with the words, 'Don't meddle wid t'ings yo don't understand.' We thought, if people were going to be stupid about this sort of thing, we might as well give them something to be really stupid about, you know?"[2]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[8]

Piece of Mind was released on 28 May 1983, peaking at No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart.[13] It was preceded by the single "Flight of Icarus" on 28 April, and its supporting tour, the World Piece Tour, opened at Hull City Hall, on 2 May. Said tour would end on 18 December, following 139 concerts in total, with a televised performance at Westfalenhalle in Dortmund.[14][3]

In North America, the album became the band's highest charting thus far, peaking at No. 14 in the Billboard 200.[15] By July Piece of Mind was certified gold by the RIAA,[16] rising up to platinum status in 1986.[17] In 1995, the album achieved platinum status in the UK.[18]

Reviews for Piece of Mind were mostly positive. In 1983, Kerrang! magazine published a poll of the greatest metal albums of all time, with Piece of Mind ranking No. 1, and with The Number of the Beast at No. 2.[4] Since its release, the album has received consistent critical acclaim with Sputnikmusic stating that it's "easily an album that belongs in your collection", although they argue that "the likes of Powerslave [1984], Somewhere in Time [1986], and Brave New World [2000] would over take it",[12] while AllMusic described it as "essential for anyone with even the most basic interest in heavy metal", although "the second half dips a bit from the first".[8] In addition, it was ranked No. 21 on IGN's list of the top 25 metal albums in 2007.[19]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Where Eagles Dare"  Steve Harris6:10
2."Revelations"  Bruce Dickinson6:50
3."Flight of Icarus"  Adrian Smith, Dickinson3:51
4."Die with Your Boots On"  Smith, Dickinson, Harris5:28
Side two
5."The Trooper"  Harris4:15
6."Still Life"  Dave Murray, Harris4:53
7."Quest for Fire"  Harris3:41
8."Sun and Steel"  Dickinson, Smith3:26
9."To Tame a Land"  Harris7:27
Total length:


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[20][21]

Iron Maiden

Cover versions[edit]

In 2010, Maiden uniteD, featuring lead singer Damian Wilson, released an all-acoustic reinterpretation of the album entitled Mind the Acoustic Pieces.[22]

Two songs were covered for the 2008 tribute album Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden; "The Trooper" by Coheed and Cambria and "To Tame a Land" by Dream Theater.[23]

"The Trooper" has been covered by Finnish doom/death metal band Sentenced on their 1994 EP The Trooper,[24] the American heavy metal band Iced Earth on the "tour edition" of their 2011 album, Dystopia,[25] the death metal band Vital Remains on the 1998 tribute album A Call to Irons,[26] Christian hard rock band Stryper on the album, The Covering, in 2011,[27] and Swedish lounge act Hellsongs on their 2008 album, Hymns in the Key of 666.[28]

"Where Eagles Dare" has been covered by Fozzy on their second album, Happenstance, in 2002.[29] The song was also covered by Faroese viking metal band Týr and released on their album Valkyrja, in 2013. Fozzy has also covered "The Prisoner" (from The Number of the Beast) on their debut, Fozzy.[30]

"Die with Your Boots On" has been covered by Sonata Arctica.[31]

Chart performance[edit]


CountryChart (1983)Peak position
AustriaÖ3 Austria Top 4010[32]
GermanyMedia Control Charts8[33]
New ZealandRIANZ8[35]
United KingdomOfficial Albums Chart3[13]
United StatesBillboard 20014[38]
CountryChart (2010)Peak position
GreeceIFPI Greece39[39]
CountryChart (2012)Peak position


SingleChart (1983)Peak positionAlbum
"Flight of Icarus"Irish Singles Chart14[40]Piece of Mind
UK Singles Chart11[13]
"The Trooper"Irish Singles Chart12[40]
UK Singles Chart12[13]
SingleChart (1990)Peak positionAlbum
"Flight of Icarus/The Trooper"UK Albums Chart[note 1]7[13]
SingleChart (2005)Peak positionAlbum
"The Trooper" (live)Canadian Singles Chart5[41]Death on the Road
Danish Singles Chart7[42]
Finnish Singles Chart5[43]
French Singles Chart100[44]
Irish Singles Chart16[40]
Italian Singles Chart8[45]
Spanish Singles Chart1[46]
Swedish Singles Chart5[47]
Swiss Singles Chart61[48]
UK Singles Chart5[49]
SingleChart (2006)PositionAlbum
"The Trooper" (live)Spanish Singles Chart10[46]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.


Canada2× Platinum[50]200,000+2006


  1. ^ Wall 2004, p. 233.
  2. ^ a b Wall 2004, p. 246.
  3. ^ a b "Piece Notes". Piece of Mind (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 1998. p. 2. 
  4. ^ a b Wall 2004, p. 247.
  5. ^ a b Wall 2004, p. 245.
  6. ^ a b c Wall 2004, p. 244.
  7. ^ "Iron Maiden Like You've Never Heard Them Before!". Blabbermouth.net. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  9. ^ Doran, John (2005). "Brain Damage". Metal Hammer presents: Iron Maiden 30 Years of Metal Mayhem: 134–135. 
  10. ^ Touchard, Philippe (December 1983). "Bruce Dickinson interview". Enfer Magazine (8). 
  11. ^ Bonutto, Dante (19 May 1983). "Iron Maiden Piece of Mind". Kerrang! 42. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. p. 15. 
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  14. ^ Wall 2004, p. 265.
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  18. ^ a b "BPI: Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Thompson, Ed (19 January 2007). "Top 25 Metal Albums". IGN. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  20. ^ Iron Maiden (16 May 1983). "Album credits". Piece of Mind Booklet. EMI. 
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