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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

322. Iron Maiden / Wasted Years [Single]. 1986. 5/5

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Of all of the singles I have bought (and I almost always went exclusively for the 12 inch variety to ensure I got the most for my money) this is by far my favourite of all time. Is that a little crazy when it comes to single releases? Possibly. But even in the day when buying singles was still a huge industry, for the most part I already had the album that the song being released was on. That was certainly the case with Somewhere in Time. So my real compunction for buying singles was for the B-sides and what they brought to the table. So in this respect, buying the 12 inch single would in essence give me even more music.

So, for the first part, the single. “Wasted Years” is even today still one of the best Iron Maiden has written and recorded. Written by Adrian Smith solely, who also plays the guitar solo and sings back-up vocals, it has stood the test of time perfectly. A great song.
The two B-side tracks are just terrific. The first song “Reach Out” was written by Adrian’s mate Dave Colwell, and performed in the band The Entire Population of Hackney, a group put together after the Live After Death tour when Nicko McBrain and Adrian wanted to keep performing. It is sung by Adrian, with Bruce Dickinson doing back-up vocals on this occasion. It has always been one of my favourite B side tracks, and I can still put in on today and enjoy it. Many of the other songs written for that band ended up on Adrian’s solo project a few years later.
The third song is a parody written about manager Rod Smallwood, and his apparent constant complaining about his move to Los Angeles. Featuring Bruce sending up Rod’s cockney accent throughout over the top of the song itself, this is a giggle and a fun enough song even without the humour included. A terrific addition for the 12 inch single.

In this day and age of digital music, singles have pretty much become obsolete. The great tragedy of that is that songs such as these two B-sides won’t necessarily ever come into existence because there is no need to fill a second side of a vinyl single release. It is the major tragedy of the modern music age.

Rating:  “It’s over your head, and you don’t seem to understand”.  5/5

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