Tell me why I have to be a Powerslave…
Yes, by Iron Maiden…like that needed to be said. I guess there are some folks out there who don’t know. Well you do now.
I’ll never forget when I first bought this. It was 1984 and my mom and I were flying into Pittsburgh to visit family for a week. The airport there had a little music store so with some of the spending money I had I bought Powerslave and Bark at the Moon. I had heard some of the Ozzy album on the radio and at that time, Ozzy was still making quality records. Prior to buying Powerslave, Run To the Hills was the only Iron Maiden that I had ever heard. I always loved their album covers but never checked ‘em out. I even remember having the old Hit Parader special edition “Iron Maiden vs. Quiet Riot.” Of course I covered my walls with the QR posters that came with it. Duh. Children!
OK, back to Pittsburgh. For whatever reason, NO ONE in my large family up there had a working cassette player and I didn’t bring my Sony Walkman. Of course their record players and 8-track players worked fine. D’oh. So I ended up having to wait a whole week before I actually heard the damned thing. But once I got back to Virginia, oh man, it was on.
I remember calling Kelz and saying, “Dude, I just got the new Iron Maiden…it’s so fast!” It was also one of the inspirations for me to want to play drums which I started later that year. Now realize that I already considered myself a metalhead and was already into KISS, Crue, Metallica, Sabbath, DIO, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, RUSH, Triumph and a slew of other heavy bands, but Maiden was my missing link.
I wore out at least 6 copies on cassette. A few vinyl copies and have owned 3 versions on CD. The OCD in my head turns on sometimes and says, “Doofus, you must go and find every version of this on CD and have one whole rack dedicated to Powerslave.” You know, it really doesn’t sound that silly, does it? Hmmm…
The album is just brilliant, beginning to end. Every time I play it, I still get goose bumps when I hear the opening riff to Aces High. The transition in to 2 Minutes to Midnight is perfect. I’m not even bothered by the instrumental…and I rarely like Maiden’s instrumentals. I always found it odd that there were 2 songs on there about swords. Sure, Bruce Bruce was a fencer and all, but whatever. Both songs are great. I guess when Dickinson wrote Flash of the Blade, Harris had to get his say and write The Duellists. OK, side 2. I can remember flipping it over in my old tiny boombox that had one 4” speaker. Good times. So now, Back In the Village. Great tune…duh. I’m not sure why I am even mentioning each of these songs since we all know that the album is perfect. But since I am near the end, Powerslave is one of my faves on this record. Just a great groove. Nicko is god. Finally we get to the epic Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Simply brilliant and very well done.
I’ll never forget Mr. Gordon’s 11th grade English class. We were studying Rime in its entirety and of course I was already very familiar with it. When we were starting to break the long ass poem down, I mentioned that I had a shorter version that still captured the essence of the story and asked me to read it to the class. Read it? Shit, g, I had that junk memorized. So I stood up and recited the entire song to the class. I’d pause now and then and Mr. Gordon would ask if I was done. “No sir, just getting through a guitar solo.” So after I completed it, Mr. G thought it was pretty cool. he said something to the effect of “Wow Sean. Good job. But how is it that you can memorize that entire song but you can’t seem to remember to do your homework?” My reply was simple…”That’s easy, Mr. Gordon. I have my priorities.” He just shook his head and the class laughed. Ha! I ruled the wasteland that day.
1984 was a good year. A damned good year.
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