Thursday, August 22, 2013

Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast

Do you remember how it started?
That one song that made you into the music lover that you are, regardless if you are into house, metal oor brit pop?
I do.
And that is something we are going to discuss in todays post.

Above, a pic of me. I'm sorry, but that is what I look like. It does not get better, but the reason I wanted to show you that it is quite obvious for anyone that I am a rocker.
That is where my heart is.
And have been since that day my uncle played something called... MANOWAR.
Yes, in hindsight and retrospect it does feel kind of cheezy, and when we had that cathegory at the Tyresö Metal Society ("Song That Made You A Rocker"), I was a bit drunk and a bit ashamed.
Still, the song that definately made it for me was "Metal Daze" from the MANOWAR-album "Battle Hymns".
I think it was something about the riffing, and especially in the beginning of the song, that called to me. After that, he followed with other songs that had a great way of starting, such as SAXON "Crusader" and ACCEPT "Fast As A Shark".
Or at least that is how I remember it, I can't say for sure.
Neither Stones or Thetania was part of the Tyresö Metal Society at that time, so I really do not know wich songs they would name as their "Song That Made You A Rocker/Shocker/Music Freak", but I'll guess.
I know Thetania loves IN FLAMES, but probably that is a bit to new for her to fall in love, so I'll go with something older... let's say something with RUSH?
Stones I guess is LED ZEPPELIN, but the actual song is more difficult... so I'll go the easy way and NOT say "Stairway To Heaven". Instead I think it was from something earlier, and I'm going for.. "Whole Lotta Love". Or "Ramble On".

Anyhow, the tune of today has nothing to do with their choices.
Instead, I've been thinking about the importance of a great intro to a legendary song.
If you look at the title track from BLACK SABBATHS debut, it is a good song - but what makes it great and legendary is really the beginning of it. The thunder, the rain and the bell.
That makes all the difference.
Also, almost all of the songs that I can remember from my childhood that really meant something had some kind of intro ("Crusader", "Holy Diver" and especially todays tune) to make it... larger than life.
Kind of.

And the song that has created more rockers than any other song in the world is probably todays tune.
The spoken introduction, the riffing in the beginning, Bruce Dickinsons surpressed singing in the beginning and excellent performance later on in the song, the simple lyrics that still hold some kind of secret and the name of the song... all of it was, of course, irresistable to kids back then.
IRON MAIDEN "Number Of The Beast"!

Parents and teachers hated it.
Kids loved it and wanted to know more (even though the coolest cover and the best picture for a badge was the Eddie-with-the-axe from "Killers") and show other kids that you were part of the heavy metal subculture.
The magazine Okej made rockers and "synthezeiser geeks" (or, in swedish, hårdrockare vs synthare) argue endlessly with each other about who really had the best taste.
Looking back, I'd say it was a tie. Neither of the sides won - because there was no such thing as good taste.
Instead of good taste, those of us who sided with the rockers got a life-long infection.
I still dress in jeans and a heavy metal tee, all of the time (well, that is a bit of a lie as I wear a suite during the days at the office, but whenever I get the chance a roll up my sleeves to scare other office rats with my tattoos). I even remember one time when I visited my sister in the swedish city Lund, a city based solely in the local university and the atmosphere of being stuck-up because of that.
I wore jeans and a WHITESNAKE-tee.
The students I met at the street laughed at me.
Little did these poor kids know that I did not even feel antagonized, I felt sorry. For them, because they will miss a life of love for rock'n'roll-music and being at peace with who you are.
That who you are is good enough.

Oh, okay, perhaps they are music lovers as well and will have a lifetime of pooring out champagne into the sink while dancing to music that has been remixed and recorded - and that is fine.
As long as they enjoy music.
Personally, I try and force metal on my kids.
The result is... somewhat dissapointing, but we can look into that another day.
Today, we'll focus on what one one my friends since back then (Mattias, the globe traveller!) says is the best heavy metal song ever made.
It is part of this album.

"The Number Of The Beast" as an album is, I think, a bit overrated.
It includes a few fantastic songs, but also some that are really not that great.
Time and heavy metal history (the fact that it is the album when the classic vocals by Dickinson was established, and all the stories like this one) has made it into a colossus that usually wins several votes when it comes to "the greatest album ever made".
It is not.
But it might be the album that single handedly created most rockers in the world!

Clive Burr on drums, Bruce Dickinson on vocals, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray on the guitar, and - of course - the ever present Steve Harris on bass guitar.
Thank you, all of you.

For this life-long infection and way of life.

(And, as a cliff-hanger, I'll reveal that tomorrow you will see another picture. One that includes the entire Tyresö Metal Society, together with some completely incoherrent ramblings on the different personalities that makes the society what it is...)

More info @

The Rebel Angel Ramblings Blog
Official Iron Maiden Web

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