January 12, 2021

Recently, two members of the Velvet Thunder writing team had books published in the ‘On Track’ series by Sonicbond Publishing, delving into every album and every track by a selected artist – Graeme Stroud covering Thin Lizzy and Steve Pilkington taking on Iron Maiden.

A little while ago we presented an exclusive sample chapter from the THIN LIZZY volume, and now we move onto IRON MAIDEN, with Steve Pilkington taking a look into the celebrated Piece Of Mind album…

PIECE OF MIND
Personnel:
Bruce Dickinson: vocals
Dave Murray: guitars
Adrian Smith: guitars
Steve Harris: bass guitar
Nicko McBrain: drums
Record Label: EMI (UK), Capitol (US)
Recorded Feb-March 1983, produced by Martin Birch.
Release date: 16 May 1983.
Highest chart places: UK: 3, USA: 14
Running time: 45:18

Album facts.
Following the Beast On The Road tour, in December 1982, another line-up change hit the band when Clive Burr was dismissed and replaced by Nicko McBrain, who had recently left the band Trust. However, the truth of this change is to this day shrouded in whispers and contradiction. The band claimed that Burr was beginning to let his performances suffer after he started to indulge too much in the rock and roll lifestyle, in a similar way to Paul Di’Anno (only more alcohol and less cocaine). That was the story which was seized upon by the press, but Clive himself, right up to his death in 2013, insisted that this was not the case. As he always told it, during the American leg of the tour, in the Autumn of 1982, with the band supporting Judas Priest, Burr received a call asking him to return to London as his father had passed away. He claimed the rest of the band were more than supportive, insisting he go, and they got McBrain in as a temporary stand-in for two weeks – something Clive was happy about, as he knew and liked Nicko. When he returned, however, he claimed things had changed, and the atmosphere wasn’t the same, and that as soon as the tour ended he was dismissed as they felt it was ‘time for a change’. He always denied excessive alcohol use, and believed that the band simply found they liked playing with Nicko, and used the tales of his indiscipline as an excuse.

We will probably never know the real truth, as Clive sadly passed away in 2013 from complications associated with Multiple Sclerosis, with which he had been diagnosed in the early ‘90s. Happily, he was completely reconciled with the band after this shocking diagnosis, as they played  benefit gigs (under the ‘Clive Aid’ banner) and raised vital money not only for his treatment and living adaptations, but also for many other MS sufferers. Coincidentally, when he left Maiden, Clive played with Trust, replacing Nicko there just as Nicko was replacing him in Maiden. He went on to record and play with other bands, such as Elixir and Praying Mantis, but never again reached the heights of his Maiden days.

Nicko McBrain had been a friend and fan of Maiden for some time, occasionally appearing onstage as ‘Eddie’, so in many ways he was a natural fit. Having made his album recording debut back in 1973 on the album Giltrap by Gordon Giltrap, he went on to play with bands such as Streetwalkers and The Pat Travers Band before Trust and Maiden came along. Interestingly, in 1973 he had also played on a single associated with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, called ‘Nice One Cyril’ after the player Cyril Knowles, with a band credited as The Cockerel Chorus. This contrasts sharply with Steve Harris’s outspoken and fanatical support of London rivals West Ham United, who are also known as ‘The Irons’, inspiring Harris to come up with the band slogan ‘Up The Irons’. McBrain was initially named Michael, but was given the nickname ‘Nicky’ after a teddy bear he owned as a child, called Nicholas, which later evolved into Nicko.

When McBrain joined the band in December 1982, they quickly decamped to Jersey, where they took over an off-season hotel called Le Chalet, rehearsing in the hotel restaurant. Writing complete, they headed to the Bahamas in February to record the album at Compass Point Studios in Nassau – somewhat more exotic than their previous location of Battery Studios in North London! The album, again produced by Martin Birch, received extremely positive reviews when released in May 1983, reaching the band’s best US chart position yet (14), while also hitting Number 3 in the UK. The World Piece tour to promote the record began in Hull on 2 May, and featured 139 shows between then and December. Quite the schedule!

Album Cover.
Riggs once again here, of course, and also once again Eddie taking centre stage, this time in lobotomised form, chained and clad in a straitjacket in a padded room. This evolved the image of Eddie to begin having a metal plate and bolts on his forehead from this point on. The image wraps around onto the back of the gatefold to reveal a door in the cell, opening onto what looks somewhat like the sky from the Number Of The Beast cover. The track details are also on the reverse, along with the band line-up and another quote from the Book Of Revelations, deliberately amended to replace the words ‘any more pain’ with ‘any more brain’ in reference to the title. In fact, on this occasion the concept for the cover had been generated by Harris with manager Rod Smallwood, and from their outline Riggs actually came out to Nassau to paint it for them while they were recording. Any excuse, one might remark! The  original working title had been ‘Food For Thought’, before Piece Of Mind was inspired both by the cover idea and a band meeting in a pub in Jersey! The Riggs logo can be seen here on a locket held in a disembodied hand, though it is missing on the CD release. The inner gatefold featured the band seated around an opulent dining table on the left panel, with the lyrics on the right.

Riggs also designed the covers for the two singles from the album. ‘Flight Of Icarus’, featuring a flamethrower-wielding flying Eddie burning Icarus’ wings, and ‘The Trooper’, with its iconic and stunning image of Eddie as 19th Century British soldier wielding a tattered flag. Note that the figure of Icarus resembles the Icarus painting by William Rimmer which was used by Led Zeppelin for their Swan Song record label. According to Riggs, this was a deliberate tip of the hat to Zeppelin, who had split up two and a half years earlier.

Songs.

‘Where Eagles Dare’ (Harris)
Once again Harris turns his attention to literary matters in this stunning album opener. Based on the Alistair MacLean novel from 1967 (and film from the following year starring Richard Burton), this time out he takes a literal, storytelling approach, outlining the daring assault on a Nazi stronghold high in the Bavarian alps. It’s six minutes long, but there is barely a moment wasted.

One can imagine how many listeners must have put this on the turntable, only to immediately nod and think ‘Ah, so THAT’S why they brought in Nicko!’, because his drum work on the track is so good that it single-handedly raises it from the status of ‘good album opener’ to greatness. The very beginning of the song is a deceptively complex drum intro which he apparently nailed in seconds after a full day spent perfecting a completely different one; Harris came in the following morning, heard it and said ‘no, something more like this’, to which the final piece was immediately delivered.

Dickinson excels again, relating the story with just the right amount of excitement and suspense, despite some very wordy lines again. There is a long instrumental section, containing solos by Murray and then Smith which are superb in themselves, but the real star is the constant underpinning of the fairly simple chord progression by Nicko’s insistent machine-gun pattern. If ever a song was likely to induce an attack of involuntary ‘air-drumming’, this is the one. There are one or two slightly clumsy lines, and the old scanning problem hits Bruce again when the word ‘valley’ has room for only one syllable while ‘Eagle’s Nest’ in the next line calls for one too many, but he navigates it well, and such is the breathless urgency and sheer quality of the track – together with the commendable literary intent of the subject matter – that criticism would be pointless. Maiden getting better and better.

Still from the ‘Run To The Hills’ video, from the previous album

‘Revelations’ (Dickinson)
The first Maiden song credited to Bruce alone – and what a start! Much has been said of the intelligence and literacy of Harris’s words, but this one takes it one step further into an obliquely written reflection on such matters as free will, comparative religion, good versus evil and such theological matters. The song opens with a verse from a hymn by G. K. Chesterton, chosen by Bruce as he felt it had continued relevance to the modern world, with its plea to God to take away our chains formed of pride and money, among other things. The next verse opens with a direct reference to the black magician Aleister Crowley, with the line ‘Just a babe in a black abyss’, as the phrase ‘babe in the black abyss’ was used by Crowley himself, in his book Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, to reference a rank of spirituality. There are other Crowley references sprinkled in the text which, given the message which seems to be laid out in parts of the song regarding the hidden danger of following religious leaders blindly, would fit with Crowley’s creed of ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’. Fascinating hints abound within the cryptic words, such as ‘The Eyes of the Nile are opening, you’ll see’, which could well be a warning of the danger mentioned above; the Eyes of the Nile are what the Egyptians used to call the eyes of the hunting crocodiles at night, which were the only parts visible and shone in the moonlight, and this would be a powerful metaphor for hidden danger. Elsewhere there is a line about ‘the venom which tears my spine’, and Dickinson has confirmed that this relates to the Hindu belief that a serpent (‘Kundalini’)  lies dormant at the base of everybody’s spine, and when this worm is awakened by the ‘Samadhi’ (a spiritual entity created by orgasm or intense meditation) the serpent makes its way up the spinal cord and releases its venom into the brain, creating a union with God, and therefore this may be the meaning of the Eyes of the Nile opening, meaning new possibilities opening up.

Of course, how exactly these diverse references fit together is something known only to Dickinson himself. What is ‘the secret of the Hanged Man’ (or is it ‘hangman’?), and the smile upon his lips? This could be a reference to ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, and the protagonist’s welcoming of the noose as it will join him to God, but Bruce Dickinson has said that it refers to the tarot card The Hanged Man, and that the smile relates to the fact that in the Hindu tradition the card is supposed to represent good luck. There are nods to the sun and moon, representing masculinity and femininity, and at the very end ‘The one who would be King, the watcher in the ring’ is followed by the climactic ‘It is you, it is you’, appearing to indicate that ultimately we should follow our own souls where they lead us. Note that there are also two further lines from the Chesterton hymn used within the song, namely ‘bind all of our lives together’ and ‘ ablaze with hope and free’, which become the line ‘bind all of us together, ablaze with hope and free’. Thoughtful, intelligent, literate and obliquely subtle, this is devastatingly good songwriting, and that only covers the lyrics!

Musically, this is equally impressive, covering all bases over its near seven minute running time. There are slow heavy sections (the opening Chesterton verse), quiet meditative verses, dramatic great heavy choruses and plenty of intricate and proggy harmonic twin guitar work to lift it above the norm. Of course, few Maiden songs would be really complete without that great shift up in tempo, and that is used on a couple of occasions here. Firstly it is used at around the two minute mark, before the first verse proper, and later to usher in the instrumental section, heralded by Bruce’s ‘Go!’, before superb guitar solos by Murray and then Smith lift things still further. Murray in particular has taken his playing to a whole new level since the relatively raw work on the early albums. Two songs in, and two masterpieces. This is a very special start to an album indeed.

‘Flight Of Icarus’ (Smith, Dickinson)
Another Dickinson lyric here, this time reinterpreting the Greek mythological take of Icarus, who had a pair of wings, made with his father Daedalus, but flew too close to the sun so that the wax in the wings melted. It isn’t a straight retelling, as there are glaring differences: in the song Icarus takes to the air encouraged by his father, as a crowd looks on, whereas in the original story there was no crowd, and they in fact both flew as a means to escape the labyrinth of the minotaur. Dickinson has said that he twisted the tale slightly to turn it into an allegory about teenage rebellion, which in the case of Icarus led to his death. There is one line ‘now he knows his father betrayed’, just before his wings ‘turn to ashes’, which leaves the question open as to whether this means his father betrayed him (with faulty wings), whether his father was betrayed by someone who helped him, or indeed whether it is he who has ‘betrayed’ his father’s belief in him by flying too close to the sun as in the original tale. Of course, on the cover of the single it is Eddie with a flamethrower, but we’ll let that particular reinterpretation slide!

The song was released as the first single from the album, and reached Number Eleven in the UK charts as well as gaining significant airplay in the US (it scored highly on the rock charts). It certainly opened doors, but it was a bone of contention between Dickinson and Harris. The song is taken at a relatively relaxed pace, with the chorus big, anthemic and standing proud from the song , but Harris wanted to take it at a faster pace, which is the way it was subsequently done live. Dickinson, however, stood firm, insisting that the way it was would get it onto the radio in America and be a help to their career. Ultimately, he was right.

The song is co-written by Adrian Smith but, despite this, Murray takes more of the limelight, taking the first of two relatively short mid-song solos and then a later solo to himself. He does it brilliantly, though. There was an official video for the song, filmed in the studio in Nassau and depicting the band running through a staged recording. Notable on this film is the sight of an astonishingly young-looking Nicko behind the drumkit, who also takes the part of a rather blue-tinged Grim reaper, while Martin Birch also has a cameo, changing into Eddie and back again in a flash. Dickinson’s vocal on this one has a little of the feel of Ronnie James Dio in parts, which is never a bad thing. His delivery of the line ‘In the name of God my father, I’ll fly!’ is so impassioned it makes Bono’s ‘Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you’ from the Band Aid single sound like Kraftwerk.

World Piece tour, Charleston, USA (photo: Bryan Cline)

‘Die With Your Boots On’ (Smith, Dickinson, Harris)
A three-way co-write this time, with Dickinson again involved along with Smith and Harris, who is back in the frame after an unusual run of two songs without his input. In this case, the message of the song is concerning a vision of an apocalyptic future, taking its inspiration squarely from the Cold War fears of nuclear escalation which were so prevalent at the time. Nostradamus is referred to in the second verse in terms of prophecy, and the song is effectively telling people that listening to leaders or prophets of disaster and asking them for answers is pointless, and that the best course of action is to live life regardless, and figuratively ‘die with your boots on’.

Musically this is much more straightforward fare, being a straight ahead, meat and potatoes Iron Maiden charger, pretty much from start to finish. And nothing wrong with that! The chorus is Maiden at their absolute fire-engine best, only marred by some dreadful backing vocals intoning ‘if you’re gonna die’, and sounding as if a few mates of theirs had stumbled back with them from the pub and ‘had a go’! This is odd, as the band’s backing vocals are usually well done and unobtrusive, but in this case they really interrupt the force of nature which is Bruce in full flight. According to Harris, his only contribution was the chord sequence in the verses, while the lyrics were the work of Dickinson, with the main riff being courtesy of Dickinson and Smith. It’s a good song apart from that vocal issue, albeit not the band’s most adventurous moment, and it did make a great on-stage number.

‘The Trooper’ (Harris)
If the previous track perhaps didn’t end Side One of the vinyl album in truly classic style, there can be no mistake about this, the opening to the second side. Released as the second single from the album, and reaching Number Twelve in the UK singles charts, ‘The Trooper’ has become one of the most popular, most recognisable and most regularly played of all Maiden songs, and not without good reason.

The song, written by Harris, was written to depict the Crimean battle known as The Charge Of The Light Brigade, and was inspired by the Tennyson poem of the same name. The famous charge occurred as an error in communication, when the commander, Lord Raglan, gave the order to retake some British guns which were being retrieved by the Russian forces. The cavalry on the ground could not see what he could from his elevated position, and could not tell which guns were being referred to, as Raglan did not specify this, believing it to be obvious. Thus, under the command of Lord Cardigan, who refused to listen to a messenger informing him of his mistake, the 647 mounted cavalrymen obeyed his suicidal order to instead directly charge upon the Russian guns in the valley; in fact, the Russian forces were so astonished by this move that they did not begin firing immediately, but when they did it was a massacre. Out of 647 mounted men, 195 survived – including, ironically, Lord Cardigan, whose blinkered arrogance led to the catastrophe. To compound this, when  he realised what was happening, Cardigan was first to ride out of the fray and left his men behind him to find their own way back. This is the event behind the famous line from the poem ‘Into the valley of death rode the six hundred’, and the song perfectly encapsulates this mayhem and slaughter, as well as drawing attention to the futile bravery of men and the sometime wilfulness of their officers.

The lyric to the song may well be poignant and historically instructive, but the main thrust musically is the evocation of the battle, and the charge itself, and it does so in exceptional fashion. Beginning with the track’s main ‘hook’, the brilliant twin lead guitar riff, the first verse begins in stop/start manner, Dickinson singing the lines acapella as the band enter between each line in a staccato effect. However, after this they kick in with perhaps the ultimate example of the trademark Iron Maiden ‘gallop’, and the listener is swept along in unstoppable excitement, as if on one of those ill-fated horses themselves. If ‘Run To The Hills’ had been the first to evoke that galloping rhythm, this made it seem like a canter in comparison. There is simply no let-up in the track at all, with guitar solos by Smith first (one of his best to this point) and then Murray only served to speed things along. In a live setting, the song is a veritable force of nature: Iron Maiden, writ large and in the raw.

There was an official video made for the single, with the band again shown playing the track (on a rather striking black and white chequerboard stage no less), interspersed superbly with action scenes from the 1936 Errol Flynn film The Charge Of The Light Brigade – similar to the way the old footage was woven into the ‘Run To The Hills’ video, but this time with no laughs whatsoever. Opening and closing with lines from the poem as full screen captions, the footage is edited to, at times, mirror exactly what Bruce is singing, and as such is doubly effective. The BBC complained and insisted the video was too violent to be shown unedited, which for something using 1936 footage seems laughable. Thin Lizzy’s song ‘Massacre’ was inspired by the same battle, and it is notable that Maiden later covered that song. In recent years the song title has given its name to the official Iron Maiden beer ‘Trooper’, which also uses the iconic image of Eddie as British soldier for its label.

Interestingly, there is an old and slightly obscure version of the US Confederate flag which depicts a sort of skeleton figure going in to battle for the South, carrying a Confederate flag himself and adopting an almost identical pose to that of Eddie in the famous illustration. It may be coincidence, but the similarity is striking enough to question whether Riggs may have taken inspiration from this image.

The Beast On The Road tour, Huntingdon, USA
(Photo: Bryan Cline)

‘Still Life’ (Murray, Harris)
A different approach with this track as Harris relates a tale of a man who becomes obsessed with the spirits he sees in a pool of water, eventually losing his mind and jumping in to join them, taking his partner with him where they both drown. There have been a lot of claims over the years that the song was inspired by the plot of a short story by horror writer Ramsay Campbell called ‘The Inhabitant Of The Lake’, written when he was only 18 in fact, but Steve Harris has never (to my knowledge) confirmed or denied this, only going so far as to say that the idea sprang from his fear of drowning. The song also conjures up the image of the Dead Marshes in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, with the spirits therein calling for Frodo to come in and join them in death.

The song starts with a very atmospheric, mellow opening, with Dave Murray’s eerie guitar work conjuring up images which certainly bring to mind the Dead Marshes as mentioned above. This part of the song could have been used in the film adaptation without any problem! The guitar slowly builds up alongside Dickinson’s voice on the first few lines, before it rocks up, although not to the tempo or heaviness of something like ‘The Trooper’ or ‘Die With Your Boots On’. The chorus is very strong, and it continues the second side in a very strong manner. The guitar solo section mid-song is in three parts, with a short twin-lead section followed by Smith and then Murray.

At the beginning of the track is some speech recorded backwards. Done as a tongue-in-cheek response to the fanatics denouncing their music as Satanic, the message actually consists of a rather inebriated McBrain replicating comedian John Bird’s imitation of Ugandan leader Idi Amin, and the words he actually utters are ‘What ho said the t’ing with the three ‘bonce’, don’t meddle wid t’ings yo don’t understand…’, followed by a belch! Highly Satanic…

Note that although this was the first Maiden album not to be named after a song on the record, ‘Still Life’ does contain the title after a fashion, in the line ‘Nightmares … give me peace of mind’.

‘Quest For Fire’ (Harris)
If there is a whiff of filler at any point on the album, this is where it arrives, with this rather slight and inconsequential song based on the 1981 film of the same name (in turn based on a 1911 book by Belgian author J. H. Rosny – the pseudonym of Joseph Henri Honoré Boex). The film and book revolve around the quest of a group of primitive men to regain the source of the fire they believed lost, and takes as its theme that of personal growth and development. The song has none of these subtleties in its two scant verses, and opening with the hilariously absurd line ‘In a time when dinosaurs walked the earth’ does nothing for its credibility right off the bat. Of course, dinosaurs had died out millions of years before man arrived, and indeed neither the book nor the film contain any, so it is difficult to understand this bizarre inclusion. The line ‘to search for landscapes men would roam’ also seems odd, since there does not appear to be any sort of quest for any sort of new ‘landscapes’ involved.

Leaving all of that aside, what of the music, which of course is the primary feature of a song. Also inconsequential unfortunately, with a sort of chugging ‘Maiden-by-Numbers’ verse giving way to a rather banal ‘Drawn by quest for fire…’ chorus. It was better on stage but did not remain in the set for very long.

‘Sun And Steel’ (Dickinson, Smith)
Another relatively slight song, this is a better track than ‘Quest For Fire’ when taken for what it is – namely a simple and relatively unchallenging Maiden piece with a catchy chorus. The lyric, by Dickinson, again has lofty ideals, being inspired by the great Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi, who is said to have killed his first man at the age of thirteen, as referenced in the lyric. Late in life, he wrote the famous combat guide The Book Of Five Rings, which is divided into five sections, the books of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and The Void – the first four of which are alluded to in the lyric. The song describes him as striving for death either in combat or (as claimed by Harris) by ‘hara-kiri’ (ritual suicide). That being the case, he would appear to have been somewhat unsuccessful, as he died aged 61 in 1645, from what is believed to have been lung cancer.

Musically the track is reminiscent of ‘Quest For Fire’, with the propulsive verses leading into the hook-laden chorus which is good enough, if repeated far too often. By Dickinson’s standards, and those of the band themselves, it is fun, if unremarkable. It has never been played live.

‘To Tame A Land’ (Harris)
An epic to finish the album off, in the shape of this seven and a half minute Harris song. Lyrically, it is summarising the science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert, a favourite of Harris, though this of course would be somewhat lost on anyone unfamiliar with the book. Many people might be aware of the sandworms which feature in the Herbert book, and are referenced in the song, but most of the rest is aimed squarely at the aficionado. To put it in a very small nutshell, the book centres around the planet Arrakis, the only source of a sought-after spice, and the political trials and machinations to control it. The Fremen are the native inhabitants, while the ‘king’ described in the song is Paul Atreidis, the hero of the novel, who becomes the Kwizatz Haderach, a ‘super-being’ title, after gaining powers of clairvoyance across time and space.

World Piece tour – with a hideous Eddie! (Photo: Bryan Cline)

Musically, the song begins with a slow and mysterious sounding guitar and bass intro adapted from the classical guitar piece ‘Asturias’ by the Spanish composer Isaak Albenis – ‘Spanish Caravan’ by the Doors also notably adapts part of this piece ­– before the band enter and take us through the vocal section of the track, lasting around three minutes and pretty powerful with a quite catch vocal melody in parts. In some ways the real meat of the track begins at the four minute mark, from where the second half is taken up by a lengthy, fast-tempo instrumental section incorporating over a minute of duelling guitar solos, from Murray and then Smith. The ‘Asturias’ theme is referenced again, subtly, during this much faster part, especially during Murray’s solo. Gradually toward the end of the track things slow down again before the introductory section comes in again to gradually let us down for a gentle landing. A superb way to end the album, and a great example among many of how important Harris is with his bass lines really driving the song and giving it much of its character. He has said that he tended to write on bass, which goes some way to explaining how identifiable his style is.

The reason for the title of the song, rather than it being called ‘Dune’ as you may expect, is an unfortunate one. Superfan Harris wanted to name the song after the novel, and had even considered using a spoken word passage from the book as an introduction, so Frank Herbert was duly contacted, politely, to ask for permission. The reply from Herbert, via his agent, read as follows: ‘No. Because Frank Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden’. I think we can all say ‘ouch’ at this point! Now, it certainly would have been entirely understandable at that point if Harris had decided that the good Mr Herbert could stick his free global publicity where the sandworms don’t burrow, and instead written a different set of lyrics. To his credit, however, and the delight of the many metal fans who loved the book, he kept it as it was and dutifully altered the title. The slight was not forgotten, however, with Dickinson sometimes turning his ire on Herbert when introducing the song in concert, and especially so on one extremely outspoken occasion in Sweden in June 1983, describing the writer with a derogatory word which I will elect not to quote!

Related Songs.

‘I’ve Got The Fire’ (Montrose)
The B-side to ‘Flight Of Icarus’, this is a studio recording of a Montrose song (from their 1974 album Paper Money) which had previously seen Maiden action as a live recording on the 12” version of the ‘Sanctuary’ single. This effort is succinct and to the point (under three minutes) and is certainly tighter and more punchy than that previous version, but it’s a rather simplistic song for Maiden to cover at this point in their career, and it doesn’t really suit Bruce’s voice. Commenting on the track in the booklet accompanying the album Best Of The B-Sides, Rod Smallwood clearly gets confused about the two versions, describing this one as a live version with Di’Anno.

‘Cross Eyed Mary’ (Anderson)
On the reverse of ‘The Trooper’, another cover version, this time from the even more unlikely source of Jethro Tull. Unlikely, that is, until you discover that both Harris and Dickinson were massive fans of the band. Drawn from the album Aqualung, and referencing that album’s title character in the lyric, this sordid and cynical take of a schoolgirl prostitute is interpreted extremely well, with the use of guitar instead of flute in the intro lending an inspired twist. Overall it is just prevented from matching the original because Dickinson’s voice, great as it is, cannot come near to the mocking and sardonic sneer of Ian Anderson’s vocal. Very entertaining though, and an interesting choice for a B-side, for sure.

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