Music Video of the Day: Flight of Icarus by Iron Maiden (1983, directed by Jim Yukich)


We all know the story of Icarus.  Imprisoned on the island of Crete with his father Daedalus, Icarus fashioned artificial wings so he could fly to freedom.  His father warned him not to fly too close to the sun but the cocky Icarus ignored his father.  The sun melted his wings and Icarus plummeted to his death.  Whenever someone allows their hubris and cockiness to defeat them or they get too ambitious for their own good, we compare them to Icarus.

Iron Maiden wrote a song about the Flight of Icarus, reimaging the story as being about a teenager rebelling against his father.  That’s not surprising as every Greek myth inspired at least one heavy metal song.  Flight of Icarus was Iron Maiden’s first single to be released in the United States.  (At the time, Iron Maiden was better known in the UK than in the US.)  It’s also one of their few singles to receive substantial radio airplay at the time that it was released.

The video was shot at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas.  The Grim Reaper was played by drummer Nicko McBrain.  As for director Jim Yukich, he was one another one of those music video directors who everyone seemed to work with in the 80s and 90s.  He did videos with everyone from Iron Maiden to Genesis to Huey Lewis to Debbie Gibson and David Hasselhoff.  That’s range!

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: The Prisoner by Iron Maiden (1982, directed by ????)


Inspired by the cult 60s television show that was created by and starred Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner is one of Iron Maiden’s best songs.  This music video is taken from a 1982 performance at the Hammersmith Odeon.  One thing I like about this performance is that, even in the live show, the song still opened with a recording of McGoohan being interrogated in The Prisoner.

According to the band, getting McGoohan’s permission to use the dialogue from the show was the most intimidating part of recording The Prisoner.  The band’s manager, Rod Smallwood, was the one who called McGoohan.  McGoohan has apparently never heard of Iron Maiden but when Smallwood told them that they were a “rock band,” McGoohan said, “Do it!” and then promptly hung up on him.

Did I pick this song for music video of the day because I’m currently going stir crazy as a result of being locked down for three weeks?  No comment.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Lord of the Flies by Iron Maiden (1995, directed by ????)


Lord of the Flies is based on William Golding’s famous book about a group of school children who get stranded on a deserted island and turn into savages.  The lyrics are a literal interpretation of the book’s plot:

I don’t care for this world anymore
I just want to live my own fantasy
Fate has brought us to these shores
What was meant to be is now happening

I’ve found that I like this living in danger
Living on edge it makes feel as one
Who cares now what’s right or wrong,
it’s reality
Killing so we survive
Wherever we may roam
Wherever we may hide
We’ve got to get away

I don’t want existence to end
We must prepare ourselves for the elements
I just want to feel like we’re strong
We don’t need a code of morality

I like all the mixed emotion and anger
It brings out the animal the power you can feel
And feeling so high on this much adrenalin
Excited but scary to believe what we’ve become

Saints and sinners
Something within us
We are lord of flies

Saints and sinners
Something willing us
To be lord of the flies

The video was shot while Iron Maiden was touring the Holy Land and it’s a typical no frills Iron Maiden production.  One thing that I’ve respected about bands like Iron Maiden is that the majority of their music videos are just clips of the band performing.  They don’t need to do anything fancy to hold your attention.  They just get out there on stage and play the Hell out of every song.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Be Quick or Be Dead by Iron Maiden (1992, directed by ????)


Financial scandals are nothing new.

Long before the financial crisis of 2007 and the Great Recession that followed, 1992 saw the collapse of several economic institutions.  That was the year that the European Stock Market crashed and it was revealed that the powerful Bank of Credit and Commerce International was a massive money laundering scheme.  Following the mysterious death of British tycoon Robert Maxwell, it was discovered that he had been propping his companies up by stealing from other people’s pensions.  In the United States, the House banking scandal revealed that hundreds of Congresspeople were being allowed to bounce checks without being penalized by the House bank.

Be Quick or Be Dead, the first single to be released off of Iron Maiden’s Fear of the Dark, was inspired by these scandals.  If there was ever any doubt, the video, which specifically calls out both BCCI and the Federal Reserve, left no doubt that the members of Iron Maiden were as pissed off as everyone else in the world.

Be Quick or Be Dead peaked at number 2 on the UK charts.  It may be best remembered for the cover of its single, which featured Ed getting vengeance on a suit-wearing banker who bore a resemblance to Robert Maxwell.

Music Video of the Day: The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden (1982, directed by David Mallet)


Today’s music video of the day is for the song that convinced an entire generation of parents that heavy metal was Satan’s music.  Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris wrote The Number of the Beast after watching the second Omen film and a careful listen to the lyrics will reveal that the song is not meant to be taken seriously.  Of course, religious groups across America took it very seriously and spent 1982 protesting Iron Maiden.

It all seems a little silly now.

The video was also controversial, even though it was really just clips of old horror movies mixed with footage of Iron Maiden performing.  With Lisa Marie’s help, I think I have correctly identified the source of almost every clip featured in the video:

0:10 — The video starts with a scene from 1944’s The Return of the Vampire.  Contrary to popular belief, that is not Vincent Price providing the voice over.  Originally, the band wanted Price but, when they discovered they couldn’t afford him, they hired an actor named Barry Clayton instead.

0:30 — The Goatman who first appears here and then reappears throughout the video is taken from 1968’s The Devil Rides Out.

0:36 — This clip is from 1922’s Nosferatu.

0:42 — This is the star of 1957’s I Was A Teenage Frankenstein.

0:50 — The fighting dinosaurs are from 1940’s One Million Years B.C.

1:12 — This is from 1958’s The Screaming Skull.

1:19 — The Godzilla footage is taken from 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla.

2:15 — I’m not totally sure but I think this is from 1946’s The Crimson Ghost.

2:19 — The exploding Goatman is, again, from The Devil Rides Out.

2:30 — This is from 1958’s How To Make A Monster, which was a sequel to I Was A Teenage Frankenstein.

2:38 — This is either another clip from How To Make A Monster or a clip from 1957’s I Was A Teenage Werewolf.

2:41 — This scene is from The Crimson Ghost.

3:21 — The scarred giant is from 1958’s War of the Colossal Beast.

3:24 — I like this way this part of the video was edited to make it appear as if Godzilla was reacting to the Colossal Beast.

3:51 — The big spider is from 1959’s The Angry Red Planet.

4:00 — This is another clip from The Crimson Ghost.

4:13 — Of course, everyone knows Eddie.

4:32 — I Was a Teenage Werewolf, again.

Can you believe people took this seriously?

Music Video of the Day: The Number Of The Beast by Iron Maiden (1982, dir. David Mallet)


Times sure have changed. The appearance of Eddie at the end as Frankenstein was edited out of this video originally because it was scaring viewers. This was 1982. I can understand something like One by Metallica. Being trapped in your own body, screaming in your mind with the only possibilities for escape being the mortality of your own body or someone who assists your suicide. That’s scary. Frankenstein? Just because Frankenstein’s head is that of Eddie? Really?

Nothing else in the video bothered people?

The Werewolf?

Goathead?

Max Schreck?

I Was A Teenage Frankenstein?

Godzilla?

The movie Haxan?

The Crimson Ghost?

A reference to Dr. Mabuse?

War Of The Colossal Beast?

Giant bat?

The Devil?

etc.

Nope! Remove Frankenstein. Everything else is fine. At least that’s what this site that is cited by Wikipedia says.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Run To The Hills by Iron Maiden (1982, dir. David Mallet)


Happy Columbus Day! Or if I was still living in Berkeley, CA; then the parking meters would be telling me this was Indigenous People’s Day. I couldn’t think of a better time to do my first Iron Maiden music video. Sadly, there isn’t much to say.

The song tells us the story of Europeans coming to America and brutally taking the land from the Native Americans. They tell the story from two different points of view. The first is from the Native Americans. The second one is from the European point of view. The second one takes up the majority of the song. This makes sense since it mirrors how the story of the New World is often dominated by the European side of things. So much so that we got plenty of Westerns like the one they intercut with the band performing the song on a stage.

There is one issue with writing about this music video. There are two different versions of this listed on mvdbase. There is the version above, and one from 1985 that was directed by Jim Yukich. To make matters even more confusing is that there is a version called the Camp Chaos version.

That version is even marked as unlisted on YouTube. I stumbled upon it because it is the version that IMVDb has embedded into their entry for this music video.

All things considered, I’d say that the first and second ones are the same one directed by David Mallet. The only difference being that they took out the old movie and replaced it with some animation instead. You can still see people in the comments on this music video that think the song is racist, so it’s no surprise that they made a different version of the same video. Also, people called the band Satanic back then because of the name of the title track for the album this song is on. In addition, people thought that this cover…

iron_maiden_-_run_to_the_hills

of a Native American in Hell fighting a demon was equating Europeans with devils, and got angry about it. You think? The song isn’t exactly subtle, and neither is the music video.

David Mallet appears to have worked on around 130 music videos in his career

I couldn’t find a music video that they did, so here is just the song We Live from the Native American band XIT.

27 Days of Old School: #14 “The Trooper” (by Iron Maiden)


iron maiden the trooper

“The Bugle sounds and the charge begins”

I didn’t hear #14 the year it came out in 1983. I wasn’t too much into heavy metal at that age (still just 10). Now, once I got into high school and expanded my circle of friends (still not much but did include a couple who were into metal) I was finally introduced to heavy metal.

One of the first songs I really got into was Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” from their Piece of Mind album. Even from the first time hearing the song I had an idea what the song about. I was already a huge hoarder of all things military history in my teen years and I knew the song was about the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.

What I didn’t realize at that time was that the song itself was using a famous poem about said charge. So, in addition to getting me into heavy metal (which waxed and waned in the years since until meeting necromoonyeti online), I ended up learning about Tennyson and his poem about that fateful charge of British Light Cavalry against a well-defended and heavily-armed Russian artillery battery.

Also, seeing the cover for “The Trooper” with Eddie in full light cavalry regalia waving a cavalry saber and a bloodied, tattered Union Jack just hit me right in my wheelhouse.

Ten Years of Music: Introduction


On May 16th, 2003, I entered an email address and password into a little known site called Audioscrobbler and clicked join. Having always derived an enormous kick from statistics, the novelty of being able to track everything I listen to seemed like the best idea on the entire internet. Ten years and approximately 180,000 songs later, that opinion hasn’t much changed. Most of you are probably familiar with what is now Last.fm, but I doubt as many have diligently kept up with it over the years. From my car cd player to everything I listen to at home, I’m willing to wager that a good 90% of the music I’ve enjoyed over the past decade has been accurately logged. This creates some pretty interesting possibilities. I’ll never know what I listened to most as a kid. Wishful thinking tells me Pearl Jam, Tool, Nirvana, and the Smashing Pumpkins would have topped that list. (Honesty admits with some embarrassment that Korn ranked just as high.) But I do know what I have listened to the most as an adult. It’s not biased speculation; it’s a fact.

Most of my entries here on Shattered Lens have dealt with either reviews of new albums or ramblings and investigations isolated to the fairly particular subgenres of folk, metal, and video game music that excite me most. While my last.fm charts reflect this, they are substantially more diverse. What I would like to do over the following two months is introduce some of you to a range of stellar bands and songs by allowing the numbers to speak for themselves. I intend to count down the top 50 bands I have listened to in the past decade and feature my most played track from each. I’ll start with the highest five bands that didn’t quite make the cut:

55. The Microphones (551 plays)
Top track (60 plays): The Moon, from The Glow, Pt. 2 (2001)

54. Amorphis (561 plays)
Top track (45 plays): Divinity, from Tuonela (1999)

53. In Flames (562 plays)
Top track (39 plays): Embody the Invisible, from Colony (1999)

52. Converge (585 plays)
Top track (87 plays): Concubine, from Jane Doe (2001)

51. Iron Maiden (600 plays)
Top track (52 plays): The Trooper, from Piece of Mind (1983)

VGM Entry 30: Mega Man 2


VGM Entry 30: Mega Man 2
(Thanks to Tish at FFShrine for the banner)

I’ve never actually played a main series Mega Man game in my life. I know, it’s embarrassing. We just somehow never crossed paths. I played Mega Man X and Mega Man X2 when they came out, but not the classics. Ah well. I suppose Mega Man 2 (Capcom, 1988) was most people’s first encounter with the series, but it picks up exactly where the first installment left off, both in plot and in music.

The introduction is pretty epic really, for all its simplicity. You start out hearing the end credits music to the original Mega Man while gazing out over a futuristic 8-bit cityscape. As you learn that Dr. Willy has returned with new robots, the pace quickens, the camera begins to zoom up, and bam, there’s Mega Man standing in the breeze with a hero’s anthem pounding out behind him. It’s the ultimate super hero introduction, better than any of that glossy Hollywood stuff you see today. And from this point forward, the music never really stops kicking ass.

If I had to fight a guy with a giant blade saw on his head I’d be sweating it. The music to Metalman is packed with a real sense of danger that I don’t think any previous game–and few since–have so effectively captured. The effect is huge, and that might be the best way to describe the rest of the music in this game too. With nothing but two main tracks and drums and bass, Takashi Tateishi manages to craft music that cements you to your chair and locks you into the action like never before.

And he does it so consistently. He also does so without ever letting on that he did not actually composed the first Mega Man game. The style is completely in keeping with Manami Matsumae’s work in the original, acknowledging every good thing she had going and improving upon it rather than making an independent statement. The two did work together somewhat, I would imagine. Manami Matsumae is not completely absent in this game. She composed the introduction, which quite effectively set the stage for everything to follow, as well as the music for Airman. (She wrote the stage start tune too, though this is the same as in the first game.)

The clock isn’t always ticking, but when Tateishi isn’t chugging out Iron Maiden bass lines he’s still presenting a heroic vibe. The music to Crashman makes you feel like you’re winning, but that’s just another part of the action. Its bluesy rock grooves keep on moving and carry the player along.

It would be impossible to showcase every good song in this game short of literally posting every song in the game, so though it may seem a crime to leave out Flashman or Heatman, I must be moving on.

Because like any good rock star, Tateishi saved his best works for the end of the album. Or close enough. The first Dr. Wily level’s music is so epic it makes all of the previous bosses look like wimps. Total Iron Maiden worship? Perhaps, and so what if it is?

Takashi Tateishi stated in an interview conducted by Chris Greening that he “aimed to create melodies that people could hum along with, or play in their bands”. I wonder if he had any idea just how successful he was. The Mega Man series in general, but most especially Mega Man 2, has been the subject of countless covers and live renditions over the ages. With a real explosion of interest in vgm over the past couple years, some exceptionally successful efforts are coming to the surface.

I’ll leave you with a live speed run of Mega Man 2 performed by Bit Brigade at MAGFest X in January 2012. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the most awesome thing in the history of mankind. Sorry vikings and skydiving. You lose.