BEST & WORST: The 20 Best Iron Maiden Songs

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You wanted the best, you got it! Do you agree with our TOP 20 of the best ever Iron Maiden songs?

We worked up our list of the 10 worst Iron Maiden songs last week, and probably agitated some of you with our choices. Shall we see if we get along better this week? Torgrim and Christer agreed on 21 songs for nomination, and then voted separately. Here’s Maiden Revelations’ list of the best 20 Maiden songs:

Runner up) CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (1982)
A Beast of an album, a number of great children, and barely missing out on the top 20 of Maiden tunes is no defeat. Most other songs in the history of music would cut off a chorus to get there. It doesn’t say so in the official credits, but Bruce co-wrote this song with Steve. They never looked back, did they?

20) SIGN OF THE CROSS (1995)
From the darkness of the Maiden era most controversial, that in which Blaze replaced Bruce. Someone had to keep writing songs in the mid-1990s, and Steve delivered a milestone that still stands proud. In time Bruce returned to do his own version of it, but what could he have done if Blaze hadn’t been there to help craft the original?

19) COMING HOME (2010)
Maiden are currently about to release their fifth album of new material since reuniting with Bruce and Adrian. How did they stay together for the long haul? Maybe by combining their art with the piloting of airplanes, the craft of songwriting, and the unconditional love for their fans. When Bruce, Adrian and Steve get together to shape a message, with such a revealing title, it sounds like this:

18/17 tied) STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND (1986)
How would Maiden have made it through the 1980s without Adrian? Not that the 80s should have worried Maiden, but Adrian pushed the boundaries and set the bar higher, with songs and solos like this. He also wrote Wasted Years for the same record. Like it was easy!

18/17 tied) THE WICKER MAN (2000)
Who missed Adrian? Who missed Bruce? What a way to signal a comeback! After a decade of Maiden music that even the most loyal fans would have to admit was controversial, Adrian returned for 2000 with an opening riff that bleeds effortlessly into a stadium-sized Maiden number, co-written with Bruce and Steve, and complete with a proper metal production by Kevin Shirley. There was much rejoicing!

16) REMEMBER TOMORROW (1980)
And let it never be forgotten, Bruce would have had no place to start unless Paul had been there before him. The lyrics Paul wrote for this song are still among the most haunting Maiden ever recorded, the music by Steve is ambitious way beyond their scene at the time, and that was their first album! This might be the ultimate version, wherein Bruce delivers a faultless interpretation of Paul’s original:

15) THE LONGEST DAY (2006)
The longest jump, in the timeline! Bruce has come and gone and come again. A Matter Of Life And Death is an intense experience, a serious album, all of which the band performed live. They meant it, and we mean it when we put this track on the list. Here’s a representative of Maiden’s most cohesive post-2000 album, co-written by the unbeatable team of Adrian, Bruce and Steve.

14) THE PRISONER (1982)
No one can take anything away from the late great Clive, whose awesome drumming is all over this track, but even Bruce knew the drums well enough to give Adrian the beat to start the riff that Steve turned into… and so on. Here’s a track that was always great, but which was so rarely heard until Maiden brought it back for their 2012-14 tour.

13) SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON (1988)
Steve keeps cropping up here, having had more than a finger in the pie with most of what Maiden do. Again he writes the song, and what a song, and what a title track. And what a way to end Maiden’s glorious 1980s.

12) THE TROOPER (1983)
Oh, it sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Sure, we could all write a riff like the opening to The Trooper. Sure, we could all jam that song full of melodies that a third of the planet’s population would recognize. Well, most of us didn’t. Steve did:

11/10 tied) ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1986)
In the 1980s, Steve specialised in writing EPIC metal songs that aspiring writers are still trying to copy or reinvent. For each album, we could look forward to another EPIC that would forever define Iron Maiden. This one was never played live, believe it or not, and it remains all the more mythical because of it…

11/10 tied) TO TAME A LAND (1983)
…while this one is only slightly less so, having been performed on stage in 1983. Steve’s first overtly Eastern-sounding track, excepting one riff in the Genghis Khan instrumental, To Tame A Land showed the way and many EPIC songs would follow, way into the 2000s.

09) ACES HIGH (1984)
But Steve could also write instant metal, could he not? This track came to be the ultimate Maiden show opener, in no small part thanks to its appearance on the Live After Death album and video. It was resurrected for three separate tours in the reunion era, culminating in this career-high performance from 2014:

08) PASCHENDALE (2003)
Dance Of Death is not the greatest album Maiden has recorded, but some of their greatest songs can be found there, chief of which is this monumental (yes, EPIC) track by Adrian. It features spine-chilling lyrics from Steve about the ”kindermord” that happened in the World War I trenches, and a bravura orchestral production by the man who managed to lift Maiden’s sound into the 2000s, Kevin Shirley.

07/06 tied) POWERSLAVE (1984)
Bruce could not be out-maneuvered in the realm of EPICS. His impressive songwriting for the band he joined just a couple of years earlier reached a climax with the title track to what many consider the ultimate Maiden album – Powerslave. Egypt, pyramids, pharaos, the afterlife. Mythical! Magical!

07/06 tied) RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER (1984)
Combine Maiden with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and you get the EPIC to end all EPICS. Bound together by a milestone production courtesy of the one and only Martin Birch, this Steve composition is what all other EPICS, Maiden’s or otherwise, will always be measured against. The King of EPICS.

05) WHERE EAGLES DARE (1983)
Steve seems to have thought that new drummer Nicko should have a proper introduction. Cue this track! A different kind of opening song for an album, a different kind of solo section from any other Maiden song, letting Dave go with the flow as he loves to do. Here’s a modern day performance with the band at peak form:

04) PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1980)
Steve himself has singled out this song, his own work, as the point where he felt he could see (or hear) where Maiden would be heading. Little wonder! Phantom sums up Maiden through the ages, in a way that very few bands can claim about a track on their debut album.

03) REVELATIONS (1983)
As if to prove that the uncredited work he did on his first album with the band was just a starting point, Bruce chipped in with some stellar songwriting on Piece Of Mind, the best of which is this inimitable blend of metal and contemplation. Maiden’s three-guitar attack, adding Janick to the classic line-up, revels in such stuff:

02) INFINITE DREAMS (1988)
Seventh Son absolutely rules! This Steve composition is the second representative on the list. And what a representative! Simply one of the very best songs Maiden ever recorded, which says a bit. All the colors of the Maiden rainbow are present, all the tension, all the beauty. Put your headphones on and listen to the guitar work on this track…

01) HALLOWED BE THY NAME (1982)
…but there is no debate. Even after having tired of endless versions of this track over the course of three decades, there is no question that Hallowed is the ultimate Maiden song. The drama, the melody, the fury, the twin guitars, the unreal vocal performance. No matter what this band will ever do, Steve’s gallows pole lament will always stand tall as their crowning metal achievement:

So, we’ve had our say. Now you have yours in the comments! We’ll just leave you with a few other tracks that weren’t nominated, but which we admit to love…

Christer’s guilty pleasures: Can I Play With Madness (1988), Tailgunner (1990) and Brave New World (2000) could have made the list any day of the week!

Torgrim’s guilty pleasures: Caught Somewhere In Time (1986), The Clansman (1998) and Dance Of Death (2003) don’t get enough love!

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38 thoughts on “BEST & WORST: The 20 Best Iron Maiden Songs

  1. Good List !
    Mine would have to be :
    20: The Pilgrim
    19: Fear Of The Dark
    18: The Clansman
    17: The Sign Of The Cross
    16: The Rime Of the Ancient Mariner
    15: Caught Somewhere In Time
    14: Killers
    13: The Ghost Of The Navigator
    12: Blood Brothers
    11: The Trooper
    10: Phantom Of The Opera
    09: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
    08: Infinite Dreams
    07: Wasted Years
    06: The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
    05: Dance Of Death
    04: For the Greater Good of God
    03: Brave New World
    02: Paschendale
    01: Hallowed Be Thy Name

  2. My top 20 :-

    20. Another Life/Purgatory
    19. Ghost of the Navigator
    18. Lord of the Flies
    17. Remember Tomorrow
    16. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate
    15. Sea of Madness
    14. Rainmaker
    13. The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner
    12. Stranger in a Strange Land
    11. The Longest Day
    10. The Aftermath
    09. Paschendale
    08. The Phantom of the Opera
    07. Revelations
    06. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
    05. Powerslave
    04. The Clansman
    03. Be Quick or be Dead
    02. Caught Somewhere in Time
    01. The Evil that Men Do

  3. Great list! My own would probably have to be (tentatively, since narrowing a list of the best Maiden songs down to 20 still leaves out many, many amazing songs):

    20. Tailgunner
    19. Out of the Silent Planet
    18. The Prisoner
    17. From Here to Eternity
    16. Killers
    15. The Wicker Man
    14. Murders in the Rue Morgue
    13. Dance of Death
    12. Blood Brothers
    11. Heaven Can Wait
    10. Remember Tomorrow
    9. Powerslave
    8. Invaders
    7. The Number of the Beast
    6. Where Eagles Dare
    5. Fear of the Dark
    4. Flight of Icarus
    3. The Evil that Men Do
    2. Aces High
    1. The Trooper

    • Among those that just missed the cut (and which, on any given day, might find their way into the Top 20 the when I happen to listen to them) are Purgatory, The Nomad, No More Lies, Prowler, Hallowed Be They Name, Can I Play With Madness, and Children of the Damned.

    • Addendum: it occurs to me that I, somehow, forgot 2 Minutes to Midnight, which is a baffling, egregious oversight. Especially since it slides in somewhere around #5. But narrowing down a list of the best Maiden songs to just 20 is almost impossible anyway.

      • Calling somebody else’s choice impossible to understand (baffling) as well as conspicuously bad and offensive (egregious) is over the top, I think. Especially when you seem to agree that narrowing it down is almost impossible anyway.

  4. That list is uhmm uhmm, there’s too much reunion songs on it.

    Anyway, here’s mine (no particular order) :

    20. Judas Be My Guide
    19. Chains of Misery
    18. Hooks in You
    17. Justice of the Peace
    16. The Evil That Men Do
    15. Moonchild
    14. Caught Somewhere in Time
    13. Wasted Years
    12. Heaven Can Wait
    11. Flash of the Blade
    10. Powerslave
    9. Revelations
    8. Flight of Icarus
    7. Die With Your Boots On
    6. 22 Acacia Avenue
    5. Aces High
    4. 2 Minutes to 12
    3. The Duellists
    2. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    1. Back in the Village

    • And you have NO reunion songs but FOUR from the 1990s? In any case, you also leave about 3/4 of the list to the 1980s, like us. 😉

  5. hmm? here comes my list..

    20. Mother of mercy
    19. Hallowed be thy name
    18. Be quick or be dead.
    17. Sun and steel
    16. Quest for fire
    15. Run silent run deep
    14. Killers
    13. Run to the hills
    12. Fear of the dark
    11. Alexander the great
    10. Bring your daughter
    9. Aces high
    8. No prayer for the dying
    7. Moonchild
    6. The rime of the ancient mariner
    5. Blood brothers
    4. Wasting love
    3. The prophecy
    2. Judas be my guide
    1. Fates warning

  6. First of all, I have to say that I’m a brazilian fan. So, sorry about my English. After almost a year reading the posts of this excellent blog, I couldn’t lose the opportunity to do my list (what a hard work!):

    20. The Talisman
    19. Murders In The Rue Morgue
    18. Deja Vu
    17. Paschendale
    16. Sign Of The Cross
    15. Ghost Of The Navigator
    14. Prodigal Son
    13. Caught Somewhere In Time
    12. To Tame A Land
    11. The Duellists
    10. Only The Good Die Young
    09. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
    08. The Trooper
    07. Aces High
    06. Children Of The Damned
    05. Phantom Of The Opera
    04. Poweslave
    03. Infinite Dreams
    02. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
    01. Hallowed Be Thy Name

    Songs that could be into the list if it was made a month ago or in the next couple of weeks: Remember Tomorrow, Purgatory, The Number Of The Beast, Revelations, Alexander The Great, Fates Warning, Brave New World, Rainmaker, These Colours Don’t Run and For The Greater Good Of God.

    • The Talisman certainly gets our vote as one of the most incredible Bruce performances in history! Coming Home made the list in part because of its message and ability to unite fans across the globe. Blood Brothers could be said to do the same.

  7. Very difficult task!

    My list:

    20. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
    19. Killers
    18. Fear of the Dark
    17. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
    16. Brave New World
    15. Caught Somewhere in Time
    14. Dance of Death
    13. Hallowed Be Thy Name
    12. The Wicker Man
    11. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
    10. Stranger in a Strange Land
    9. Aces High
    8. Sigh of the Cross
    7. Revelations
    6. Powerslave
    5. Moonchild
    4. Alexander the Great
    3. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    2. Phantom of the Opera
    1. Infinite Dreams

  8. Here is my top 20:

    20. Fear of the Dark
    19. Coming Home
    18. Aces High
    17. The Wicker Man
    16. Children of the Damned
    15. Wasted Years
    14. The Prisoner
    13. Seventh Son of Seventh Son
    12. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    11. Moonchild
    10. The Longest Day
    9. Paschendale
    8. 2 Minutes to Midnight
    7. Phantom of the Opera
    6. The Evil that Men Do
    5. Run to the Hills
    4. The Trooper
    3. Powerslave
    2. Revelations
    1. Hallowed be Thy Name

    That was difficult! Strong contenders for the top 20:

    Brighter than a Thousand Suns
    The Talisman
    Remember Tomorrow
    Where Eagles Dare
    Flight of Icarus
    The Number of the Beast
    Can I Play With Madness
    Infinite Dreams
    Brave New World
    Stranger in a Strange Land

    Amazing band with too many great songs!!! 😆

  9. This is my top 20 list (in particular way). 14 out of 20 songs are from the 80’s era. Seems to me this is Maidens most amazing era.

    20. The Prisoner
    19. Invaders
    18. Mother Russia
    17. The Legacy
    16. Revelations
    15. Phantom Of The Opera
    14. Powerslave
    13. Killers
    12. Blood Brothers
    11. The Clansman
    10. Where Eagles Dare
    09. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
    08. Hallowed Be Thy Name
    07. Stranger In A Strange Land
    06. The Prophecy
    05. Run To The Hills
    04. Alexander The Great
    03. Paschendale
    02. The Talisman
    01. Infinite Dreams

  10. 20: Dance of Death
    19: The clansman
    18: Sign of the cross
    17:Fear of the Dark
    16:The evil that men do
    15:Reveletions
    14: Where Eagles Dare
    13: 22 acacia avenue
    12: Children of the damned
    11: Flight of Icarus
    10: Aces High
    9: Alexander the great
    8: Caught Somewhere in time
    7: Stranger in a Strange land
    6: Infinite dreams
    5: Wasted years
    4: The Rime of the ancient mariner
    3: The Trooper
    2: Phantom of the opera
    1: Halloweed be thy Name

  11. The evil that men do is one of the best song they ever did it has the greatest guitar opening ever. I also love fortunes of war, i’d put that in top 5. Also mother russia would be there somewhere as would fates warning and of course blood brothers should be in a top 20 never liked To tame a land much, and where is Strange world one of the best rock ballads of all time.

    • Wasted Years is also one of the best rock songs of all time, but it didn’t make the list. 😉

  12. Hey guys I just met your website today while I was looking for a HD wallpaper for my ps4 and I am enjoying it.. Sorry for my English.. I am from Ecuador.. And here is my very hard worked top 20.
    20. Deja vu
    19. Journeyman
    18. 2 minutes to midnight
    17. Fear of the dark
    16. Infinite dreams
    15. Coming home
    14. The number of the beast
    13. Brighter than a thousand suns
    12. Afraid to shoot strangers
    11. Remember tomorrow
    10. When the wild wind blows
    9. Flight of Icarus
    8. Lord of the flies
    7. The Trooper
    6. Can I play with madness
    5. Ghost of the Navigator
    4. Hallowed be thy name
    3. Aces High
    2. Wasted years
    1. The evil that men do

    • Thanks for visiting, Jorge! Stick around, it’s going to be an exciting year for Maiden fans. 🙂

  13. I’m another guy who recently stumbled on this site and I’m really digging it. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve only been a casual Maiden fan since Fear of the Dark… as I just sorta figured the band was cooked once Bruce left. I eventually picked up used copies of the Blaze era CDs… I’m sure they are still tucked away in a box somewhere, but it’s been at least 15 years since I revisited them… Since Bruce came back, I’ve kept up on the releases, seen them live when they hit Detroit, but can’t say I listen to the newer albums nearly as much as I listened to their classic stuff during my youth… So my list will be heavy on the earlier stuff, take it for what it’s worth.

    20 – Mother Russia
    19 – Genghis Khan
    18 – Back in the Village
    17 – Be Quick or Be Dead
    16 – Iron Maiden
    15 – Die With Your Boots On
    14 – 2 Minutes to Midnight
    13 – Flash of the Blade
    12 – Wicker Man
    11 – Caught Somewhere in Time
    10 – Paschendale
    09 – Number of the Beast
    08 – Run to the Hills
    07 – Purgatory
    06 – Remember Tomorrow
    05 – Infinite Dreams
    04 – Revelations
    03 – Aces High
    02 – Hallowed Be Thy Name
    01 – To Tame a Land

      • I have received the occasional odd look from Maiden fans when I profess my love for “To Tame a Land”…. and while the lyrics are complete sci-fi goof…. damn that music is so good. I’d have to take my time and revisit the whole library, but I can’t imagine a better Harris epic from a musical perspective.

  14. mine
    1.hallowed be thy name
    2.Empire of clouds
    3.2 minutes to midnight
    4.wrathchild
    5.Phantom of opera
    6.Dance of death
    7.Powerslave
    8.Infinite Dreams
    9.seventh son of seventh son
    10.Trooper
    11.Wasted years
    12.Fear of dark
    13.Thin line between love and hate
    14.Legacy
    15.When wild wind blows
    16.Paschendale
    17.Rime of Ancient mariner
    18.Aces high
    19.Sign of cross
    20.Clansman

  15. My Top 20. I think I’m the first to put something on here from the new album? Which I think is SICK by the way. UP THE IRONS!!!!

    Wasted years
    Evil that men do
    Caught Somewhere In Time
    Can I play with madness
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
    Heaven Can Wait
    Number Of The Beast
    Aces High
    Iron Maiden
    Moonchild
    The Trooper
    Powerslave
    If Eternity Should Fail
    Fear Of The Dark
    Infinite Dreams
    Two Minutes To Midnight
    Sea Of Madness
    Revelations
    Speed Of Light

  16. 1. No prayer for the dying
    2.Rainmaker
    3.Seventh son…
    4.Alexander the great
    5.Wasted years
    6.Hallowed be ..
    7.To tame a land
    8.Fear of the dark
    9.Dream of mirrors
    10.Dance of death
    11.The educated fool
    12.Sun and steel
    13.Quest for fire
    14.Infinite Dreams
    15.Can i play with madness
    16.Tears of a clown
    17.Afraid to shoot strangers
    18.The nomad
    19.Montsegur
    20.Empire of the clouds

  17. My Top 23 list. A bit different, I know. But I prefer all those old smashers (as I´m from germany, my english is not the best, please excuse) and the old and newer earworms with catchy melodies, riffs and solos. In short: everything with strong emotions and character. Enjoy or shake your head in disbelief 😉

    23. Another life
    22. Strange world
    21. Drifter
    20. Be quick or be dead
    19. Fear of the dark
    18. Aces high
    17. Empire of the clouds
    16. Murders in the rue morgue
    15. Purgatory
    14. Sanctuary
    13. Women in uniform (yes, I know it´s a cover, but I don´t care…so much energy in this one)
    12. Run to the hills
    11. Number of the beast
    10. No more lies
    9. Remember tomorrow
    8. Powerslave
    7. Flash of the blade
    6. Children of the damned
    5. Rainmaker
    4. Wasted years
    3. Paschendale
    2. Prisoner
    1. Revelations

    • … somehow I totally forgot Hallowed be thy name. It´s on 3. before Paschendale. So it´s a Top 24 list 🙂

  18. I think we all agree that Hallowed Be Thy Name is Maiden’s best song and that Infinite Dreams is a true masterpiece.

  19. 25. Stranger in a Strange Land
    24. Speed of Light
    23. The Evil That Men Do
    22. Revelations
    21. The Book of Souls
    20. Wrathchild
    19. The Wicker Man
    18. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
    17. Ghost of the Navigator
    16. The Red and the Black
    15. Powerslave
    14. Fear of the Dark
    13. If Eternity Should Fail
    12. Flight of Icarus
    11. Blood Brothers
    10. 2 Minutes to Midnight
    9. Wasted Years
    8. Where Eagles Dare
    7. Children of the Damned
    6. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    5. Run to the Hills
    4. Paschendale
    3. The Number of the Beast
    2. The Trooper
    1. Hallowed be Thy Name

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