The 12 best Iron Maiden songs to play, by The Iron Maidens (2023)

By Chris Chantler


Drummer Nikki McBurrain picks 12 Iron Maiden classics

The 12 best Iron Maiden songs to play, by The Iron Maidens (1)

“It’s so difficult to pick 10 Iron Maiden songs, which is why a had to pick 12!” explains The Iron Maidens drummer Linda McDonald – aka Nikki McBurrain – whose passion and enthusiasm for the band radiates crystal clear down the transatlantic phone line. “I could have gone on and on, but I guess we have to cut it down!”

In truth, of course, they’re all favourites. When TeamRock makes a passing reference to 1992 deep cut Judas Be My Guide, she says: “That almost made the list, but we haven’t played it in so long! That is such a great song. It’s got a great guitar solo. It’s very melodic and I love it!“

These, though, are the best of the best of the Beast, the ones she’s most looking forward to playing in London on April 14 – The Iron Maidens’ first ever UK show…

THE TROOPER (Piece Of Mind, 1983)
Linda: ”That one is a standard. Even if there’s a language barrier, where English isn’t the first language, everybody knows the words. I don’t know if they know what it means or not, but it’s very powerful and uniting. We’ve had [Motörhead guitarist] Phil Campbell join us onstage a couple of times for that one, and Alex Skolnick. The crowd go nuts every time we play it, no matter where we are.”

“Sometimes, some of the other girls in the band think this one’s too long to play, but it’s one of my favourites because it is such an epic song. It’s really fun for me, especially after that break with the speaking part, when the bass kicks in with the hi-hats, the crowd just loves that. There was one particular show where I really had to use the bathroom, and during that break I ran backstage, went to the bathroom and came back right as it was time to cue up with Wanda on bass!”

CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (The Number Of The Beast, 1982)
“To me the era that got me interested in Iron Maiden was the first three albums, and this just reminds me of that era. It’s such an early classic, very powerful, people get very emotional when the start of that song kicks in, they’ve got their fists in the air! It just goes over really well live.”

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Iron Maiden, 1980)
“With live playing it’s all about the energy, and this one just has so much energy, and so many breaks; again, the audience just love hearing all these early classic ones. And you know, sometimes maybe they don’t think that girls, for whatever reason, might be able to play something that’s a little more non-traditionally arranged and whatnot, so it’s nice to be able to pull it out and watch them eat it up!”

(Video) The Iron Maidens - World's Only Female Tribute To Iron Maiden (Full Album)

REVELATIONS (Piece Of Mind, 1983)
“There is such a roller-coaster of emotions in this song. It’s up, it’s down, it’s very beautiful but very strong, it’s got harmonies – it’s got everything! It’s not really a ‘slow song’, but we’re not doing any ballads or anything, and with this one you slow it down a notch before you pick it up again. People love the interaction with our bass player Wanda in the verses, when they throw their fists in the air at the point that Steve Harris always does. We emulate everything!”

HALLOWED BE THY NAME (The Number Of The Beast, 1982)
“This is one we have tried to leave off the set, sometimes, and the audience just won’t accept that, haha! When we’re done, they want us to come back and play it. It’s one of the most anticipated songs, so we kind of have to do it! And the strange thing is, as Bruce always says, ‘you don’t mosh to Maiden’. This is the song they want to mosh to!”

GENGHIS KHAN (Killers, 1981)
“As a drummer, how could you not want to play Genghis Khan? People just drop their jaws when we play it. Coming from the drummer’s perspective, to me Clive Burr is a huge influence and one of the reasons I wanted to start playing, and this is one tune that made me say: ‘I have to learn how to play like that!’ With that kind of explosive energy. And eventually, down the line, I did!”

THE CLAIRVOYANT (Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, 1988)
“This one’s got a real nice, different mood to it. We try to balance it out, but there’s just so many great songs to choose from! It changes the direction of the set, and we do want to include more eras than just the early days up to Live After Death. Whenever we finish a song and Wanda starts that amazing bass line, everybody knows what it is and a lot of times you hear a gasp from the audience. And it sounds OK without a keyboard!”

PURGATORY (Killers, 1981)
“Again it has to do with Clive Burr’s energy, and this really shows off the punk-ish influence on early early Maiden. Some may not be aware now that their roots came from a lot of that early punk era. It’s a great one to throw in because anyone who’s into the lesser-played early tracks really appreciate it.”

THE PRISONER (The Number Of The Beast, 1982)
“What’s not to like about The Prisoner!? We start with the sample of the voice, it kicks in with that very simple but super-powerful drum intro and takes off from there. There’s a really melodic harmonised chorus, and I get to do a lot of the back-up vocals. I know that neither Nicko or Clive ever sang back-up vocals, but I get to in this tribute band, and it’s just a lot of fun!”

ALEXANDER THE GREAT (Somewhere In Time, 1986)
“Yes! Alexander The Great is another great absolutely epic Maiden song. Because it was never performed live by Maiden themselves, and a lot of people were constantly requesting us to play it, we just thought ‘Why not?’ It’s got that brilliant mid-section, where the solos, the harmonies and the rhythm section gets everybody jumping in time, we see this wave of people in the crowd. We performed this in Mexico City when Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson were in the crowd, so it was just a little bit nerve-wracking! But awesome.”

SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON (Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, 1988)
“It’s fantastic, but we’ve only played it once, because with this song we really absolutely must have keyboards. And we actually had Michael Kenney – Iron Maiden’s keyboardist – sit in with us for this one, and we put so much time into learning it because we only had one shot. It was absolutely amazing. Maybe one day we’ll play it again, but I don’t think we can borrow Michael Kenney every time we want to play it live; hat might be frowned upon by Iron Maiden!”

(Video) The Iron Maidens:-'The World's Greatest Tribute Band'

What's it like to be the female Bruce Dickinson?

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHMand doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.

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What were iron maidens biggest hits? ›

1. Hallowed Be Thy Name (The Number Of The Beast, 1982)

What is the hardest Iron Maiden song? ›

To Tame A Land and Genghis Khan are the two I think are the most difficult. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and Phantom Of The Opera are two other notable mentions, but I feel To Tame and Genghis are much more challenging.

Who was the best Iron Maiden singer? ›

Bruce Dickinson would probably have to be classed as the best singer in Iron Maiden. He has a great range and amazing control. He is quite capable of singing the songs originally sung by the other singers with confidence. Paul Di'Anno (or Paul Andrews as his mum knows him) was a great singer.

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"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

What is the best rock ballad of all time? ›

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  • Crying - Roy Orbison.
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Who is the most talented guitarist in Iron Maiden? ›

Janick Robert Gers (/ˈjænɪk ˈɡɜːrz/; born 27 January 1957) is an English musician who is best known as one of the three guitarists in heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
Janick Gers
GenresHeavy metal progressive rock hard rock
Occupation(s)Musician songwriter
Years active1975–present
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What are Iron Maiden fans called? ›

Being one of the biggest rock groups in the world has garnered Iron Maiden legions of fans, or troopers as they like to call themselves. It's a name that fans adopted for themselves from the 1983 Maiden single 'The Trooper'.

Who is bigger Iron Maiden or Metallica? ›

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What is the most technically difficult song to sing? ›

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What is considered the most difficult song to sing? ›

23 of the hardest and most difficult songs to sing
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What is the shortest Iron Maiden song? ›

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Has Iron Maiden ever had a number one hit? ›

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Is Lady Gaga an Iron Maiden fan? ›

By now, it's no secret that Lady Gaga is a metal fan, particularly of Iron Maiden. According to Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, the feeling's mutual. But not only that — he thinks she's better than Madonna. “I think she's great, and I agree with her: she's not the next Madonna,” he told Corus Radio in a Sep.

What is the #1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

What is the number 1 song? ›

The number one song on iTunes right now is Dreamers (Music from the FiFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Soundtrack) by Jung Kook. Related Charts: Apple Music Top Streaming Songs, iTunes Top 200 Songs, Top New Songs November 2022, Top 100 Albums, and Top 40 Music Videos.

What is the shortest song to go #1? ›

The Shortest Hot 100 Hits

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What is the number 1 rock song of all time? ›

The Greatest EVER Rock Song
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What is considered the greatest love song ever? ›

Best love songs, ranked
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What is the easiest karaoke song to sing? ›

Top 20 Easiest Karaoke Songs To Sing
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Who is the fastest playing guitarist? ›

Steve Vai. Steve Vai, a three-time Grammy winner, is one of the fastest guitarists and most influential guitars of all-time. He made his professional debut at the age of 18, playing guitar for Frank Zappa. Since then, he's recorded with Whitesnake, David Lee Roth, and Ozzy Osbourne.

Who was the first singer for Iron Maiden? ›

Paul Di'Anno

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What does the Iron Maiden mean? ›

noun. : a supposed medieval torture device consisting of a hollow iron statue or coffin in the shape of a woman that is lined with spikes which impale the enclosed victim.

What band is bigger than Metallica? ›

reunion tours. To be fair, though they've conquered the world of heavy metal, Metallica are still not the biggest touring band in the world -- that distinction falls on U2, who currently hold the top spot.

Who is the greatest heavy metal singer of all time? ›

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What is the heaviest band ever? ›

Top 10 Heaviest bands of all time
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Here are some places to start for easy to sing, popular and well-known songs.
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What is the hardest song to sing for a female? ›

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What are the top 5 hardest songs to sing? ›

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Is the easiest song to sing? ›

Some are crowd favorites, like “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey, “I Love Rock 'n Roll” by Joan Jett, “Hey Jude” by The Beatles, “Like a Virgin” by Madonna, “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, or “Wonderwall” by Oasis.

What is the shortest song to ever exist? ›

Napalm Death – You Suffer (Duration: 1.3 seconds)

In 1989, the British punk group Napalm Death released on their debut album, what according to Guinness records, is the shortest song ever recorded in the history of music. It has an exact duration of just 1.3 seconds!

What is the shortest album ever made? ›

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night: 30:10

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What is Freddie Mercury's longest song? ›

"Mother Love" is a song by Queen, from the album Made in Heaven, released in 1995 after Freddie Mercury's death in 1991.
Mother Love (song)
"Mother Love"
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RecordedMay 1991, 18 October 1993 – early 1995 at Mountain Studios, Cosford Mill and Metropolis Studios
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What is Bruce Dickinson's favorite Iron Maiden album? ›

BRUCE DICKINSON says 'Senjutsu' is one of his favorite IRON MAIDEN albums.

What song made Imagine Dragons famous? ›

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Does Billie Eilish sing in Dickinson? ›

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Who is the oldest woman to have a number one hit? ›

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Who has the most number 2 hits without number 1? ›

Creedence Clearwater Revival

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How many number 1s did Iron Maiden have? ›

Iron Maiden have only had one UK Official Singles Chart Number 1 with 1992's Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter. Iron Maiden won Best British Live Act at the 2009 BRIT Awards.

What is Iron Maiden's biggest hit? ›

1. Hallowed Be Thy Name (1982)

Why do Iron Maiden fans say up the irons? ›

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Who is Lady Gaga's favorite artist? ›

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What is iron maidens best selling song? ›

On them, we can see that Run to the Hills is the strongest seller at 585,000. This feels very natural as it was the lead single of their biggest era, supporting the album on its way to become the first ever new wave heavy metal #1 LP in the UK.

What is considered the best Van Halen song? ›

Eddie Van Halen, Rock Legend & Guitar Hero, Dies at 65
  • 11. “ ...
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  • 6. “ Dance the Night Away” (Van Halen II, 1979) ...
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  • 2. “ Jump” (1984, 1984) ...
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What is considered the best Iron Maiden album? ›

1: 'The Number of the Beast' (1982)

Iron Maiden's definitive album established the standard by which all of their later efforts are still measured.

What is the most popular cover song? ›

The 20 best cover versions of all time, ranked
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  • Marvin Gaye - 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' ...
  • Aretha Franklin - 'Respect' ...
  • Whitney Houston - 'I Will Always Love You' ...
  • Pet Shop Boys - 'Always On My Mind'
18 Sept 2020

What is the number one female album of all time? ›

The Bodyguard soundtrack by Whitney Houston (with various artists) is the best-selling album credited to a woman; its sales are estimated at 45 million copies since its release in November 1992.

What is the most successful cover song of all time? ›

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  2. 'Proud Mary' by Ike & Tina Turner. ...
  3. 'All Along the Watchtower' by Jimi Hendrix. ...
  4. 'I Will Always Love You' by Whitney Houston. ...
  5. 'Killing Me Softly with His Song' by The Fugees. ...
  6. 'Hallelujah' by Jeff Buckley. ...
  7. 'Hurt' by Johnny Cash. ...
  8. 'Me and Bobby McGee' by Janis Joplin.
25 Oct 2021

What was Eddie Van Halen's favorite song to play? ›

From the earliest moments when Wolfgang Van Halen began working on his solo album, Eddie Van Halen was intimately involved -- as a music fan -- eventually identifying “Think it Over” as one of his favorite songs.

What was Van Halen's only number one song? ›

In 1984, Van Halen released 1984, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and had the band's sole No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "Jump".

What is Eddie Van Halen's most famous guitar riff? ›

“Panama” (1984)

Eddie was amazed by the power of Young's guitar playing in concert and wanted to come up with something that reflected that same force and intensity. He came up with “Panama”, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock history.

What is the most acclaimed album of all time? ›

Top-rated albums of all time
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  • OK Computer. Radiohead.
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  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. ...
  • The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. David Bowie.
  • Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) Led Zeppelin.

What is considered the best R&B album? ›

  1. Prince - Sign "☮︎" the Times. March 31, 1987. ...
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  3. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions. ...
  4. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On. ...
  5. Michael Jackson - Thriller. ...
  6. Janet Jackson - Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. ...
  7. D'Angelo and The Vanguard - Black Messiah. ...
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