What is it that makes Iron Maiden special? Well, many things. One thing is the vastness of material adapted, re-interpreted, and commented upon within their songs. As a rule of thumb, every Maiden song can be traced back to a novel, a film, a poem, a historical event, a current event…you get the idea. Test me on this if you do not believe me. Throw a song at me in the comments. Test it yourself. Look the stuff up; it is amazing.
I do not see myself as a database and, besides, there are already enough databases out there to look the respective references up. I do things like discussing literary references which often add a new meaning, trying to group songs together to see how they correspond to each other or comparing adaptations with their originals to see how and why they have been changed.
Why would I do this and why would you spend your time reading this? I think here is a kind of dialogue going on. On the one hand, you
see hear Maiden songs differently when you know their backgrounds. On the other, the adaptations cast a new light on their sources, or more importantly, general aspects like “war” or “religion”. I, for my part, see British culture through a lens that is Maidenish. Always have, always will. They touch upon topics that are definitely British but just as definitely not part of any syllabus you would ever be taught, like Aleister Crowley. But the main point is simply that I love to dwell on all the different layers a Maiden song can have – because who says that you need to restrict yourself to one historical event, one novel etc.? (And I have not mentioned the artwork yet!) I am a lover of (British) literature and have read many of the so called classics (but also all Bond novels of Ian Fleming – I am not turning my nose at so called “entertainment”). Don’t get me wrong, meaning that I was totally bookish; I am one of the loudest singers during concerts and I say sorry in this place to the people who have stood around me. But the fact that my favourite band shares my interest is something which makes their music even more exciting to me. It is kind of a funny position to be in – frowned at by (some) metal fans and belittled by the bookworms. But that is where Iron Maiden are, right in the middle between rock / heavy metal and an extensive library of classical / popular literature and extensive historical knowledge.
I have ordered my pieces in four categories – literature, history, politics, trivia – plus one extra category which deals exclusively with Bruce Dickinson’s solo project and Blake adaptation The Chemical Wedding. This album is extremely complex and one of my most exciting projects on this blog. I hope to reach many other Maiden fans and probably you may enjoy to see Maiden songs as I see them – as layers of intertextual complexity imbedded in breath-taking music.