CD Review of Somewhere in Time - The Best of: 1980 - 1989 by Iron Maiden
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Iron Maiden:
Somewhere in Time
The Best of: 1980 - 1989

Reviewed by R. David Smola


eems the boys in Maiden are trying to revise history a bit. Bruce Dickinson clearly was one of the reasons the band moved from rising band to iconic status, but he wasn’t there in the very beginning. The first two albums released by the band, 1980’s Iron Maiden and 1981’s Killers, featured original vocalist Paul Di’Anno, and are important to their history. This collection grabs live versions of songs from those records with Dickinson singing them, sort of erasing Di’Anno from the picture. Dickinson has been performing “Iron Maiden” and “Phantom of the Opera” at live gigs during his two lengthy stays in Maiden (1981 – 1993 & 1999 – present), but excluding the Di’Anno versions doesn’t offer a true representative of the studio releases between 1980 – 1989. It should be noted that the live versions, taken from the excellent Live After Death, are very good; they just aren’t the original studio material recorded by the original studio band.

The disc has all the usual Maiden trappings that make their releases complete packages: excellent art featuring band mascot, Eddie; interesting liner notes written by the ever-present band manager and Spinal Tap manager clone, Rod Smallwood; and lyrics to the songs. The packaging on Maiden products is always very cool, if not for the illustrations and art alone. It is the content here that is underwhelming.

The disc is structured like a live set, so the songs are not chronological. All the tracks you would expect to find from this period are here, including “2 Minutes to Midnight,” “Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills.” A live version of “Aces High” gets the disc off and rolling immediately following the snippet of a Winston Churchill World War II battle speech. “Wrathchild” is also included as a live track.

The issue here is that this material has been put out in compilation form before in a more comprehensive manner. 2005’s The Essential Iron Maiden contains all but four of these tracks (and does not contain Churchill’s speech) and includes some Di’Anno material as well as songs from the Blaze Bayley era. Ten of the 15 tracks on Somewhere are included on 1996’s The Best of The Beast. Smallwood writes that the album is an introduction to the band’s early years, and I suppose this release accomplishes that. For archivists, this is another release to add to the collection, but fans have all this stuff. There are better and more complete compilations available that offer a larger and more accurate sample of the band’s work.

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