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NOD TO THE GODS: Iron Maiden, ‘Run To The Hills’
March 24, 2013
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Tonight's Nod is a two-fold celebration of Iron Maiden.

Clive Burr, former-drummer of Iron Maiden and the force behind 'Run to the Hills', recently passed away at the age of 56.

And the album 'Number of the Beast' was released on this day back in 1982.

'Number of the Beast' was Burr's third and final album with the heavy metal Brits and the first with Bruce Dickinson on vocals.

Like all of Maiden's albums in the 1980s and early '90s, the artwork was painted by Derek Riggs. The 'Number of the Beast' cover was originally created for their single 'Purgatory' and stirred up some controversy in America due to the depiction of Eddie controlling Satan like a puppet, while Satan controls a smaller Eddie.

The artwork was meant to raise questions about the nature of evil. Some religious groups had a problem with the album cover's depiction of Satan, though, leading to mass album burnings and a whole lot of confusion.

'Number of the Beast' was a turning point for Maiden. It led them to sold-out arena shows, platinum records, and a whole other level of success. They re-released 'Run to the Hills' in 2002 to promote a tour that the band had organized to raise money for Burr, as he was suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Credit for the song goes to bassist Steve Harris. Recalling writing the song, he said, "I wanted to try and get the feeling of galloping horses. But when you play this one, be careful not to let it run away with you."

Lyrically, it documents the arrival of Europeans in the "New World" from the perspective of both the oppressed Cree and the invading Anglo-Saxon soldiers. Other than being featured in countless video games (Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero), 'Run to the Hills' has gone on to become a staple in the sets of both metal cover bands and mega-stars alike. Metallica covered 'Run to the Hills' for their 1986 EP, 'Garage Days Revisited'.

And yes, THE Bruce Dickinson is also the namesake for Christopher Walken's music-producer character that had a prescription for more cowbell.

That iconic Saturday Night Live sketch featured Will Ferrell as cowbell-happy Gene Frenkle. He reprised that character several times during SNL: once during a Queens of the Stone Age performance, and also in an unrehearsed impromptu appearance during Green Day's 'East Jesus Nowhere'.

Check out the original below:

For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or re-listen, all of the episodes are archived on the Strombo Radio page.

Related:

NOD TO THE GODS: Stompin' Tom Connors, 'Sudbury Saturday Night'

NOD TO THE GODS: Thin Lizzy, 'Whiskey In The Jar'

NOD TO THE GODS: Sex Pistols 'I Wanna Be Me'

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