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Wasted Years – Commentary
 
Wasted Years

Wasted Years

6th September 1986

1. Wasted Years (Smith)
2. Reach Out (Colwell)
3. Sheriff Of Huddersfield (Iron Maiden)

 

Lyrics Listen With Nicko – Part VIII
Picture Disc Various Pressings

Album
Album Commentary

 

Wasted Years is the first Iron Maiden single written by Adrian Smith alone and reached chart position 22 in the U.K. The cover picture is fairly complex and deserves some comment. It appears to be the inside of a time-machine which is travelling through some sort of wormhole in space and time, with a target year of 25-08-1986. Small displays at the sides of the control panel show pictures of various Maiden-relevant things including Hell (from The Number Of The Beast album cover), pyramids (from the Powerslave album cover, a graveyard (from the Live After Death album cover) and a football field with a game in progress. The main screen on the panel shows the reflection of Eddie's face, the "Wasted Years" and Iron Maiden logos, and the words "DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME SEARCHING FOR THOSE WASTED YEARS" from the song's lyrics.

Tardis So, what does it all mean? Perhaps the side panel pictures are references to Iron Maiden's "wasted years". But what is the purpose of the time machine? This is obviously a reference to the album's title, but are they really searching for those wasted years? And what is the relevancy of the year of origin and target year? Anyway, the funny little "cable-car thing" out in the wormhole is a tardis, straight out of the cult BBC tv series Dr. Who, a famous British time- and space-traveller. Dr. Who's TARDIS (short for "Time and Relative Dimension in Space") is a time- and dimension-travelling device that appears as a police box and this is the very same box we see on the Wasted Years single cover. Once again a proof of Derek Riggs's rather surreal sense of humour!

Rod Smallwood's comments are taken from the Best Of The B'Sides album booklet included in the Eddie's Archive box.


 

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This is the same version as the one that appears on the Somewhere In Time album.


 

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After the Powerslave tour, the band had several months off before they began work on the Somewhere In Time album. During this time, Nicko got bored and rented a small studio where he could play his drums. Since it's no fun playing drums alone, he ended up getting Adrian to come down and jam with him, and Adrian brought some mates from his early days in Urchin, Dave Colwell and Andy Barnett. They called themselves The Entire Population Of Hackney and wrote a couple of songs including this one.

'Reach Out' is a generic hard-rock type of love song, and is not too bad although it is not very Maiden-sounding at all. The vocals are done by Adrian Smith and, to my knowledge, this is the only Maiden recording where the vocals are not done by Maiden's primary vocalist. It is probable that these early experiments by Adrian Smith planted the seeds that eventually led him to starting ASAP (Adrian Smith And Project) and leaving Iron Maiden for some time.

This song was written by a good friend of Adrian's and now Bad Company guitarist Dave 'BUCKET' Colwell. Done originally in the 'Entire Population of Hackney' project which later developed into ASAP. Steve suggested we do it after hearing a 'Hackneys' live tape. An unlikely Maiden track. 

Rod Smallwood


 

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The wicked Sheriff of Huddersfield At the time this song was written, Iron Maiden's long-time manager Rod Smallwood had decided that it would be a good idea to move to Los Angeles and had bought a house in the Hollywood hills. However he was having some difficulty adjusting to life in L.A, missing his rugby and football and, of course, real English beer. Apparently, he often complained about it to the guys in the band.

So this song was basically written as a joke on Rod and was kept secret from him by the boys and by the guys at EMI until the single was released. A fairly detailed account of the whole story is narrated by Nicko on the 'Listen With Nicko, Part VIII' of the infamous series of rants that can be found on the CDs of the First Ten Years re-release of Iron Maiden's singles of the 1980-90 period. It's a hilariously silly song, but with some quite funny vocals by Bruce including a running denial in Rod's Yorkshire accent throughout the song.

The Derek Riggs sketch appears on the back cover of the 12" vinyl Wasted Years single and highlights how much fun everyone must have had playing this joke on Rod and setting up this little "conspiracy".

It should be noted that Rod took it rather well and didn't fire anyone!

The music was partly taken from an old Urchin track 'Life in the City' which had slightly different lyrics! Obviously the lyrics are totally untrue and unjust and still pending a major legal action for yours truly. It must be said though that Huddersfield is a wonderful place. 

Rod Smallwood


 

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Wasted Years
Stranger In A Strange Land


The First Ten Years, Part IX
Can I Play With Madness
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The Clairvoyant
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Holy Smoke
Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter

Be Quick Or Be Dead
From Here To Eternity
Wasting Love

Fear Of The Dark (live)
Hallowed Be Thy Name

Man On The Edge
Lord Of The Flies

Virus

The Angel And The Gambler
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Out Of The Silent Planet

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Wildest Dreams
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No More Lies EP

The Number Of The Beast

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