Bruce Dickinson reveals his and Steve Harris’s prog-background is the reason for Iron Maiden’s lengthy songs

Author Samuel Järvinen - 13.9.2021

Long songs are a typical phenomenon on albums by the metal great Iron Maiden. It’s not unusual for the band’s albums to have many tracks over five minutes, as well as monsters that exceed ten minutes.

For example, the band’s just-released album “Senjutsu” has many tracks over six minutes long, plus three over-ten-minute-long chunks.

Now, in a recent interview on SiriusXM radio station’s Trunk Nation Virtual Invasion, the band’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson opens up a little about the reasons why the band loves to include long songs on their albums.

“Steve [Harris, bassist] and I are partially responsible for that. I did the whole thing [‘Empire Of The Clouds’, song on The Book Of Souls] about the airship disaster, the R101, which was 18 minutes or something crazy. And that was basically arranged for an orchestra, which at the time we didn’t have.”

“For this album, yeah, Steve is a big fan of prog, as am I. I was talking to somebody else about this, about the different bands that we both liked. Steve, for example, is a big fan of Jethro Tull I’m also a big fan of Jethro Tull. He loves ‘A Passion Play’ and ‘Thick As A Brick’; I’m more ‘Aqualung’ and the early stuff.”

“But nevertheless, we both meet in the middle there. He’s a big Genesis fan — the Peter Gabriel Genesis, ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’; he loves all that. Me, I’m not crazy about Genesis, but I loved Peter Gabriel’s, I think it was his third solo album, [with songs like] ‘Intruder’ [and] ‘No Self Control’ — scary, dark, really moody stuff.

“And there was a band called Van Der Graaf Generator, who were contemporaries of Genesis, and in a way, they were even a bit more out there than Genesis. Well, I loved them. And I borrowed bits of Peter Hammill, their vocalist’s vocal style.”