Iron Maiden released their fourth studio album, “Piece Of Mind” in 1983. An amazing Heavy Metal album it was and forever will be. I bought that album back in ’83… stared at the front cover for hours, which in fact, probably equals out to actual days. I have always been mesmerized by artist Derek Riggs artwork of mascot Eddie. This album does not contain the cover song of “Cross Eyed Mary”, instead, it was released as a “b” side to the single “The Trooper”, taken from the “Piece Of Mind” album. To the best of my Metal research, “The Trooper” single was released on June 20, 1983. I frequented a small and independent record store on an almost daily basis back in the ’80′s, (I won’t divulge the name of this store for personal reasons), upon a daily stop there… there it was… Iron Maiden “The Trooper” Maxi Single on vinyl no less!! My Metal memory is very vivid about this moment… I stared this beautiful Iron Maiden rarity down, bought it and have kept it pristine ever since. Plus, this was the only copy this store had, I never saw this Iron Maiden single on vinyl again. (Certainly, there has to be more out there in collections or online today, I just never happened to come across one in person). This Iron Maiden Maxi Single as it is called, again, is on vinyl that is the actual size of an album -(an EP if you will), it plays at 45 rpm.
As for “The Trooper” it is and always will be an amazing work of Metal Music, this song no Metalhead could ever possibly tire from. An unreal great Metal song is “The Trooper”. Now, for the Metal juicy part of this important single… “Cross Eyed Mary”. I always have and will continue to give Jethro Tull a listen now and again… they are cool by me, despite what Metallica may think of them. The original Jethro Tull version of “Cross Eyed Mary” does not even come remotely close, to the prolific Metal power of Iron Maiden’s cover version though. I am talking extremely Metal prolific, when I mention this Iron Maiden cover of “Cross Eyed Mary”. Whoa, man, this Iron Maiden cover sends Metal chills up and down my spine. I am not sugar coating a thing… this Iron Maiden cover is the real thing, hands down it is my most favorite and cherished Metal cover song that has ever been recorded. Not to sound cheesy or lame here, the opening guitar leads sends me into Metal orbit… really. Bruce Dickinson is outstanding on vocals with this song, Iron Maiden took hold of “Cross Eyed Mary” and turned it into a Metal masterpiece. NO flutes or piano are on this Iron Maiden cover version of “Cross Eyed Mary”, no sir.
My copy of “The Trooper” vinyl single looks just like the above image, with the exception that my copy has “Maxi Single – super sound version” printed on the front cover, inside a red outlined circle. The bottom image shows what the Japanese import version of “The Trooper” looks like on CD, however, “Cross Eyed Mary” is NOT on this CD single!? The two songs on this Japanese import are: “The Trooper Live (2003)” and “The Trooper” (album version). Go figure that out, the same artwork, it is “The Trooper” single, yet “Cross Eyed Mary” is not included anymore. It would have been Metal genius, if Iron Maiden included “Cross Eyed Mary” on their “Somewhere Back In Time: The Best Of 1980-1989″ album, that would have been a perfect song to add into the historical Metal mix. I am just psyched that I still have this vinyl single of Iron Maiden, this is one Metal treasure I just will not part with – no way.
Some Metal extra notes about this Iron Maiden single, to benefit, guide and nourish your Metal mind:
Iron Maiden, as they appeared on “The Trooper” and “Cross Eyed Mary”: Bruce Dickinson on lead vocals, Dave Murray on guitar, Adrian Smith on guitar, Steve Harris on bass guitar and Nicko McBrain on drums. * This 1983 “The Trooper” single was originally released on EMI records.