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Iron Maiden - 2 Minutes To Midnight (1984)

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  • 80's Score 80's score: 1.28
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"2 Minutes to Midnight" is a song by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, featured on their fifth studio album, ...

"2 Minutes to Midnight" is a song by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, featured on their fifth studio album, Powerslave (1984). It was released as the band's tenth single, and first from the album on 6 August 1984. It rose to number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 25 on Billboard Top Album Tracks. The band's first single to exceed five minutes in length, it remained their longest until the release of "Infinite Dreams" in November 1989.

A protest song about nuclear war, "2 Minutes to Midnight" was written by Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson. The song attacks the commercialisation of war and how it is used to fuel the global economy (“The golden goose is on the loose and never out of season”), how rich politicians profit directly from it (“as the reasons for the carnage cut their meat and lick the gravy”) and how after a war concludes, the world is left in a far worse condition than before the war began, resulting in future wars (“to the tune of starving millions to make a better kind of gun”).

The song title references the Doomsday Clock, the symbolic clock used by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which represents a countdown to potential global catastrophe. In September 1953 the clock reached two minutes to midnight, the closest it ever got to midnight in the 20th Century, when the United States and Soviet Union tested H-bombs within nine months of one another. The atomic clock, set at 12 minutes to midnight in 1972, regressed thereafter among US–Soviet tensions, reaching three minutes to midnight in 1984 – the year this track was released – and at that time the most dangerous clock reading since 1953. According to Dickinson, the song critically addresses "the romance of war" in general rather than the Cold War in particular.

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