Iron Maiden - The Trooper (1983)
- 80's score: 1.19
"The Trooper" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released as the second single on 20 June 1983 ...
"The Trooper" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released as the second single on 20 June 1983 from the band's fourth studio album, Piece of Mind (1983). It was one of only a few songs to get much radio airplay in the United States, thus peaking at No. 28 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. It also achieved success in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 12 in the UK Singles Charts as well as gaining a much better reception than the band's previous single, "Flight of Icarus".
Written by bassist and founding-member Steve Harris, the song is based on the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava 1854, which took place during the Crimean War, and inspired by Lord Tennyson's 1854 poem of the same name. The track has been the subject of much praise since its release, with AllMusic describing it as "an all-time genre classic that boasts guitarists [Dave Murray] and [Adrian Smith's] most memorable harmonized lead riff, plus that trademark galloping rhythm," while Mick Wall comments that it is the song "which most Maiden fans from those days still recall first when you mention the Piece of Mind album." Despite the popularity of the song, it was the single's B-Side, a cover of Jethro Tull's "Cross-Eyed Mary", which managed to gain a substantial amount of airplay on US radio, becoming one of the band's few tracks, along with previous single "Flight of Icarus", to do so.
The single's accompanying music video included clips of a cavalry battle from the 1936 film The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, which the BBC refused to play unedited, deeming the footage too violent. The band's manager, Rod Smallwood, has since criticised the decision, stating, "Anyone would think we'd killed the horses ourselves instead of using an old Errol Flynn movie."
A regular fixture in the band's concerts, vocalist Bruce Dickinson has always waved a Union Flag during live performances and, more recently, has begun wearing an authentic red coat uniform which would have been worn during the battle on which the song was based. During a performance in Dublin in 2003, Dickinson's flag-waving reportedly received a large amount of booing from the Irish audience.