Wasted Years by Iron Maiden via Ryan Adams

Good covers are a joy to find. This is a beaut. I came across it by accident on the web and am hooked. The original track was on the  Somewhere in Time album (1987??) which for me marked the decline of Maiden’s gritty sound into a more synthesized smoother style. Was this deliberate? I guess we’d have to ask Steve Harris to find out but just as the Di’Anno-era first two albums laden with sweating punk power morphed into a more refined heavy-on-the-melodies sound once Dickinson entered the fray, Somewhere in Time was another sonic watershed which at the time I remember not liking a great deal. It was as if Maiden were trying to achieve Judas Priest’s rather tame studio vibe: why can’t they just do their fast live stuff on the 8-track we wondered in teenage angst?

Of course we were wrong. While Somewhere in Time probably can’t hold a candle to many other Maiden albums there are two tracks in particular which mean the album will be fondly remembered: Stranger in a Stgrange Land and Wasted Years. Both contain absolutely beautiful guitar solos (both by Adrian Smith I think and which I wrote about 4 years ago here) but I would never have thought this balls-to-the-wall rocker would have suited the gentle I’m-so-cool-I-can’t-be-bothered fey-pop of someone like Mr Adams. But it does and he does it so well. So  here’s to you Ryan Adams. I promise never to shout out “Summer of ’69” at one of your gigs.




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