MARTIN POPOFF – Where Eagles Dare: Iron Maiden in the ’80s
- by J.N.
- Posted on 12-09-2019
Noted author Martin Popoff surely needs no introduction to those of you out there who regularly devour books on various heavy metal and hard rock bands as he has penned nearly a hundred ones so far, some of the most impressive ones being on Thin Lizzy, UFO, Black Sabbath, and Whitesnake. His latest piece of literature is “Where Eagles Dare: Iron Maiden in the ’80s”, which offers a detailed and in-depth study of Iron Maiden’s recorded outputs and tours during that glorious decade where such masterpieces as “Piece of Mind”, “Somewhere in Time”, and the self-titled debut were spawned and unleashed.
As always, Popoff provides plenty of context with respect to each record and song, so even though the narrative is structured chronologically and moves from year to year and album to album, there are plenty of other fascinating insights into the greatest heavy metal band of all time. For one thing, Martin has conducted numerous interviews with past and present members of the ensemble over many years, which entails that “Where Eagles Dare” offers many different perspectives on certain things Maiden and also a balanced overview of those fiercely creative years. From playing pubs in the East End of London in the 70s and further on to the huge and elaborate shows of the late 80s, Maiden’s rise to praise and acclaim has been an inspired and inspiring one, which is emphasized by Popoff throughout these 288 pages. More importantly, he dives into the very creation of their riffs and melodies, their compositions and lyrics, and essentially provides us with a greater understanding of what made (and makes) Iron Maiden tick and the things that continually drove them forward from the outfit’s inception in the mid-70s towards the late 80s. All the milestones and important dates in the Maiden chronicle are touched on, and Martin injects his own opinions on various matters relating to the Maiden discography into his well-written story, which is pretty neat. Sure, I often find myself disagreeing with some of his thoughts and feelings regarding specific albums and songs, but that is part of the book’s endearing quality and charm in that it feels as if one is engaging in a dialogue (or perhaps even a discussion) with Martin here and there. I dig that.
“Where Eagles Dare: Iron Maiden in the ’80s” is a concise and nicely executed piece of work, and as with Martin’s other titles, it is beautifully researched and in-depth. It may not be revelatory as such, and if you are a hardcore devotee of the renowned heavy metal pioneers, chances are that you are already familiar with some of the things contained within the book, but nevertheless, it is a great addition to the literary cannon revolving around Iron Maiden. And on a final note, reading about “Piece of Mind” and “Somewhere in Time” never gets tiring or old for me, so personally, I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this one.