Based on the science fiction novel Dune, which was later made into a movie. Author Frank Herbert refused to allow the band to call this song "Dune." The band originally sent a letter to Herbert's agent for permission. The response read as follows: "No. Because Frank Herbert doesn't like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden."
Songwriter Steve Harris tried to convince Herbert that the song would be a good promo for the book, but he still refused.
Steve Harris often bases his compositions on works by other artists.
The song contains many seemingly senseless words, including "Fremen," "Caladan," "gom jabbar" and "Muad'Dib." All of these were derived from the science fiction novel Dune, and make sense in the context of the story. Singer Bruce Dickinson did, understandably, mispronounce some of these words. (thanks, Jeff - Haltom City, TX, for all above)
On the back of the Somewhere in Time album, there is a "Herbert Ails" advertisement. This is a reference to the author of Dune.
Steve Harris: "This is the best song I've ever written. I was really pleased with Phantom
, but now I have to say that this is the best."
Lead singer Bruce Dickinson referred to Frank Herbert as "a bit of a cu-t" because "among other things, he said that if we called this track that we wrote on the album 'Dune,' that he'd sue us and stop the album coming out, and all kinds of very unpleasant things." Dickinson made these remarks at a concert in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 5th, 1983.
At one point, Steve Harris wanted to start the song with a spoken quote from Dune.
Morgion covered this for the compilation album A Call to Irons: A Tribute to Iron Maiden.
This is one of the longer Iron Maiden songs, running 7:26. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 6)