This song describes an air battle from the viewpoint of a flying ace. The lyrics and fast-paced style have made the song commonly associated with war, and it appeared in the 1986 film Incident at Channel Q, about a war between headbangers and conservative "straight people".
The first line is "There goes the siren that warns of the air raid." Lead singer Bruce Dickinson had earned the nickname "The Air Raid Siren" for his powerful, never-tiring vocals. He is also a licensed pilot, and since leaving the band in 1993, has flown many commercial flights.
Partially inspired by the 1976 war film of the same name starring Malcolm McDowell and Christopher Plummer.
The cover for the single was a close-up of Eddie (Iron Maiden's mascot) in a WWII jet. The back of the case showed the jet spiraling the ground, up in flames, smoke spewing from it. The B-side was "King of Twilight."
On the back of the album Somewhere in Time, there is an Aces High Bar.
On the cover art, to the left below the cockpit there is a unique symbol scribbled in white. This is cover art designer Derek Rigg's "logo," which depicts his initials - a mirrored D and an R on the right hand side.
Iron Maiden had already performed two songs about a historical war from the perspective of those being attacked. One was "Invaders," which was set during a Viking sea battle. The other was "Trooper," set during the Crimean War in which the British fought the Russians (see the famous Alfred Lord Tennyson poem The Charge of the Light Brigade). After this, Maiden wrote and performed another song about flying aces in combat, "Tailgunner." "Run to the Hills" was also about a historical war/invasion, but was told from the perspective of both the invaders and the invaded.
This was covered by Children of Bodon for the album A Tribute to the Beast and Arch Enemy for the album Made In Tribute - A Tribute to The Best Band In A Whole Goddamn World!.
Suggestion credit: Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above
Richard Harris from Bc CanadaThe best is to hear it with the intro; Churchill's speech, (it shows on the video, but not in the album Powerslave) Fortunately it starts off "Live after Death" and other live versions!
Joaquin from Juarez, Mexicoan awesome song, love the guitar riffs as well as bruce's awesome vocals, it's sad they did not play this song live in mexico city this year...
Justin from Norcal, CaIt's not a jet. It's actually a British Spitfire, which is a propeller driven fighter plane. Awesome song, but come on, for 'song facts' that's just too obvious.
Charlie from Bozeman, Mtwhen i was a kid i had all of maidens stuff.as i got older my musical tastes have changed but i still love to listen to their stuff.steve harris bass playing is what inspired me to play bass.ive incorporated that sort of sound into my playing even though i dont play in a metal band it adds an unusual flavor to our sound.maiden rocks today as much as they did back in the day.turn your kids on to them and the world will be a better place to live.
Jessie from Dallas, Txlive to fly, fly to live, aces high [= I love this song and I LOOOVE Iron Maiden!!!!!
Matt from Houston, Txone of my top maiden songs along with wasted years,virus,hallowed be thy name, run to the hills and too many others to name.
Anthony from Parsippany, NjUnbelievable song by unbelievable musicians. That's one of the many beauty's of Maiden....their songs are not bubble-gum embarrassments, but have substance to the nth power. The melodies and styles are also second to none. Why the f--- do you think they've been around so long?
Martin from Reading, United KingdomNicko I'm almost certain took flying lessons before Bruce although I'm not suggesting he's a copycat. To take it to the level Bruce did, it was probably a childhood ambition come true
Scott from Edmonton, AbThis song proves that Dickinson is the best vocalist ever!!
Ryan from Bethany, Okto me, no one can wail like bruce
Ryan from Bethany, OkThe solos on the song are AWESOME!!!!
Josh from Melbourne, AustraliaACES HIGH! God, Bruce Dickinson can make a good wail
Greg from Topsfield, MaI LOVE THIS SONG everytime i listen to it i think of the movie The Battle of Britain there is a connection i love there historical connections i think they don't want people to forget the sacrifices people made for us to be free no i know they don't want people to forget LONG LIVE THE IRONS!!!!!!!!!
Paul from Belleville, OnBruce Dickinson's "Air Raid Siren" nickname actually came from an article panning his singing in a concert review shortly after he joined the band, before they recorded "The Number Of the Beast". The reviewer stated that his singing sounded like "an air raid siren". Fromthat point, Rod (Smallwood, Mained's manager) said, "Great! We'll call him the bloody Air Raid Siren then." This explanation comes from the making of "The Number Of the Beast" DVD.
Dylan from Newport, VtAn Incredible Song. How Did They Come Up With It? Its Unbelivable
Eddie from Timbuktu, KazakhstanFirst Maiden song I learned to play...pimp as hell.
Zac from Sydney, AustraliaFantastic song. Probably equal best on powerslave. the last note dickenson sings is a top G.... need i say more?
Ben from Nyc, Msawesome song. gotta love the pitch shift at the end with bruce's voice. HORNS UP m/____(-.-)____m/
Ringgo from Montclair, CaAwesome theme (Battle of Britain, biggest air battle ever), awesome pace (276 BPM, i think i read that somewhere), and of course, an awesome tune by a more awesome band. Nothing beats a battle cry like this...except maybe "The Trooper". Awesome song written by an aspiring pilot and sung by an actual pilot. Up the Irons!
Dino from Larissa, Greeceaces high...aaaa.aaaaaaa
Dan from Zagreb, CroatiaBruce Dickinson wasn't nicknamed "Air Raid Siren" for his "powerful, never-tiring vocals", but for his immitation of air raid siren, which he occasionaly did on live shows. He also owned a record label "Air Raid Records".
Ben from Nyc, MsMaiden is.....Good. REALLY good. Black sabbath good.
Mike from Ny, NyBret from brooklyn is absolutly correct. The entire song is about the battle of britain.
Jason from Chesapeake, VaBest song ever! Maiden rocks!
Kevin from Campbell River, CanadaAs much as I love this song, Bruce Dickinson sounds like a little nancy boy compared to Paul Di'Anno.
Preecey from Sheffield, EnglandIt's very inspiring song, and one of the best on that album. The guitar riffs featured in it are fast and neatly done. The video also had a Churchill speech before the song starts, which ties in very well.
Anthony from Parsippany, NjRight on the money Brett...the best, most accurate description of the song by far.
Erik from Somers, NyDickinson's pitch change in the last chorus is insane, easily the greatest metal vocalist ever.
Eetu from Helsinki, FinlandEddie is flying a spitfire on the cover. You can recognize the plane from the shape of the canopy.
Brian from Bellingham, WaThis song kicks ass! Up the irons!
Matt from Charleston, ScThe Aces High single cover art did not show Eddie in a "WWII jet". As the ME-262 was only operational jet in WWII-at the very end of the war --and it was German, we can safely say Eddie's plane is NOT a jet. It is most likely a Spitfire as predominited in the air Battle of Britain of 1940.
Todd from Denver, CoThe above are definitely more schooled on IM trivia than I, as well as the meanings of their songs and the history the songs are based upon. I had heard that Bruce Dickinson was once a world-class fencer, an impressive feat. I also saw a VH-1 or MTV trivia show (I forget which) on which Bruce was a celebrity contestant. He not only handled an obnoxious female celebrity's onslaught of insults with dignity, but he also showed how intelligence can be showed by not stooping to the level of the assailant. I gained more respect for the man as well as the band.
Luke from Manchester, EnglandThe band covering this are CHILDREN OF BODOM, not BODON
David from Petaluma, CaSteve was also inspired, in part, tho wtite Aces High by Nicko McBrain who was learning to fly at the time.
Brett from Brooklyn, Ny This song is specifically about the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940. When he sings "10 Me-109s" he's referring to the Messerschmitt 109 the main German fighter during the battle and Spitfires refers to the best fighter the British RAF had which was the Supermarine Spitfire. The battle took place totally in the air and had no offical start or end date.