This song is about a paranoid man who constantly fears that there's someone or something about to spring out at him from the dark as a result of watching horror films and studying the occult. Themes like this appear on much of Maiden's cover art (see: "Sanctuary," "Women in Uniform," "Iron Maiden," "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" etc.).
The album, which many consider a vast improvement over Maiden's previous album, No Prayer For the Dying, debuted on the UK charts at #1.
Three tracks off the album were released as singles. "Be Quick or Be Dead" charted highest, at #2.
Until Brave New World was released in 2000, this was the last Iron Maiden album to feature Bruce Dickinson as lead vocalist.
The album was Maiden's first that featured cover art not designed by Derek Riggs, but instead by Melvyn Grant. Riggs apparently designed some cover art, but it was rejected in favor of Grant's, so the D/R symbol is nowhere to be found. The cover art is rather popular and depicts a tree spirit called a driad. Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson once attempted to draw it himself.
Nyctophobia is the scientific term for the fear of the dark. It is very frequently seen among infants and many adults.
This song appears in the Iron Maiden computer game Ed Hunter. It plays during Level 4, Graveyard.
Some consider this a sequel to "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "Innocent Exile," which also deal with a paranoid and nervous man. In those songs, he was on the run from the law after being falsely accused of murder.
The 1992 "Fear of the Dark" tour included the band headlining at the Monsters of Rock festival thrown at Castle Donnington (for the second time). The concert was recorded and released as the album Iron Maiden Live at Donnington, which since has gone out of print and become very hard to find.
This runs 7:16.
Kerrang! magazine, while interviewing singer Bruce Dickinson, quoted the Iron Maiden biography Run To The Hills, in which Steve Harris professed that Bruce "made very little effort" on the Fear of the Dark Tour. Bruce's response: "I've got my version of events and he's got his. It all comes down to how you see the world. For Steve, Maiden's more important than anything. To me, there are some things that are more important than the band I'm in. I didn't know it was going to be that much of a big deal when I left, but as soon as I walked out onstage and looked at the audience I thought 'Sh**! If I run around grinning like a fool, the audience is going to think, "What a wanker! If he's so happy, why is he leaving?".' And if I wander around looking miserable as sin, they'll wonder why they paid £20 for a ticket to see this tosser. I was stuffed. Some nights the audience was hostile. It was like doing a gig at a wake! Some nights I enjoyed it, but on others I was thinking, 'I wish I wasn't here!'. The moment I left Maiden I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't do anything that I didn't believe in ever again. Steve and myself always used to clash. He wanted to fire me after the first month of the 'Number Of The Beast' tour - because I kept getting in his way onstage! I had an extra six inches added to the base of my microphone stand so I could trip the bastard up! I got fed up of him standing in front of me when I was singing. I got all these chips in my teeth where he used to elbow me. After a gig in Newcastle in '82 we were going to go outside, sleeves rolled up. But we learned to live with each other. And if Steve hadn't had that personality, Maiden would never have existed."
Because many fans had scorned No Prayer for the Dying
and Fear of the Dark
as inferior Maiden albums, Bruce Dickinson was asked in an interview: "I assume you're much happier now than in the last few albums from Iron Maiden?" His response: "Oh, I'm not going to go anywhere and start making comments on Maiden and stuff. There's too much respect between the guys in Maiden and me and me and the guys in Maiden. I don't go there." He did, however, admit that he tried to do a different sound in his solo albums and was pleased with the result.
Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above