Flight Of Icarus

Album: Piece Of Mind (1983)
Charted: 11
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  • This is a retelling of the classic Greek myth of Icarus' flight, but with a twist. In the original, Daedalus and his son, Icarus, escape King Minos' prison by building wax wings and flying away on them. Daedalus warns Icarus not to fly too high, but the cocky teen rebels, his wings melt, and he plummets to his death in what is now called The Icarian Sea (he was reportedly buried by Hercules).

    In the song, Daedalus watches from the ground, and his advice to his son is to "fly and touch the sun." The now-obedient Icarus does so, and realizes his father tricked him just before his wings melt.
  • This was Iron Maiden's first single released in the United States. The B-side of the single was a cover of Montrose's 1976 song "I've Got the Fire."
  • The album cover shows Icarus' wings being torched by Eddie, the band's mascot.
  • The opening guitar riff was inspired by Dio's "Holy Diver."
  • "Flight Of Icarus" was the first Iron Maiden single featuring drummer Nicko McBrain, who replaced Clive Burr.
  • This was one of the few Maiden songs Steve Harris had no hand in writing. Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith composed it and wrote the lyrics.
  • Steve Harris: "It's a really good song but we much prefer it live. We tend to play it a little bit faster live. Looking back on it now we feel we could have played it at the faster speed on the album. This little extra touch gives it a bit more fire. If you're counting solos, this is Dave (Murray)."
  • On the top-right corner of the back cover of the 1986 Iron Maiden album Somewhere in Time, you can see Icarus falling from the sun with his wings on fire.
  • The cover art for the single, like "Run To The Hills," had some resemblance to the cover art for the album The Number of the Beast (although, unlike "Run to the Hills", "Flight of Icarus" wasn't a track from that album). They both seem to take place in Hell and both feature spiraling gray clouds.
  • Tierra Santa covered this on the 2002 compilation album A Tribute to the Beast. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above

Comments: 15

  • Brian from Streetsboro, OhMarisa, that is an EXCELLENT accounting of the story and is completely accurate. Nice job!
  • Emarkm from Cheshire, United KingdomIn addition to the quote from Steve Harris, above, he followed it up with (paraphrased): "Releasing this as a single was a mistake really, I always say you're allowed two mistakes!" I don't think they've made their second one yet!
  • Fish from Edmonton, AbOne of the beefiest, thickest guitar sounds ever!! The production on "Piece of Mind" is still my favourite of all their albums. Love how Nicko drags his stick on the snare throughout the song. They put on an incredible show recently in Edmonton!! Up the irons!!
  • Sibella from Pretoria, --Man, gods can do mean things!
  • Jeff from Austin, TxFantastic song!! This album is killer from beginning to end.
  • Bobpape from Austin, TxJon- Also, in the sci-fi series SG-1 and Atlantis, it's the name of Earth's first faster-than-light spaceship, which incorporates Gould and Azgard technology.
  • Sebastian from Fredrikstad, United Stateslove pice of mind especially revelations and trooper
  • Zac from Sydney, Australiasecond favourite song on piece of mind
  • Billy from Otway, OhWhat Are The Bodies Doing?
  • Heather from Holbrook, Ny>>Along with the clouds, the single cover also features burning bodies along the bottom, another resemblence that indicates Hell
    - Dan, Rochester, NY<<

    Take a close look at what those bodies are doing...
  • Dan from Rochester, NyAlong with the clouds, the single cover also features burning bodies along the bottom, another resemblence that indicates Hell
  • Jonas from Lund, United StatesI love singing this song! / Jonas
  • Master_apocalipticus from Roma, ItalyOne of the best heavy metal songs of all time. The recording of the song, also the album, was inspired by mental hospitals rooms. The guitar sound with those JCM800 is incredible and the chorus at the end of the song is, simply, the best I have heard.
  • Marisa from Charlotte, NcKing Minos of Crete sacrificed a fake bull in place of his favorite snow white bull, to fool Poseidon, god of the sea. Poseidon became angry and cast a spell on Minos' wife, Pasiphae, the queen, to fall in love with the white bull. Daedalus built a hollow wooden cow, which Pasiphane lowerd herself inside. The bull seeing a new cow, mounted it and unknowningly Pasiphane who was inside. Pasiphane became pregnant and bore the dreaded Minotaur, a creature with a man's body but a bull's head. Daedalus built the labyrinth for King Minos, to hide the hideous bullman. Afterwards, Theseus killed the Minotaur and escaped with the kings daughter. At the failure of the labyrinth, Daedalus lost the favor of the king and was imprisoned in a high tower. Daedalus wanted to escape from his prison, but all sea going vessels were searched carefully.

    "Minos may control the land and sea," thought Daedalus, "but he does not control the air. I will escape that way."

    Daedalus set to work fabricating wings for himself and his young son, Icarus. Daedalus put many feathers together over a frame of his design, beginning with the smallest feathers and adding larger feathers, so as to form an ever increasing surface area from which to harness the power of the wind. The larger feathers Daedalus secured with strong thread but the smaller ones he secured only with wax. To his final creation he gave a curvature like that of the birds wings..

    When the work was done, Daedalus, waving his newly constructed wings, found himself buoyed upward on the currents, and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air beneath his constructed wings.

    But he could not leave without his son, so he had to build another pair of wings, smaller in size. Daedalus equipped his son with the smaller set but cautioned him, saying; "Icarus, my son, I charge you to keep at a moderate height, for if you fly too low the damp will clog your wings, and if you fly too high the heat of the sun will surely melt these wings of yours that I have created for you."

    Daedalus kissed the boy, not knowing that it was for the last time ever. Then, rising on their wings, father and son flew off, escaping from the prison that King Minos had put them away in. The boy, exulted at his new found freedom, began to soar upward as if to reach heaven. The nearness of the blazing sun softened the wax which held the smaller feathers together, and they came off in bundles. He fluttered with his arms frantically, but no feathers remained to hold the air beneath the wings. He cried to his father but fell to the ocean and was submerged in the blue waters of the sea in which he drowned.

    His father cried, "Icarus, Icarus, where are you?"

    Daedalus flew far and wide, searching for his son. At last he saw the all too familar feathers floating on top of the water, and bitterly lamenting his own arts, Daedalus scooped up his son's body and buried it on shore, calling the land Icaria in memory of his dead child.

    Daedalus arrived safe in Sicily, where he built a temple to Apollo, and hung up his wings as an offering to the god.

  • Jon from Grand Forks, Nd"Deadallus" is the name of the shuttle in the movie "Space Cowboys"
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