About the European arrival to the "New World," told from the perspective of both the oppressed Cree and the invading Anglo-Saxon soldiers. The first verse ("White man came across the sea, he brought us pain and misery") is from the point of view of the Natives. The second verse ("Chasing the redskins back to their holes, fighting them at their own game") is from the white man's eyes, and the last verse ("Selling them whiskey and taking their gold, enslaving the young and destroying the old") is an impartial third-person narration.
Released as a single on February 12, 1982. The B-side was "Total Eclipse" and was the first single that featured Bruce Dickinson's "air-raid siren" vocals. On December 2nd, 1985, a version of this recorded live was released as a single, with a live recording of "Phantom of the Opera" as the B-side.
The cover art for the single featured a Native American with an axe wrestling a devil in Hell. Considering the lyrics, this caused some controversy, as many interpreted this to mean the band was suggesting that the imperialistic whites were devils.
In 2002, this was re-released as a single to help promote a tour the band organized to raise money for former drummer Clive Burr, who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis.
This was Iron Maiden's first Top 10 hit in the UK.
The single's cover art had the same setting as the cover art for the album The Number of the Beast. They were both set in Hell, with a red humanoid devil and spiraling gray clouds against the night sky. Both were designed by Derek Riggs, who does most Maiden cover art.
The 1982 single charted at #7. The 1985 single (recorded live) charted at #26.
Steve Harris: "I wanted to try and get the feeling of galloping horses. But when you play this one, be careful not to let it run away with you."
The official biography of Iron Maiden, written by Mick Wall, is titled Run to the Hills
Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above
This song was "covered" by Metallica on their 1986 mini-EP Garage Days Re-Revisited
. At the very end of the last track, they fade out to the introduction of this song, and quite off key, as well. This was their nod to Iron Maiden, who were one of their New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) inspirations.
Jon - Warner Robins, GA