Speed Of Light

Album: The Book of Souls (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • Written by guitarist Adrian Smith and vocalist Bruce Dickinson, this sci-fi themed song was released as the lead single from Iron Maiden's sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, on August 14, 2015. It was the band's first single release since "El Dorado" was dropped on June 8, 2010, the longest gap between studio releases in the group's career.
  • The song's music video is a homage to four decades of video gaming juxtaposed alongside 40 years of Iron Maiden's visual canon. The visual centers on the band's talisman Eddie as he travels through space and time to complete his Herculean task. The clip was produced and directed by Llexi Leon, who is the creator of the cult comic book series Eternal Descent.

    Leon told Metal Hammer: "It seemed a perfect fit - 40 years of metal explored alongside four decades of video games. I pitched this idea to [Iron Maiden manager] Rod Smallwood and the guys in the band. They loved the concept and asked if I could pull it off. I figured it was Iron Maiden, so I had to pull it off - and it had to be the best thing I've ever done."

    "The video is littered with nods to Iron Maiden artwork - whether it's the poses of the characters at certain key moments, or imagery woven into the background art," he continued. "There's a lot to look out for in the video."
  • The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. Someone traveling at the speed of light could actually travel forever because they wouldn't experience time at all.
  • Following the video gaming homage music clip, an actual "Speed of Light" video game was released. The 8-bit climb-n-dodge game is one of the ones found in the visual, and enables fans to play the role of Eddie the Head seeking to rescue a girl being kept hostage.
  • Adrian Smith's bridge guitar melody is the result of the Iron Maiden axeman keeping his ears out for new inspirations. "That is a lead scale I'd been messing around with," he revealed to MusicRadar.com. "I've sort of rediscovered the pentatonic [scale] and I was listening to a lot of really good players, and I noticed a lot of them were using these scales; even Eric Johnson and people like that. But if you do them in a certain way they can sound really good and really to the point. So I was messing around with that and it's a variation on a pattern, I got that little riff out of it."
  • Did you catch the Deep Purple influence on this track? Bruce Dickinson told Spin: "All of us in the band are huge Deep Purple fans. Adrian wrote the riff and I thought 'that sounds like something off Burn!' Let's do a homage to Purple with an Ian Gillian-type scream in the beginning – the rest of the riffs sound like something that could have been on [1983 Maiden album] Piece of Mind.

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