To Tame A Land

Album: Piece Of Mind (1983)


  • Based on the science fiction novel Dune, which was later made into a movie. Author Frank Herbert refused to allow the band to call this song "Dune." The band originally sent a letter to Herbert's agent for permission. The response read as follows: "No. Because Frank Herbert doesn't like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden."

    Songwriter Steve Harris tried to convince Herbert that the song would be a good promo for the book, but he still refused.
  • Steve Harris often bases his compositions on works by other artists.
  • The song contains many seemingly senseless words, including "Fremen," "Caladan," "gom jabbar" and "Muad'Dib." All of these were derived from the science fiction novel Dune, and make sense in the context of the story. Singer Bruce Dickinson did, understandably, mispronounce some of these words. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Haltom City, TX, for all above
  • On the back of the Somewhere in Time album, there is a "Herbert Ails" advertisement. This is a reference to the author of Dune.
  • Steve Harris: "This is the best song I've ever written. I was really pleased with Phantom, but now I have to say that this is the best."
  • Lead singer Bruce Dickinson referred to Frank Herbert as "a bit of a cu-t" because "among other things, he said that if we called this track that we wrote on the album 'Dune,' that he'd sue us and stop the album coming out, and all kinds of very unpleasant things." Dickinson made these remarks at a concert in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 5th, 1983.
  • At one point, Steve Harris wanted to start the song with a spoken quote from Dune.
  • Morgion covered this for the compilation album A Call to Irons: A Tribute to Iron Maiden.
  • This is one of the longer Iron Maiden songs, running 7:26. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 6

Comments: 15

  • Carmen from CanadaIt was called Dune on my first copy of Piece of Mind.
  • Al from SpainMay I reply to Jeff from Haltom City, Tx. I love Iron Maiden but I can see where you are coming from. In fact, I have a question. After this album was released, a rock magazine in the UK such as Kerrang or something slated To Tame A Land as lazy, criticising Steve Harris, saying that the song was similar to another (I´m sure by a different band). Can anyone remember the article or even give some suggestions as to what that song may be?
  • Hellwyck from Manchester, United KingdomJERRY -
    To say Iron Maiden are a horrible band is closed minded and to say they're horrible without any good reason is just ignorance.
    To say metal is arrogant when metal bands are usually the first bands to help with charity (the reason you don't see them on TV is because, unlike Coldplay or the like, rock bands don't have this "LOOK AT ME!!!" attitude, they get it done and get out, something your idenitkt acts of today could learn from.
    Rock bands are the first to help people, the first to be humble and the first to not give a flying f--k when some ignorant twat such as yourself gives a comment that holds less water than a bottomless bucket.
  • Gabriele Funaro from Laveno Mombello, ItalyI don't care about defamatory opinions against Iron Maiden and Steve Harris in particular. Let me just say that this song is an incredible example of techique, composition ability and truly passion for music. It's one of the most complicated Iron Maiden's songs ever, and definitely one of the most complicated in the entire music history, not only metal. About the "inspiration" let me just tell you; how many songwriters spend their time reading books to write new lyrics?? I think not many, just those who are a little intellectual and hungry for knowledge. Nowadays we hear songs like "baby baby, come here baby" and crap like that, contrarily, we have bands like Iron Maiden writing intricated patterns of music and words taken from literature and cinema. Now, please don't tell me this is lack of fantasy or inspiration, this is pure passion for art and culture!!!
  • Crystal from San Diego, CaSo many people have so many negetive things to say about Iron Maiden... But are these same people traveling from country to country,immensely famous, the World over without EVER comprimising their beliefs or integrity for money? NO. Iron Maiden is STILL world famous for ONE reason: They are good at what they do and don't need to do anything except play their music to prove it. No reality TV. No corporate endorsements. No bull. YOU try to sing like that and THEN tell me Iron Maiden isn't tallented.
  • David from Tadley, United Kingdomresponse to Jerry:

    i agree Frank Herbert is a great writer but disagree about Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden are an amazing band. i don't know what metal you listen to but Metal is not arrogant and discordant. my opinion is you are just an ignorant a**hole who doesn't have a wide taste in music at all.

    also to Jeff: Steve Harris has written other songs not inspired by books or history. some that he thought of himself. also Maiden aren't the only band to write songs inspired by books and history, many bands have done that over time.

  • Jerry from Somewhere, CaI laughed when I read Frank Herbert's response, being that he is an astounding writer and Iron Maiden is a horrible band. From the lyrical content of this song you can tell "Harris" didn't understand the point of the novels at all, and probably didn't read past the first three books if he even made it that far. He just threw in some vocabulary that sounded cool to him and glorified an anti-hero. Frank did like rock music, something tells me he liked most all forms of music, but metal is just arrogant and discordant. He recognized this and didn't want the novel people would remember him by to be associated with that scene. I don't blame him, I commend him for his integrity.
  • Ruben from Fairbanks, Aki got turned on to Maiden the first time i snuck out of the house and went to a neighborhood party. an older boyfriend of my neighbor was playing his NEW Piece of Mind LP. and the rest is history. once i got my copy, To Tame a Land, and Still Life jumped out into my mind. i've been a Maiden fan since.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandJeff... Inspiration is flattery if it's done correctly, if not then it's plagerism and Steve Harris uses other's work as inspiration for songs and that to me is extremely flattering.
  • Brett from Northglenn, CoHow abouth this for an original thought, Jeff: the death of Steve's father. Blood Brothers is inspired by that.
    Back off 'Arry. He's the man and here's why:
    Maiden introduced me to so many things I wouldn't have sought out for myself. Poerty (Rime), History (The Trooper), Literature (Rue Morgue). These are just some examples but there are more. Steve's broad horizons broadened mine and I'm a better person because of it.
  • Brett from Edmonton, CanadaIt wasn't that Herbert disliked rock music (everyone likes some sort of rock music, considering that the Beatles and Sum 41 are both rock music by definition) but that he hated metal specifically.
  • Chris from Dallas, United StatesF--k censorship groups Iron Madien is f--king awesome.
  • Josh from Warrenville, IlIron Maiden's main source of song writing material is history, followed closely by other peoples ideas. Almost all of Iron Maidens songs are based on one of the two, with only a few that genereated entirely out of Steve's mind.
  • Jad from Batroun, Otherwell dude Steve harris did get inspired from others and had a lot of his own ideas and also not only him wrote the lyrics and their latest album was all about new issues!! don't talk like this about STeve Harris nor Iron Maiden
  • Jeff from Haltom City, TxIs it just me, or does it seem that Steve Harris has never had an original idea in his head, ever? Still, writing songs about other people's ideas seems to have made him a lot of money....
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