Written by guitarist Adrian Smith, "Wasted Years" was the first single from the album, and is one of Maiden's most accessible and mainstream-sounding songs. It is probably as close as they can get to the mainstream and still retain their unique Maiden sound. There is a long and very melodic chorus by Maiden standards.
Suggestion credit: Ryan - Bethany, OK
The song is about the fleeting nature of time. They chose not to name it "Golden Years" so as not to confuse it with the David Bowie song.
The band went rogue during a 1986 performance of this song on the German TV show P.I.T., where they were expected to mime along to a recording. Within the first 30 seconds, lead singer Bruce Dickinson grabbed Steve Harris' bass and Harris took over on "vocals." From there, it was full-on mockery as the band made it clear they had no interest in a recorded performance.
Speaking with UK's Total Guitar magazine, Adrian Smith recalled his reluctance to share this song with bassist and principal songwriter Steve Harris as he thought it was too commercial. "I was messing around with a little four-track and I'd just put that riff down for 'Wasted Years'," he said. "I was playing Steve some other stuff and I played it to him by accident and he said, 'What's that?' I said, 'You probably won't like this as it's so commercial,' but he really liked it and insisted we do it. So something you'd think he wouldn't want to do, he does."
Groovus Maximus from Boston, MaJust imagine if this brilliant masterpiece had never seen the light of day! Thanks Adrian for writing it, and 'Arry for recognizing what a great song it is -- one of the best ever by Maiden or any other band. I can't imagine life without "Wasted Years," and even though I was 19 when it came out, and I'm 50 now, it still feels so fresh and innovative whenever I hear it. Paradoxically, it felt familiar and comforting the day it was released, and it always washes over me with waves of nostalgia for the "good old days." I saw them "Somewhere On Tour" in 1987 and it was phenomenal despite Dave & Adrian's infatuation, and insistence on noodling with, their new guitar synth toys (what a letdown at solo time!). Up the Irons!!
Carlos from Coamo, Puerto RicoI do not know why but that song always made me understand that Adrian Smith was already becoming aware of all the wasted years away from home, and the chorus is more like one of the wise counsel of his teammate Dave Murray. After two years Adrian left the band.
Caitlin from Colmesneil, TxAnd, Johnathan, the sad thing is, Nicko McBrain, the drummer, is a Christian. He's talked openly in interviews about how he goes to church on Sundays when the band's not on tour, and takes his Bible on the road!
Johnathan from Fort Wayne, InI'm in eighth grade at a catholic school. In my religion class someone is assinged to bring in a song and play it as our beginning prayer before class. And we get graded on it. One of my friends did this song. I completely agree with the blind hatred of metal. The song started and the girl next to me goes "This is the kind of music you guys listen to?" I just said yeah and she made a face of disgust and looked away. The video was old and maiden had shirt shorts and bad teeth, a true classic. This song really has a great message, perfect for a prayer even if people hate 80's metal these days.
Caitlin from Colmesneil, TxI have a story about this song that demonstrates the ignorance and blind hatred of metal, or anything in general, because of culture differences: We were going to have an 8th grade graduation ceremony at my school to celebrate us transitioning from Jr. high to high school. They put up a huge sign in the hall calling for th grade kids to audition for 8th grade graduation singer, to perform a song at the ceremony. I asked about the rules and they said to pick a song with a message relative to graduation, and you'd sing that at audition, and, if you made it, at graduation. The theme for that year's ceremony was "Oh, the places we'll go", so I picked the song Wasted Years. Now, understand, I live in a small town where I'm practically the only one that listens to metal bands like Maiden, and I'm also new. Well, come audition, I was up against a girl named Kelsi who's lived in town all her life, and was singing a country song called "Lean on Me" (which has nothing to do with graduation). She got up and sang, then it was my turn. I got up there, and one of the teachers acting as judges asked me what I was gonna sing. I said "Wasted Years" and she replied "I've never heard of it. Who's it by?" and I said "Iron Maiden". She turned away mumbling something along the lines of "figures..." Well, later when they'd decided, they got us all together and told us that whoever didn't make it, they didn't want to hear any complaints. Then they sent me out, and talked to Kelsi alone. She came out with this smirk on her face when they called me in. And they told me "You didn't make it. We thought Kelsi's song was better." Didn't say anything about the singing sound, just that they liked her song better (because mine was a metal song). Just as well, the night of 8th grade graduation she sang like a combination of a cow and a dying cat...
Eddy from Brownsville, TxThis song makes me feel happy
Sillyrabbit from San Antonio, TxThough you have to pause the video just right in order to see them, the video for the song includes many little-known pieces of artwork from the band's early history. Images that were included were the accompanying artwork for singles releases for the songs: Sanctuary, Women In Uniform, Twilight Zone, Purgatory, Running Free, Run to the Hills, Phantom of the Opera, and Hallowed be Thy Name.
Matt from Houston, Txone of my favorites from maiden