|Released 29 September 1986|
Release date 29 September 1986
Artist Iron Maiden
Producer Martin Birch
Genre Heavy metal
|Studio Compass Point Studios
Somewhere in Time (1986) Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
Similar Iron Maiden albums, Heavy metal albums
Somewhere in Time is the sixth studio album by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 29 September 1986 on EMI in Europe and its sister label Capitol Records in North America. (It was re-released by Sanctuary/Columbia Records in the US in 1998). The studio follow-up to the hugely successful Powerslave/Live After Death pair, it was their first album to feature guitar synthesisers.
Since its release, it has been certified platinum by the RIAA, having sold over one million copies in the US alone.
Somewhere on Tour was the release's supporting tour.
Background, writing and recording
Somewhere in Time is the band's first studio effort following the extensive World Slavery Tour of 1984-85, which was physically draining for the group, lasting 331 days and comprising 187 concerts. The resulting exhaustion is credited as the main factor in the complete lack of songwriting contributions from lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson, whose material was rejected by the rest of the band. Dickinson had written several "acoustic-based" songs, explaining that "I felt we had to come up with our Physical Graffiti or Led Zeppelin IV ... we had to get it onto another level or we'd stagnate and drift away," although bassist and primary writer Steve Harris "thought he'd lost the plot completely," surmising that "he was probably more burnt out than anyone at the end of that last tour." On the other hand, the record is also notable for the number of "fully formed" songs written by guitarist Adrian Smith, who wrote both of the album's singles: "Wasted Years" and "Stranger in a Strange Land", the former of which is the only song on the record not to feature synthesisers. This meant that "Somewhere in Time" would be the first album for which Harris wouldn't write or co-write any of its singles.
Following the World Slavery Tour, the group were given four months to recuperate, with Harris, Smith and guitarist Dave Murray spending the time experimenting with new equipment. The result was a marked change in sound for Iron Maiden, as it was their first to use guitar synthesisers, although on their next release, 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the effects were provided by keyboards instead. Given their time off, this was their first studio album not to be released a year after their previous one, the band insisting that they have more time "to get it right without hurrying for a change," comments Harris. It was also one of their most expensive records, with the bass and drums recorded in the Bahamas, the guitars and vocals recorded in The Netherlands and the mixing taking place in New York.
Although "space and time" are common themes throughout the release, with songs such as "Wasted Years", "Caught Somewhere in Time", "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Deja-Vu", the band never intended for it to be a concept album, with Harris stating, "We certainly never went in there and said, 'Right let's write a load of songs on the subject of time.'" While the majority of the release's songs have disappeared from the band's live shows shortly after its supporting tour, "Wasted Years" and "Heaven Can Wait" have often been played since. Performances of "Heaven Can Wait" have featured groups of local fans and celebrities invited onstage to sing along during the song's middle section.
The 2008 tribute CD Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden, released by Kerrang! magazine, features covers of two of the album's songs; "Wasted Years" by DevilDriver and "Caught Somewhere in Time" by Madina Lake.
The cover for Somewhere in Time, created by the band's then regular artist Derek Riggs, displays a cyborg-enhanced Eddie in a futuristic, Blade Runner-inspired environment. Much like the cover of Powerslave, the wraparound album cover holds a plethora of references to earlier Iron Maiden albums and songs, such as:
Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.
1Caught Somewhere in Time7:26
3Sea of Madness5:42