REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Edward The Great (2002)

Part 31 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Edward The Great (2002)

“If you have purchased this then you have no doubt heard of Iron Maiden at some point during the band’s career over the last two-and-a-half decades.” – from the liner notes by Steve Harris

Clearly this CD (released simultaneous with the Eddie’s Archive box set) was not designed for the existing Iron Maiden fans.  The die hards were not the intended target market, they got the box set to satisfy them.

In fact, Maiden wisely made the cover art (a ho-hum piece by someone named Tom Adams) available for free download.  They knew some fans would just want it, and didn’t to force them to shell out for an album full of songs they already had.  Again.

Yes, this was Maiden’s third compilation CD since 1996’s Best of the Beast.  To keep things interesting, at least they shook up the format a bit.  Unlike Beast, this is not a career spanning anthology.  Unlike Ed Hunter, the fans did not vote on the tracks.  Edward the Great was a simple chronological compilation of singles from 1982 to Brave To World.  It ends with a recent track, a live version of “Fear of the Dark” from 2001’s Rock In Rio disc.  I don’t understand the lack of Di’Anno tracks while still including two Bayley songs.

(NOTE:  Maiden have also re-released the disc with an updated tracklist.  I don’t have that, so I can’t really talk about it.    Except to say it still has Blaze stuff on it!)

There’s an attractive booklet but not enough pictures.  For a CD called Edward the Great, I think a few Eddies from the past would be in order.   Oh well.

With the exception of the Blaze material, which simply breaks up the flow of the disc, every song belongs here.  You could argue about exclusions, certainly.  Most conspicuous by its absence is “Aces High”.  You could also make a case for including the original studio version of “Fear of the Dark”.  Playing Devil’s advocate, perhaps Maiden included the live version to demonstrate the power of an Iron Maiden concert to the initiated.

Whatever the case may be, as a greatest hits set I find this one lacking a bit.  Considering the format, I would have chosen to call it the “Bruce years” and remove the Blaze tracks.  Then you’d have room for two more classic singles (perhaps “Aces High”, “Tailgunner”, or “Be Quick of Be Dead”.  As it stands I don’t understand excluding Di’Anno classics in favour of more recent Blaze material (two songs that they weren’t playing live anymore anyway).

1.5/5 stars.  Better compilations were to come.

59 comments

    1. Well, as I’m sure you’re aware, there are more Maiden comps coming. Three more in fact, that I have in my collection. So with Beast, Ed Hunter, and Edward the Great…that’s SIX (six six).

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        1. You got it sir. They could have thrown those two songs on the bonus EP. Ahh well. I LOVE Chip Away. That is among my favourite Aerotunes of all time.

          1. Chip Away
          2. Lightning Strikes
          3. Draw The Line

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        2. Yes you should! I would say it is a good solid 1/3 rarities/unreleased. A lot of demos, a lot of unreleased live, all good really. Some songs, like say “Moving Out”, I prefer the Pandora’s Box version.

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        3. If you want to wait for me to do a review, I probably won’t get to it for a while, but at that price I’d say it’s a great value. For added value it has an old Steven Tyler solo single from the 1960’s, a Whitford/St. Holmes track (try finding that album!) and a Joe Perry solo track. Lots of unreleased songs too. “Downtown Charlie” is a classic. At the end you can hear Tyler say, “Man if that tape wasn’t rolling…”

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        4. You mentioned earlier that the packaging has changed?

          I still have the old “long box” style, which I prefer. BIGGER PICTURES!

          There are some classic ones in there too…Tyler walking through an airport with an open bottle of beer.

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        5. It’s in one of those DVD sized book-style cases. So the book is bigger again which I prefer too. I think the previous version (after the long box was replaced) would just have had a CD Booklet. Haven’t opened it yet but it’s a nicer edition than the last one.

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        6. I have seen the previous edition, in the CD sized box. Columbia did the exact same style of reissue for Journey’s Time3 box set. It was originally a long box with a huge booklet, then shrunk down for the CD sized box.

          Both box sets were remastered, but I decided that I preferred the original size to the improved sound . quality.

          I don’t mind the book style cases…EXCEPT when the inner trays break! But I did find an online store that sells replacement inner trays that you can glue in, a store called Sleeve City. I’ve been forced to buy CD cases from them, just clear double CD cases, because nobody in town carries them anymore. Such is the life of folks like us who listen to outdated media, eh?

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        7. I hate it when the trays break, especially on double CDs! And those weird new jewel cases (the ones with the curvy corners). Anyhoo, luckily I’ve not had any of my Book-style trays break so that’s not been a problem. Fingers crossed.

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        8. The curvy corners, yes. Super Audio and DVD Audio seem to come in cases like that. I haven’t broken any (knock wood) but I do believe Sleeve City sells those too. They literally sell replacement ANYTHING.

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        9. Oooo I hate when bands do that. Even the Stones did that on the recent Grrr! set. I mean, I do NOT need yet another compilation of their hits. But now there’s two new songs I do not have. Bastards.

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        10. Well, and the tracks on that bonus fifth disc and 7″ EP:

          Bonus disc – IBC demos, 1963
          “Diddley Daddy”
          “Road Runner”
          “Bright Lights, Big City”
          “Honey What’s Wrong”
          “I Want to Be Loved”

          7-inch vinyl EP – BBC session, 1964
          Side one
          “Route 66”
          “Cops and Robbers”
          Side two
          “You Better Move On”
          “Mona (I Need You Baby)”

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        11. What about Uriah Heep? Don’t they hold the record for the most compilations? By the way, I saw them for the eighth time the day before yesterday. Even got a pick from Mick (my second one, I think).

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        12. Eighth time! Nice! uriah may have more compilations, but over here in Canada, I haven’t seen them. I don’t know what the situation is like in Europe, but here unfortunately it’s hard to find a good selection of discs in the shop. That’s why I go to Amazon most of the time.

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  1. Yeah, if I was gonna buy a comp of their stuff, this has two strikes against it:

    1) Live track. I have already ranted about live tracks on hits compilations.
    2) Blaze Bayley. I never need to hear that guy “sing” every again.

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        1. What’s interesting is that, when my buddy gave me these albums, I immediately went through all of the hits discs (I think three sets) and made one disc out of all the tracks – cutting out all the duplicates. It’ll be interesting to go back to that initial mix and see what’s changed, with the new mix!

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  2. By the time I was free to listen to whatever music I wanted, however, my tastes had changed. Iron Maiden was passé—as was most 80s metal. Years later, around the time Edward the Great came out, I was yearning to hear that style of music again.

    I found a copy of Edward the Great in a shuttering San Diego music store—almost all of the major music stores were closing their doors at the time and it was a golden opportunity to purchase albums at deep discounts by bands I was eager to discover.

    After two or three listens, I was hooked. I had to hear more! A week later, I bought Powerslave… then came Piece of Mind, Number of the Beast, and so on. Six months later, I was watching Iron Maiden perform live—on tour with Dio and Motorhead.

    So for me, Edward the Great was my gateway album. I agree with your review, however, in that it lacks a lot of great material. I also don’t understand the song selection. But hey, it served its purpose and proved to be a good introduction.

    Final note, I’ve been reading your Iron Maiden reviews throughout the day and think they are fantastic—some of the BEST reviews I’ve ever read. Thank you.

    Like

    1. Oops, the beginning of reply was cut off. Here is my full response:

      Edward the Great was my proper introduction to Iron Maiden, my “gateway” album (see Mike’s post: #367: Greatest Hits 2). Although I grew up listening to a lot of 80s metal and hard rock, my exposure to Iron Maiden was very limited. In the interest of full disclosure, I grew up as Jehovah’s Witness—so that kind of music simply wasn’t allowed in my household. I had to carefully choose my albums and tended to gravitate towards bands with less pronounced and shocking imagery.

      By the time I was free to listen to whatever music I wanted, however, my tastes had changed. Iron Maiden was passé—as was most 80s metal. Years later, around the time Edward the Great came out, I was yearning to hear that style of music again.

      I found a copy of Edward the Great in a shuttering San Diego music store—almost all of the major music stores were closing their doors at the time and it was a golden opportunity to purchase albums at deep discounts by bands I was eager to discover.

      After two or three listens, I was hooked. I had to hear more! A week later, I bought Powerslave… then came Piece of Mind, Number of the Beast, and so on. Six months later, I was watching Iron Maiden perform live—on tour with Dio and Motorhead.

      So for me, Edward the Great was my gateway album. I agree with your review, however, in that it lacks a lot of great material. I also don’t understand the song selection. But hey, it served its purpose and proved to be a good introduction.

      Final note, I’ve been reading your Iron Maiden reviews throughout the day and think they are fantastic—some of the BEST reviews I’ve ever read. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awwwwwww! That’s probably the nicest comment I’ve ever received. Just wow, man!

        Who was I reading about recently that was also brought up Jehova’s Witness? Damn I cannot remember! Similar story though. Secular music like this was just not allowed.

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        1. Great question! I would be curious to know who it was. Despite the strict upbringing, I was still able to listen to a lot of secular music—but when it came 80s metal I had to be careful. I used to listen to a radio show called “The Wild Side” late at night (with my headphones)—it’s how I heard so many of the bands I enjoy today. When there is a will, there is a way!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I wanna say it was a rock star interview that I had read where the artist was raised in a JW household. Can’t remember who now of course.

          I grew up in a Catholic household and we didn’t have any rules about music. I found out years after the fact that my mom used to watch my music videos and make sure there was nothing in there troublesome. I had no idea she did that, but it could explain why some videos weren’t wound to the right spots.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. “I wanna say it was a rock star interview that I had read where the artist was raised in a JW household. Can’t remember who now of course.”

          IIRC, both Prince and Michael Jackson were (are) Jehova’s Witnesses. Not sure if they qualify as rock stars, thought.

          By the way, the new Opeth album seems right up our alleys!

          Liked by 2 people

        4. I know about MJ and Prince. Prince, in fact, has/had a residence in Ajax Ontario, not far from one of our record stores. Various people that worked there swore up and down that Prince himself had visited their houses. I have no reason to doubt the stories, I have heard that from others in the area!

          Liked by 1 person

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