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.