GETTING MORE TALE #739: Aces High
I am fortunate, oh so very fortunate, that I still have my old VHS tapes. Watching them again, over 30 years down the road, has been the closest I’ve ever come to real time travel. These tapes were my childhood! I sat in the basement, remote control in hand, recording as much music as possible from, well, MuchMusic!
The Pepsi Power Hour was in its infancy, with J.D. Roberts in the hosting chair. One by one, each video rolls out in the order I recorded them. In many cases that means the order in which I first heard them!
The good fortune that I even have these tapes goes further, back to my parents. They had pay TV, meaning we had MuchMusic when it first began, not when it became free in the late 80s. They bought a VCR and pretty much let me monopolise it when the Power Hour was on. Even though it was the middle of the big “Satan scare”, they let me watch the Power Hour, unlike the Dolphs, the weirdo neighbours across the street. They didn’t even let their kids watch Dr. Who. Here I am watching Ronnie James Dio slaying people with his sword in “Holy Diver”. A few clips earlier, a bathing suit clad teacher was dancing on desks in a Van Halen video. Then there was Kiss. Were they really “Knights in Satan’s Service”? My mom asked me that question, but she didn’t stop me from watching. That couldn’t have been easy, considering the subject matter of “I Love It Loud”.
So I kept recording videos, and stored the tapes safely, as if knowing that 30 years down the road I’d be wanting them again. Iron Maiden came up frequently on the earliest tapes, and I can’t help thinking of my dad.
The only Iron Maiden videos my dad liked were “Aces High” and “The Trooper”. He approved of the lyrics and explained them to me in historical context. I knew all about the Battle of Britain long before I hit the age that they teach you about it in school. I knew the Charge of the Light Brigade, what a “Cossack” was, and where it happened. That’s because of Iron Maiden and my dad! He used it as educational material. He really seemed to like those lyrics.
Today, my friend Tom who is a teacher uses rock music in the same way — to teach.
“Aces High” was always a personal favourite. Not only was it a great song, but also a great video. The single had some of the best cover art you could find on a Maiden vinyl. “Aces High” received many spins, on the turntable and the VCR alike. At that age, my sister was like a little shadow, and copied me with everything. We watched videos together. We also went to the same school. In one class, she and her friends were asked about their favourite songs. My sister said “Aces High” but they wrote down “Ace Is High”. Come on, people! It’s not that kind of song! She was in the 4th grade.
Now I sit, watching my tapes, reliving old memories fresh and new once again. What a lucky guy I am.