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If the local record stores that you frequent are anything like the ones around where I live, you’ve probably come across a number of single/EP releases from Iron Maiden. Featuring unique cover art and a variety of rare bonus tracks along with their (sometimes) hefty price tag, picking the one that’s right for you might seem difficult. Not to fear! I’ve gotten my hands on a few of them myself and out of the graciousness of my own heart, will be reviewing them for your informational purposes.
First up is the “Women in Uniform” single. One of the more historically important EPs for Maiden, their cover of the Skyhooks’ “Women in Uniform” was one of their early hits in the UK, though the track never made a studio album. Rendered with the bass heavy, harmonized guitar sound that was Maiden’s trademark, only the super-catchy chorus gives the impression that this track was written by anybody else but Iron Fucking Maiden. I’ve never been particularly fond of the track (reminds me of “Running Free” I guess), but here it is in all its glory for those that dig it.
The back side of this EP features, as many of these singles do, an exclusive pair of live tracks. This single sports an especially attractive pair that, to me, is much more valuable than the main track. First up is “Drifter,” my personal favorite Paul Di’anno-era Maiden track, from the very end of the Killers LP. Paul sounds just a little off on this version, but he leads a nice crowd-participation/bridge sequence after a particularly fine guitar solo. The other song is the epic “Phantom of the Opera,” arguably their debut LP’s best track. This version is pretty tight as well, showing off just how good a drummer Clive Burr was. The Murray/Stratton lead bit is pretty sweet too.
Once again, Maiden completists should have “Women in Uniform,” but the real treasure is the live tracks. Since the cover art is just a variation of their debut cover (on the German edition anyway, turns out the UK version has better cover art and the song “Invasion” in place of “Drifter), it’s not really a factor for this release.