Second re-release of the seventh single by the legendary British Heavy Metal band.
"The Number Of The Beast" is Iron Maiden's second single from their 1982 album of the same title.
Upon release in 1982, the song caused controversy in the United States where its religious subject matter caused outrage amongst religious groups. In spite of this, it remains one of the band's more popular songs, reaching No. 18 in the UK singles charts, and has been performed on almost all of their concert tours.
According to the song's writer, bassist and band-founder Steve Harris, it was inspired by a nightmare he had after watching the film "Damien: Omen II", in addition to the poem Tam o' Shanter by Robert Burns.
The song opens with a spoken word passage, read by English actor Barry Clayton, which quotes Revelation 12:12 and Revelation 13:18. According to lead vocalist, Bruce Dickinson, the band originally asked Vincent Price to read the intro, but decided to hire Clayton after Price refused to do it for anything less than £25,000.
The track is known for its very long, high-pitched and guttural wail at the end of the intro, which AllMusic describes as "the most blood-curdling Dickinson scream on record". In the "Classic Albums" documentary based on "The Number Of The Beast" album, Dickinson states that it came about through frustration with producer Martin Birch, who forced him to sing the introduction repeatedly for hours on end.
The single's cover is the last of three singles to feature Riggs' depiction of Satan, which debuted on the cover of the "Purgatory" single. The cover of "The Number Of The Beast" is the aftermath to the cover of the "Run To The Hills" single where Eddie and Satan are depicted in battle.
"The Number of the Beast" is one of the band's most popular songs, appearing at # 7 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs and # 6 in Martin Popoff's book "The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time", in the list was compiled from 15,000 votes submitted by musicians, music journalists and the general public.
Recorded from the original analogue master tapes.
Parlophone Records Ltd., A Warner Music Group Company, 1982/2014 (2564625169). Made in EU.
1. The Number Of The Beast
2. Remember Tomorrow (live)