Flight of Icarus

Flight of Icarus

Infobox Single
Name = Flight of Icarus

Artist = Iron Maiden
from Album = Piece of Mind
B-side = "I've Got the Fire"
Released = 11 April 1983
Format =
Recorded = 1982
Genre = Heavy metal
Length = 3:49
Label = EMI
Writer = Adrian Smith
Bruce Dickinson
Producer =
Certification =
Chart position =
* #12 (1983 US Rock Radio)
* #11 (UK charts)
Last single = "The Number of the Beast"
This single = "Flight of Icarus"
Next single = "The Trooper"

"Flight of Icarus" is a 1983 song by Iron Maiden. It is the band's eighth single and the first from the "Piece of Mind" album. It was the first single by Iron Maiden that was released in the United States. It was also the only Iron Maiden single to receive much airplay in the U.S., guaranteeing it a spot in the 1983 Rock Radio charts. "Flight of Icarus" also made it into the UK charts.


The song is loosely based on the ancient Greek myth of Icarus who was imprisoned with his father Daedalus in the Labyrinth on Crete. So the pair fabricated wings for themselves from feathers and wax. Unfortunately Icarus, not heeding the advice of his father, flew too close to the sun, melting the wax that held the feathers together and thus fell to his death in the sea. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson admits that he had modified the original tale to make it an allegory of teenage rebellion against adult authority (which caused the death of Icarus in this case).

The single cover, in something of a parody of the original myth, portrays a winged Eddie killing Icarus with a flamethrower. Interestingly, Icarus resembles the figure in Evening: Fall of Day, by William Rimmer, which was used as a label logo by Led Zeppelin. The death of the figure on this single cover is a reference to Led Zeppelin's break-up a few years before. Fact|date=October 2008

Bassist Steve Harris feels that the studio version should have been played faster, so they play it faster live, claiming "This little extra touch gives it a bit more fire".

The first solo in "Flight of Icarus" is played by Dave Murray whilst the second solo is played by Adrian Smith. The ending solo is played by Dave Murray.

The songs F# -> E verse progression is remarkably similar to "The Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, featuring the same notes and same tempo.The chorus interestingly features the same chord progression as the Immigrant song, albeit 3 semi tones up.The Immigrant Song chorus progression is A -> B > C, where as The Flight Of Icarus is F# -> G#-> A.

The video for this track was directed by Jim Yukich and was filmed in the Bahamas at Compass Point Studios (where the album was recorded) as the band played a staged recording session of the track. Also, drummer Nicko McBrain appeared as a blue faced grim reaper. Also, producer Martin Birch had a cameo in the clip as his face morphed with Maiden mascot Eddie. A newer edit of the video features Flash animation by Camp Chaos spliced between the original footage, replacing McBrain and Birch's acting scenes and some of the '80s-style visual effects. The animation depicts Icarus fleeing away from a winged Eddie (as seen on the album cover).

"I've Got the Fire" is a cover of the song "I Got the Fire" from the Montrose album Paper Money in 1974. This is, in fact, the second time the song has appeared as a B-side. It first appeared as a B-side to the "Sanctuary" single. However, instead of a live recording, this is a proper studio production.

The song can also be found as a cover version on the tribute album "Numbers from the Beast" featuring Ripper Owens on vocals, Doug Aldrich on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass, and Simon Wright on drums. This version follows the basic configuration of the original composition but departs in terms of the form of the guitar solo.

Track listing

# "Flight of Icarus" (Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson) - 3:49
# "I've Got the Fire" (Ronnie Montrose; Montrose cover) - 3:53


*Bruce Dickinson - vocals
*Dave Murray - guitar
*Adrian Smith - guitar, backing vocals
*Steve Harris - bass guitar, backing vocals
*Nicko McBrain - drums

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