Be Quick or Be Dead by Iron Maiden, released as the first single release from their ninth studio album Fear of the Dark, released in 1992.
The song is about several political scandals taking place at the time of its release, including the Robert Maxwell banking scandal, European stock market crashes, and the BCCI case. It was released a month prior to the album and reached No. 2 on the UK singles chart. The song is faster and heavier than most Iron Maiden songs, and is the band’s first single co-written by Janick Gers.
The B-side features two official songs and one hidden track, including an original blues number (“Nodding Donkey Blues”) and Montrose cover (“Space Station No. 5”), and the unlisted “Bayswater Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”. The last is a spoken word comedy piece by Bruce Dickinson (along with acoustic guitar accompaniment from Janick Gers) in which he imitates and makes fun of Maiden manager Rod Smallwood. A similar mockery of Smallwood was released before, as a B-side titled “Sheriff of Huddersfield”, which was available on the “Wasted Years” single.
Tabs and backing tracks can be found in the Premium channel section of the web site.
Fear of the Dark was Iron Maiden’s first double studio LP, as well as the longest album from Dickinson’s first tenure in the band.
The album’s musical style showed some experimentation with “Be Quick or Be Dead”, a fast tempo song in a heavier thrash style released as the album’s first single, and “Wasting Love“, the group’s first power ballad, which dates back to Dickinson’s first solo album, Tattooed Millionaire. Both songs were Dickinson/Gers collaborations.