Running Free by Iron Maiden is the 3rd track from their self titled debut album Iron Maiden. It was also Maiden’s first single release.
“Running Free” is the debut single by Iron Maiden, released on 8 February 1980 on the 7″ 45 rpm vinyl record format. It was written by Steve Harris and Paul Di’Anno. The song appears as the third track on the band’s debut album Iron Maiden (and the fourth track on its 1998 re-release). In 1985, a live version of the song was released as the first single from Live After Death (the band’s twelfth single). In 1990, the original single was reissued on CD and 12″ vinyl as part of The First Ten Years box, in which it was combined with the band’s next single, “Sanctuary“. The 1985 live single was also released as part of this box set, combined with 1985’s “Run to the Hills”.
According to vocalist Paul Di’Anno, who wrote the song’s lyrics, it is “a very autobiographical song, though of course I’ve never spent the night in an LA jail. It’s about being 16 and, like it says, just running wild and running free. It comes from my days as a skinhead.” The song is known to be one of the band’s more traditional rock numbers, which Mick Wall describes as “Iron Maiden at their punk-metal apotheosis,” and is still performed live to this day.
The single’s cover art is famously known as the first official appearance of Iron Maiden’s mascot, Eddie, although his face is obscured as the band did not want him unveiled until the album’s release. Several band names (such as Scorpions, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Sex Pistols and Led Zeppelin) are spray painted on the wall behind the youth in the picture, as well as the word “Hammers”, a tribute to West Ham United, and “Vambo” which refers to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
- Paul Di’Anno – lead vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Dennis Stratton – guitar & backing vocals on “Running Free” only
- Steve Harris – bass guitar & backing vocals
- Clive Burr – drums
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