Iron Maiden have risen to the top of metal superiority. Across their illustrious career they have released sixteen studio albums with three different vocalists at the helm. The three vocalists, Blaze Bayley, Bruce Dickinson, and Paul Di'anno, have all released legendary music during their respective time in the band. Paul Di'anno is admired for his work on Maiden's first two albums, Bruce Dickinson is revered as one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time due to his work on 12 Iron Maiden albums, and Blaze Bayley treasured by many Maiden fans for his work on two albums in the middle of Maiden's career.
The one man who sticks out from this trio is Blaze Bayley. His time in the band is not looked on very fondly by casual Iron Maiden fans and even some of the more hardcore ones. Over the years, many people who once turned their backs on Bayley's efforts are starting to enjoy his work with the band. Whether you like him or not, he is still apart of the Iron Maiden family and released two albums with them, 1995's The X Factor and 1998's Virtual XI. Today is Bayley's 54th birthday, so we thought it'd be a great idea to honor the only man that took the role as Bruce Dickinson's replacement in Iron Maiden.
Here are the Top 10 Iron Maiden songs with Blaze Bayley with a bonus list featuring his top 10 solo songs!
10. Doctor Doctor - 'B' side to 'Lord of the Flies'
The list starts off with Iron Maiden's cover of the UFO classic, 'Doctor Doctor'. Although this is a 'B' side and did not appear on an Iron Maiden album, it is a great song. The band begin every concert playing the 1974 song on the speaker before they take the stage so in 1995 they finally decided to record the song themselves. The song is awesome and the production sounds pretty great, almost better than on The X Factor. The whole song is just substantial.
9. Como Estais Amigos - Virtual XI
This song closes out 1998's Virtual XI and does so in a somber way. This song would ultimately be the final song recorded with Blaze Bayley and would close the chapter on a difficult time in the band's career. This song was never played live, and maybe that's a good thing considering how slow it is. The song tells the tale of the Argentinian soldiers who lost their lives in the Falkland Islands War and how it impacted them in no positive way. Iron Maiden always write the best songs about war, and here is another not-so-talked-about example. It should also be of note that this is the first of two Iron Maiden songs with a Spanish title.
8. Lord of the Flies - The X Factor
The second single to The X Factor comes in at number eight. The song is a retelling of the story from the William Golding novel, Lord of the Flies in which a group of children get stranded on a deserted island and slowly lose any form of civility they had and become wild savages. 'Lord of the Flies' is one of the most fondly remembered songs from the Bayley era and was even played by the band after his departure from the band. The song was played live all the way until 2003, where it was the last song of the Bayley era played by the band to date. The guitar solo by Janick in the song is great and is one of my favorites by him.
7. Virus - single from compilation album Best of the Beast
After 1995's The X Factor, many critics who once heralded Iron Maiden as a top band turned their backs and laughed at their efforts. The band did not appreciate this as they felt that themselves and a number, probably in the singular digits, were happy with their new direction. To take a little jab at those who rejected Maiden's new album, they placed this song as the lead track, or track 11 depending on the version you own, of their 1996 compilation album Best of the Beast. The song features a long soft-spoken out intro before climaxing into a melodic rocker that we have come to expect from Maiden. It's an awesome song that I wish they would have played live a time or two.
6. Fortunes of War - The X Factor
Remember how I said Iron Maiden writes the best songs about war? Well that story continues on this song from Iron Maiden's tenth album, The X Factor. This song tells the tale of a soldier coming home from war and dealing with the tragedies of a mentally or physically crippled soldier dealing with nightmares and having to cope every day with terrible memories. It can be seen as a counterpart to 'The Aftermath' which appears later on the album, or even 'Afraid to Shoot Stranges' from Fear of the Dark. The song starts with a slow intro like a few other songs on the album before rising up and delivering a punch with the chorus and subsequent verses.
5. Futureal - Virtual XI
Iron Maiden's eleventh album, Virtual XI starts off with a thunderous intro that settles you in nicely for the rest of the album. The song describes those who get lost in the world of virtual gaming to the point that they literally die, which was a problem in the late-90's, or at least certain parent groups thought it was a problem. The lyrics on this song are some of the best from the Bayley era and it is now a staple in his solo live set.
4. Sign of the Cross - The X Factor
The other intro to a Blaze album is not as fast, but just as epic. 'Sign of the Cross' stood as Maiden's second longest song for many years until being bested by a couple songs from The Book of Souls. This eleven minute masterpiece prepares the listener for what the rest of the album is to be. The long intro, epic chorus and a magnificent instrumental piece. It is a perfect recipe for many songs on this album and is masterfully done on this song. It's a great song that made its way on several setlists after Blaze's departure.
3. The Clansman - Virtual XI
Of all the songs on Blaze Bayley's two efforts with Iron Maiden, no song is more cherished than 'The Clansman'. And with good reason. 'The Clansman' is a triumphant song with great instrumentals. The song tells the story of the 1995 movie Braveheart about Scotland's history and uprising against the British. It is a great song to hear live and is definitely one of the best from the era.
2. Man on the Edge - The X Factor
When Blaze Bayley joined Iron Maiden in 1994, many were eager for Maiden to release an album to show what they could do with their new singer. They dropped their first single with Bayley in mid-1995 and showed the world what they were capable of. 'Man on the Edge' delivers that typical Maidenesque sound with galloping chords and a pounding beat. Bayley delivers one of his best vocal performances on one of the most fondly remembered moments from the era.
1. Lightning Strikes Twice - Virtual XI
On a largely personal note, this song finds its way to number one on my list of Iron Maiden Blaze songs as it is one of the first Iron Maiden songs I heard as a young boy and keened my interest in the band to what it evolved to today. The song starts with a brilliant guitar driven intro before diving into a good delivery by Blaze on vocals. The lyrics are not the best on a Maiden song, but send a simple message of awaiting for a disaster to strike. It is a terrific song that is among my favorite Iron Maiden songs of all-time!
Top 10 Blaze Bayley solo songs
Blaze Bayley did not throw in the towel after his gig with Iron Maiden, he quickly released a number of solo albums and they have all been well-received. He has released eight solo albums and here are the best 10 songs from them.
10. Ten Seconds
8. The Brave
7. Soundtrack of my Life
5. Hollow Head
4. Stranger to the Light
3. Kill and Destroy
2. Stare at the Sun
1. Silicon Messiah
Top 5 Wolfsbane Songs
Blaze was also in a band called Wolfsbane before his days in Iron Maiden, They have released four albums and even opened for Iron Maiden in 1990 before Blaze was in the band. Here are the five best songs from that band.
5. Did it for the Money
4. I Like it Hot
2. Man Hunt
1. Killing Machine
So, there are the best songs from Blaze's career. We'd like to once again wish Blaze Bayley a happy birthday and good luck on his current tour for his eighth studio album, Endure and Survive.