“Twilight Zone” was the fourth single by Iron Maiden, released on 2 March 1981 and is the non-album single released a month after the Killers album. The song did not appear on the original album in February, but was included in the U.S. release in June and the international 1998 remaster. It did appear on the Japanese version, although originally mistakenly entitled “Details of Twilight Zone” as a result of a telex explaining the song to their Japanese colleagues, headlined “Details of Twilight Zone”, which they mistook to be the name of the song itself.
The song was originally intended to be the B-side of Wrathchild, but the band felt it was so strong that it deserved to be the A-side instead. “Wrathchild”, was also given ‘A-side’ status because, according to Steve Harris, “we had a live version of us doing ‘Wrathchild’ at the Rainbow, before Christmas, on video that we could use. We couldn’t afford to pay for another video for ‘Twilight Zone’, so we did a double A-side, because we knew we were gonna be off touring a lot and, if by any chance they wanted us on Top Of The Pops again, at least we’d got a video for ‘Wrathchild’ we could give them.”
The artwork was again created by Derek Riggs and like their two previous single covers it was subject to criticism in the press, where it was interpreted as “gratuitous sexism.” The media were offended by what appeared to be the band’s mascot, Eddie, spying on a young girl in her bedroom. It actually shows a ghostly image of Eddie in the mirror reaching out to Charlotte who is mourning her lost love.
It was released in the middle of the band’s UK Tour and was the their first single to feature guitarist Adrian Smith and was issued in three different colour variants, standard black, red and clear vinyl. The coloured discs can be very collectable but there is a handful of misspressed brown versions available and these have gained legendary status among collectors. The error occurred when the factory pressing plates were changed resulting in a muddy brown effect and only a few escaping the factory.
Paul Di’Anno – Vocals
Steve Harris – Bass
Dave Murray – Guitar
Adrian Smith – Guitar
Clive Burr – Drums
It was also the band’s first single to feature guitarist Adrian Smith and eventually peaked at Number 31 in the UK singles chart.
Text by Phil Ashdown.
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