As I’ve likely mentioned before, the artwork that Iron Maiden uses for their albums and singles are nothing short of spectacular. Seriously, just look at it for a minute. Eddie, their infamous mascot, has lost his face to the devil within as Eddie remains in Purgatory, never to be reconnected with his beloved, as shown on the 7-inch Twilight Zone cover.
The additional story that is told through art is incredible. Derek Riggs is one of the most iconic contemporary artists as a result of his life-long work with Iron Maiden, among many others. I’ve always wondered what was in the twisted mind of Stephen King, but Derek Riggs has some serious cool stuff in that brain of his. The man needs to be entered into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Although, Maiden should be added first, but that is an argument for another day.
Speaking of artwork, I have only just noticed that the centre spindle on these 7-inch releases acts as a street light thereby illuminating Eddie as a creature of the night. It’s these small elements that streaming services just can’t offer. While I love my TIDAL Hi-Fi subscription, they’ve yet to figure out how to present artwork, beyond the cover art, in the digital era. Isn’t the technological era supposed to make everything easier and give us access to content that surpasses the analogue version? Apple had a novel idea with iTunes LP, but they dropped the ball as it was only ever functional within iTunes on a Mac or PC. Yes, iTunes is a lossy source, but as a collector I would buy the iTunes LP version as well because the artwork is often animated and uniquely different to all other releases. Even videos such as the making of the album and interviews were included in this iTunes LP format. Admittedly, the artist/record label would need to fund this additional content development, but I still declare that if Apple had allowed iTunes LP to merge to iPhone/iPad/Apple TV, then it could have been a major success. I’d pay twice as much for TIDAL if they could provide me with an exact replica of the liner notes for all albums. They do offer the basics, but it is nothing more than a listing of the production personnel and a short bio.
While no streaming service offers the kind of granularity I’m after, Roon comes close with TIDAL Hi-Fi support built directly into the application, thereby allowing your own music and your streamed music to live in perfect synchronisation. Check out John H. Darko’s exceptional Roon Reviews Part 1, Part 1b, Part 2, and Part 2b.
Getting back to the music, Purgatory was the final single released from the 1981 Killers album. Despite being a sonic wonderland, with an amazing mix of lead and rhythm guitars, the single failed to break the top 50 in the UK upon release. How is that even possible? Okay, UK friends, what were you listening to in June 1981?
For what it’s worth, I believe Purgatory is stronger song than their previous single, Twilight Zone. Purgatory just has that special signature Maiden sound. As much as I enjoy Twilight Zone, it just isn’t in the same league as Purgatory.
Genghis Khan is the B-side and one of the most exceptional instrumental tracks in heavy metal history. Honesty, I can play this song on repeat for hours and never tire of it (after a half dozen times on the turntable, I turn to TIDAL Hi-Fi. Playing 7-inch 45rpm vinyl is fun, but it is also a lot of work). I have often wondered what would have happened if Maiden released this song as a single? That has me thinking, has there ever been an instrumental track reach the number 1 position on the charts? According to the ‘always reliable’ Wikipedia, there have been quite a few in the UK, but they are few and far between. During the decades spanning the 50s, 60s, and early 70s there had been quite a few instrumental number ones, but in the past four decades only three instrumental songs have reached that highly sought-after position. As someone who doesn’t tend to listen to lyrics, I find this shift fascinating. Now I just need to see if the recording of instrumental music has also decreased following the 70s.
You simply can’t go wrong with Purgatory. Featuring two of the best tracks from Killers, my advice is to pick up a copy of the limited edition 7-inch release while it is still available. The mastering is incredible and the artwork…seriously, just get it for the artwork.