Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Curio Cabinet Of Metal #3

Iron Maiden - The Wicker Man (U.S. Promo)

Muthas, Iron Maiden has always released multiple singles from each of their albums, and this was true in the year 2000 when the band released their Brave New World album.  In the United States they released this album on the Columbia Records imprint Portrait.  This imprint had recently been resurrected as a heavy metal label with the signings of Ratt, Cinderella, Great White, and The Union UndergroundMaiden moved from CMC Records to the label when Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith rejoined the band.  Anticipation was through the roof when a new album was released and the metal world eagerly awaited hearing anything from the album. 

The first single released from the album was “The Wicker Man” and in the United States it sounded like this:

I loved it!  It was a bracing blast of old, peppy Maiden of the kind that I love and that they rarely seem to do anymore. I ran out and bought Brave New World on release day, but, much to my dismay, the version of “The Wicker Man” on the album is different from the promo version!  WTF? Here’s the album version for comparison:

Notice that once the chorus of the promo version is different than the album version.  The promo version features the lyrics “Thy Will Be Done” following “Your Time Will Come” and eliminates a guitar part from the album version in the chorus.  I think the promo version is superior to the album version and I have no idea why the promo version wasn’t chosen for the album, and I can’t find any explanation for the difference in the research I’ve done.  By the way, the Iron Maiden song “The Wicker Man” is completely different from the Bruce Dickinson solo song “Wicker Man” which was recorded in 1997 but not released until 2001, just to confuse everyone further. Check out Bruce Bruce’s “Wicker Man” below:

I wanted the “Thy Will Be Done” version of “The Wicker Man” but where could I find it?  It clearly wasn’t on Brave New World so that led me to the single versions of the song.  I figured that the label probably put this video version on the various singles that were released.  Unfortunately, CD singles were rarely released in the United States by the year 2000 and “The Wicker Man” was no exception to this as Portrait/Columbia records didn’t release it as a single.  Well, my next step was to get some import singles from Europe because Iron Maiden was still releasing singles in Europe and they were fairly easy to get in the States.  Thanks internet!

I ended up ordering the following singles:

EMI Cat. No. 7243 8 88687 0 9

This is a four track single released in Europe on May 8, 2000.  This is part one of a two CD set and features the following track listing:

1.       The Wicker Man
2.       Man On The Edge (Recorded Live – Ed Hunter Tour 1999)
3.       Powerslave (Recorded Live – Ed Hunter Tour 1999)
4.       The Wicker Man – Enhanced Video

I eagerly cracked it opened to listen to track one hoping that it was the “Thy Will Be Done” version, but alas, it was the album version.  The track four video is also the album version in glorious 2000-era pixel vision! It’s beyond horrid. So this single was a dead end, but at least it did have a poster with the band and these ladies:

This left me with part 2 of the single release:

EMI Cat. No. 7243 8 88688 0 8

This is another four track single, but it came packaged in a clear pvc sleeve rather than a jewel box like part one. The disc is a cool looking clear picture disc featuring Eddie as a wicker man.  The track listing is as follows:

1.       The Wicker Man
2.       Futureal (Recorded Live – Ed Hunter Tour 1999)
3.       Killers (Recorded Live – Ed Hunter Tour 1999)
4.       Futureal – Enhanced Video (Footage Taken From The Ed Hunter Tour 1999)

Once again I was out of luck with this single because track one was also the album version.  So much for that idea!  I was at a dead end and I put the search on the back burner for a while.
Well, some years passed and I became aware of the fact that there was a promo only version of “The Wicker Man” which was issued in the US to radio stations only.  I don’t remember how I found this out, but I started a search for it at that point.  I finally tracked it down at a tiny online vendor that I had never heard of and I ordered it.  Luckily for me it was a legit shop and in a couple of days I had this in my hands:

Portrait/Columbia Cat. No. CSK 12766 

This promo has the following tracklisting:

1.       The Wicker Man (Radio Version)
2.       The Wicker Man (Radio Edit)

I popped it in my CD player and finally I heard the “Thy Will Be Done” version of “The Wicker Man!”  It had only taken a couple of years for me to track this down. Hooray!  Clearly the artwork is from the session with a similar cover to the European single.  The back cover features the wicker man but this time it’s unburnt unlike on the back cover of the European single.

This is probably the rarest Iron Maiden piece in my collection as this version of the song has never appeared anywhere else since the year 2000.  Add to that the fact that it was a U.S. only radio promo and its rarity only increases. I don’t really think it’s that expensive – it might go for $35-$50 – but that’s a pretty hefty fee for one song! I would imagine that it will eventually appear on a future reissue of Brave New World as a bonus track.  Have your credit card ready Maiden collectors!

I hope you enjoyed this bizarre little oddity from the Iron Maiden discography and another installment in The Curio Cabinet Of Metal.

As always, MAKE MINE METAL! 

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