Go inside the Iron Maiden album cover art of “Somewhere In Time”
Join us as we explain in detail, one of Iron Maiden Illustrator Derek Riggs’ most intricate and masterful works, Somewhere In Time!
Certified platinum, Somewhere In Time is Iron Maiden’s sixth studio album released Sept. 9th, 1986.
It’s one of the bands most detailed album covers and layered with many inside-jokes and nods to Maiden’s past.
“It wore me out quite severely,” The artist revealed in Martin Popoff’s book Run For Cover: The Art Of Derek Riggs.
“I was living in London at the time, and working on that for two months, and it took three months in all – I just had to stop, because I had had enough. It got into my head and I just couldn’t see anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else. It did my head in, because there’re all these little details.” – D. Riggs
To aid in revealing the 39 know hidden messages on Somewhere In Time, we’re breaking down the full album sleeve into 5 sections.
1) Riggs’ signature logo can be found as a badge in the center of Eddie’s chest.
2) Eddie stands proudly next to a sign which partially reads Acacia, which of course is a reference to 22 Acacia Avenue.
3) Iron Maiden’s 1980 debut album poster pasted old school to the brick wall with a futuristic fans graffiti reading EDDIE LIVES”.
4) To the left of Eddie’s gun, an Eye Of Horus is placed at the top of a skyscraper. This Egyptian protection symbol is mentioned in the title track of 1984’s Powerslave.
5) Behind Eddie’s right leg, in the window of the Bradbury Towers Hotel International, there’s a sign that reads in mirror ‘This is a very boring painting’.
6) Riggs was asked to explain the bio-hazard sign on Eddie’s crotch, his reply? “He’s got a nuclear-powered willy!”
7) Next to Eddie’s left leg, there’s a plastic yellow bin fixed to a lamppost, referencing the cover of Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut album cover art.
8) Ahh what do you know? A black cat, the cats have always been a recurring theme in Derek’s Maiden art.
9) Who’s Webster? Charlie Webster was the art director at EMI (the European sister label to Capital Records).
10) Who’s hungry? There’s a Pizza Hut which can be seen through Eddie’s legs.
BACK COVER – SECTION ONE
1) Fancy a pint before you jump in the cockpit and starting up the engines? Visit the Aces High Bar.
2) There’s a spitfire from the Aces High single cover twisting overhead.
3) In the skies beyond the cityscape, you can see the Powerslave pyramid.
4) L’Amours was a Brooklyn venue which featured Maiden often. They returned to play a secret show in 1988 under the name Charlotte and The Harlots.
BACK COVER – SECTION TWO
1) The infamous Long Beach Arena is where Maiden recorded Live After Death.
2) Hammerjacks is a Baltimore nightclub the band used to visit.
3) Below Hammerjacks reads a sign for Tehe’s Bar, where the backing vocals for Heaven Can Wait were recorded.
4) The angel plummeting down the side of Bradbury Towers is Icarus.
BACK COVER – SECTION THREE
1) In 1980, Iron Maiden filmed a concert at the Rainbow in London’s Finsbury Park. That venue is now a Christian church.
2) The sign reading Sand Dune over the bridge is a reference to To Tame A Land, from 1983’s Piece Of Mind album which was based on Frank Herbert’s novel Dune.
3) Maiden called up the author to ask his permission to name the song after the book. His reply? “No, you cannot call it Dune! And you can’t do anything based on my book, because I think heavy metal is decadent and corrupt”, remembers Riggs. “So they put Herbert Ails [on the bridge], as in, Herbert’s not very well.”
4) Next to that is a sign for the Marquee Club, which may just be a little bigger than the original venue in London.
5) There’s Doctor Who’s TARDIS. Bruce Dickinson is a huge fan.
6) The Ruskin Arms was an East End pub where Iron Maiden “cut their teeth” in the music industry.
7) Above the pub, there’s a hooker in a red room. That’s Charlotte The Harlot, still in the game after all these years!
8) On the bridge across the road, the digital clock reads 23:58. Two minutes to midnight!
9) ‘The Philip K. Dick Cinema’ is a nod to the author whose book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? inspired the film Blade Runner.
10) That should explain the Dekkers Department Stores and Tyrell Corp signs in the background.
11) Asimov Foundation is a nod to the sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov.
12) There’s the Grim Reaper from Riggs’ Live After Death and The Trooper artwork.
13) The Phantom Opera House refers to the band’s song Phantom of the Opera.
14) Another West Ham reference on the bridge. According to the scoreboard, the Hammers appear to have given Arsenal a proper spanking. Steve Harris is a huge fan of the soccer club, their sticker adorned to Harris’ white and light blue Fender Precision Bass.
15) Down the road, there’s a neon sign reading that Gypsy’s Kiss are performing that evening. They were Steve Harris’ first band.
BACK COVER – SECTION FOUR
1) Fancy a fish dish that takes nearly 14 minutes to prepare? Head to the Ancient Mariner Seafood Restaurant.
2) Bradbury Towers can be found on Upton Park, once the home of Steve Harris’ beloved football team West Ham United.
3) Under the Bradbury Towers sign reads ‘Maggie’s Revenge’, the now-dead Tory Prime Minister whose nickname was ‘The Iron Maiden’. She fucking adored her metal!
4) The caped crusader Batman can be seen lurking in the shadows on the bridge.
5) Nicko McBrain’s t-shirt says ‘Iron Wha?’. “Nicko complained they didn’t look exactly like the band members. “Hello Nicko? They’re inches tall. They’re the size of postage stamps,” said Riggs.
6) Bruce Dickinson is holding Eddie’s brain, a reference to the band’s 1983 album Piece Of Mind.