Iron-Maiden-Drummer-Nicko-McBrain

Our Top 5 Nicko McBrain Iron Maiden Songs

Since 1982, Nicko McBrain has been the drumming juggernaut driving English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Beloved worldwide by fans and greatly respected by his peers, as much for his ever-friendly demeanor and wicked sense of humor as for his magnificent chops, feel, versatility and durability.

Iron-Maiden-Drummer-Nicko-McBrain
That’s why it’s high time we compiled a list of the Top 5 Nicko McBrain Iron Maiden Songs, to celebrate one of heavy metal’s all-time greats and true originals!

5) New Frontier’ – ‘Dance of Death’ (2003) – Dickinson, Smith, McBrain

With so many of Michael Henry “Nicko” McBrain’s inventive, awe-inspiring percussive performances to choose from, we figured we might as well start our little list with his sole songwriting co-credit for Iron Maiden over these past 35 years.

Nicko McBrain wrote the lyrics and the bassline to ‘New Frontier’. It is a re-telling of the story of Frankenstein, but from the scientist’s point of view. He feels that Frankenstein is “playing God without mercy, without fear,” and wants to kill himself before getting killed by the monster he has created.

Iron Maiden · New Frontier · Lyrics

Bleeding you dry from the start
The sum of my parts
To give it away
New life in a day
Some new Frankenstein
Damned for all time

Cursed by the angel who fell
Who saves me from hell?
And who is my god?
And where is my soul?
Too tired to jump too young to run

[Bridge:]
Neverending, forever searching
Chasing dreams, the dreams of my heart
Always seeking, always asking
Questions right from the start

[Chorus:]
Out beyond the new frontier
Playing god without mercy, without fear
Create a beast, made a man without a soul
Is it worth the risk – a war of god and man?
Is it worth the risk – a war of god and man?

I want to end my life now
But I don’t know how
Recycled again a lifetime of pain
The spawn of a man
The devil has planned

[Repeat bridge, chorus]

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New Frontier (2015 Remaster)

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4) ‘Dune (To Tame a Land)’ – ‘Piece of Mind’ (1983) – Harris

The seemingly telepathic musical interaction between Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain earned the latter his spot with Iron Maiden after he briefly replaced Clive Burr on tour in 1982. Their first work with McBrain on board, 1983’s iconic album Piece of Mind, solidified the group’s classic lineup. That album’s closing masterpiece, “Dune (To Tame a Land),”gave Nicko plenty of room to show off his dynamic versatility.

Iron Maiden · Dune (To Tame A Land) · Lyrics

He is the King of all the land
In the Kingdom of the sands
Of a time tomorrow

He rules the sand worms and the Fremen
In the land amongst the stars
Of an age tomorrow

He is destined to be a King
He rules over everything
On the land called planet Dune

Bodywater is your life
And without in you would die
On the desert the planet Dune

Without a stillsuit you would fry
On the sands so hot and dry
In a world called Arrakis

It is a land that’s rich in spice
The sandriders and the ‘mice’
That they call the ‘Muad’ Dib’

He is the Kwizatz Haderach
He is born of Caladan
And will take the Gom Jabbar

He has the power to foresee
Or to look into the past
He is the ruler of the stars

The time will come for him
To lay claim his crown
And then the foe yes
They’ll be cut down
You’ll see he’ll be the
Best that there’s been
Messiah supreme
True leader of men
And when the time
For judgement’s at hand
Don’t fret he’s strong
And he’ll make a stand
Against evil the fire
That spreads through the land
He has the power
To make it all end

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To Tame a Land (2015 Remaster)

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3) ‘Brighter Than a Thousand Suns’ – ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ (2006) – Harris, Dickinson, Smith

Steve Harris has never been shy about professing his passion for ‘70s progressive rock, but while his music has frequently indulged in epic ambitions, never did it dominate an entire album quite like 2006’s ‘A Matter of Life and Death’. And of course, Nicko was up to the task, bringing every percussive trick in his vast arsenal to multi-faceted tracks like “Brighter Than a Thousand Suns.”

Iron Maiden · Brighter Than A Thousand Suns · Lyrics

We are not the sons of God
We are not his chosen people now
We have crossed the path he trod
We will feel the pain of his beginning

Shadow fingers rise above
Iron fingers stab the desert sky
Oh Behold the power of man
On its tower ready for the fall

Knocking heads together well
Rise a city build a living hell
Join the race to suicide
Listen for the tolling of the bell

Out of the universe a strange love is born
Unholy union trinity reformed

Yellow sun it’s evil twin
In the black the wings deliver him
We will split our souls within
Atom seed to nuclear dust is riven

Out of the universe a strange love is born
Unholy union, trinity reformed

Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns

Bury your morals and bury your dead
Bury your head in the sand
E=mc squared you can relate
how we made God
With our hands

Whatever would Robert have said to his God
About how we made war with the sun
E=mc squared you can relate
how we made God
With our hands

All the nations are rising
Through acid veils of love and hate
Chain letters of Satan
Uncertainty leads us all to this
All the nations are rising
Through acid veils of love and hate
Cold fusion and fury

Divide and conquer while ye may
Others preach and others fall and pray
In the bunkers where we’ll die
Where the executioners they lie

Bombers launch with no recall
Minutes warning of the missile fall
Take a look at your last sky
Guessing you won’t have the time to cry

Out of the universe a strange love is born
Unholy union, trinity reformed

Out of the darkness
Out of the darkness
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns
Out of the darkness
Brighter than a thousand suns

Holy Father we have sinned

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Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (2015 Remaster)

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2) Alexander the Great’ – ‘Somewhere in Time’ (1986) – Harris

After digging for heavy metal treasure in the sands of the Valley of the Kings and touring the world between ’84 and ’85, Iron Maiden blasted off back to the future with ’86’s Somewhere in Time. But they still found room for one of their trademark historical “spinning a yarn” LP “Alexander the Great,” which, on top of affording Nicko the usual plethora of dynamics, inspired him to employ all kinds of martial rhythms to better convey Alexander’s military conquests. In doing so, he arguably made himself the saving grace of a song that would otherwise rarely pop up on many best of Iron Maiden lists.

Iron Maiden · Alexander The Great · Lyrics

“My son ask for thyself another
Kingdom, for that which I leave
is too small for thee”
(King Philip of Macedonia – 339 B.C.)

Near to the east
In a part of ancient Greece
In an ancient land called Macedonia
Was born a son
To Philip of Macedon
The legend his name was Alexander

At the age of nineteen
He became the Macedon King
And he swore to free all of Asia Minor
By the Aegian Sea
In 334 B.C.
He utterly beat the armies of Persia

[Chorus:]
Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a legend ‘mongst mortal men

King Darius the third
Defeated fled Persia
The Scythians fell by the river Jaxartes
Then Egypt fell to the Macedon King as well
And he founded the city called Alexandria

By the Tigris river
He met King Darius again
And crushed him again in the battle of Arbela
Entering Babylon
And Susa, treasures he found
Took Persepolis the capital of Persia

[Chorus:]
Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a God amongst mortal men

A Phrygian King had bound a chariot yoke
And Alexander cut the ‘Gordian knot’
And legend said that who untied the knot
He would become the master of Asia

Hellenism he spread far and wide
The Macedonian learned mind
Their culture was a western way of life
He paved the way for Christianity

Marching on, marching on
The battle weary marching side by side
Alexander’s army line by line
They wouldn’t follow him to India
Tired of the combat, pain and the glory

Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
He died of fever in Babylon

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Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) (2015 Remaster)

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1) Where Eagles Dare’ – ‘Piece of Mind’ (1983) – Harris

We didn’t expect the eventual No. 1 on our list of Top 5 Nicko McBrain Iron Maiden Songs to be the first track we thought of, no less the first Nicko contribution most fans ever heard. But as the opening track of 1983’s Piece of Mind, “Where Eagles Dare” introduced his all-around formidable technique, pristine attack, and, perhaps most of all, his legendary right foot!

Iron Maiden · Where Eagles Dare · Lyrics

It’s snowing outside the rumbling sound
of engines roar in the night,
The mission is near the confident men
are waiting to drop from the sky.

The Blizzard goes on but still they must fly
No one should go where eagles dare.

Bavarian alps that lay all around
they seem to stare from below,
The enemy lines a long time passed
are lying deep in the snow.

Into the night they fall through the sky
No one should fly where eagles dare.

They’re closing in the fortress is near
it’s standing high in the sky,
The cable car’s the only way in
it’s really impossible to climb.

They make their way but maybe too late
They’ve got to try to save the day.

The panicking cries the roaring of guns
are echoing all round the valley,
The mission complete they make to escape
away from the Eagles Nest.

They dared to go where no one would try
they chose to fly where eagles dare.

Show Lyrics

 

Where Eagles Dare (2015 Remaster)

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