In the forty years(!) since bass deity Steve Harris very first formed Iron Maiden, the band has redefined heavy metal, ruled the planet as the hugest hard rock draw worldwide, and continued to up themselves as absolute masters of musical might, majesty, and mayhem.
In the course of this ongoing triumph, Iron Maiden has continually inspired countless fans and other artists. Best of all, Maiden’s reach extends beyond just metal, punk (which is how record companies originally wanted to sell the group), and even just rock.
The following ten covers of Iron Maiden classics demonstrate a glimpse of how universal and brilliantly composed the band’s songs are. Check out how stunningly each one translates into a vast array of genres. Yet they all still stand, unmistakably, as Iron Maiden.
It’s enough to blow whatever’s inside that skull of Eddie the Head’s!
“The Trooper” – Steve N’ Seagulls
While our own Hayseed Dixie has whooped up a nifty bluegrass career covering AC/DC and other metal mainstays, Finland’s Steve N’ Seagulls really blow the outhouse roof of their hillbillified take on “The Trooper.” Also check out the SNS mountain jam of “Run to the Hills.”
“Fear of the Dark” – Jazzomosis
“Wasted Years” – Jammy Jams
“Twilight Zone” – Food for Thought
Food for Thought is a 2005 Iron Maiden tribute album by Swedish multi-instrumentalists Henrik Johansson and Matthias Reinholdsson and their associates. The concept takes 19 Maiden songs and interprets each one in a different style of music. It’s a real head trip. Their funk spin on “Twilight Zone” is a standout.
“The Number of the Beast” – Vitamin String Quartet
Vitamin String Quartet is an L.A.-based combo that specializes in reworking rock, punk, metal, and pop tunes for their classical four-piece format. Anatomy of Evil is VSQ’s Iron Maiden homage; their “Number of the Beast” is a keeper.
“Fear of the Dark” – Van Canto
German “a capella metal” sextet Van Canto recreates the thunder and lightning of Iron Maiden’s electrified instrumentation using only their voices and some backing from a drummer. There are moments here where you won’t believe nobody’s playing guitar—but they’re not.
“Aces High” – Thomas Zwijsen
Belgian classical guitar maestro Thomas Zwijsen is so devoted to translated Iron Maiden compositions into acoustic six-string operas that he’s released multiple cover albums on which he does just that, including Nylon Maiden (2013) and Nylon Maiden II (2014). Zwijsen is so noteworthy in the Maiden realm that, since 2011, he’s even been recording and touring with ex-Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley.
“The Evil That Men Do” – Maiden United
UK-Netherlands collective Maiden United consists of a rotating roster of musicians who rearrange Iron Maiden songs as acoustic pieces. The group has performed all over Europe and even recorded with former Iron Maiden vocalists Paul Di’Anno and Blaze Bayley. Maiden United’s piano-driven “Evil That Men Do” transforms the original headbanging rip-roarer into a heartbreaking ode of contemplation.
“Run to the Hills” – Guilty Pleasures
Live from the Mandalay Bay in fabulous Las Vegas, “yacht rock” act Guilty Pleasures gallops through Iron Maiden’s signature anthem, complete with ersatz Michael McDonald vocals celebrating the struggles and triumphs of Native Americans. It’s soft as f—k!
“The Trooper” – Two Cellos
Croatian string duo Two Cellos pump an entire orchestra’s worth of symphonic fire into their frenzied but masterfully controlled revamp of “The Trooper.” Watch this mind-ripping video in which they mesmerizingly open with “The William Tell Overture” and then launch into “The Trooper” before an electrified audience.