Be Quick or Be Dead (3:24)

Cover of Fear of the Dark

From Fear of the Dark and 24 other releases

“Be Quick or Be Dead” is the first single from the Iron Maiden album Fear of the Dark, released in 1992. The song is about several political scandals taking place at the time of its release, including the Robert Maxwell banking scandal, European stock market crashes, and the BCCI case. It was released a month prior to the album and reached #2 on the UK singles chart. It is characterised for its heavy guitar riff, that has influences of and .

The song begins with the drums, then the other instruments join and play the main guitar riff, which was written by Janick Gers and is in G minor scale, as most of the song. The riff is played repeatedly until Bruce Dickinson joins with the lyrics. Through the verse, the guitars and bass play mainly G. Then there is a pre-chorus that is played in C and then the chorus, which features a guitar riff similar to the one of the intro and Bruce singing “Be Quick or Be Dead” repeatedly. Then the post chorus is played in G and F by the guitars as Dickinson sings “See what’s ruling all our lives. See who’s pulling strings”.

The B-side features two official songs and one hidden track, including an original blues number (Nodding Donkey Blues) and Montrose cover (Space Station No. 5), and the unlisted Bayswater Ain’t A Bad Place to Be. The last is a spoken word comedy piece by Bruce Dickinson (along with acoustic guitar accompaniment from Janick Gers) in which he imitates and makes fun of Maiden manager Rod Smallwood.


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Covered in sinners and dripping with guilt
Making you money from slime and from filth
Parading your bellies in ivory towers
Investing our lives in your schemes and your powers

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • HaohmaruRocks

    Great Song

    11 Mar 1:49pm Reply
  • FjordSweetFjord

    As always, Harris' bass fills are fucking awesome :) One of the earliest songs of theirs I was into!

    23 Feb 4:24pm Reply
  • CountOfTuscany_


    16 Jun 2014 Reply
  • JohnTitor98

    BE QUICK... OR BE DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    21 Mar 2014 Reply
  • vinman07

    Excellent band ! seen them with Paul in a bar in Cleveland in the 70s and with Bruce many times after.All Excellent shows!!!!

    5 Dec 2013 Reply
  • randytuggle

    Best progressive metal band ever. So much blues , so much great musicianship for a metal band. Heads above the rest in their era.

    20 Nov 2013 Reply
  • aleks1987

    "The voice of Bruce sounds in this song the same as Brian Johnson`s from ACDC :D" - no, much better.

    18 Nov 2013 Reply
  • metalyou

    bruce will never lose that tone ausome

    26 Sep 2013 Reply
  • SDFprowler

    Haha, totally reminded me of Brian Johnson as well.

    13 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Ozinka

    The voice of Bruce sounds in this song the same as Brian Johnson`s from ACDC :D , isn`t it?

    23 Aug 2013 Reply
  • ndval

    Great song. I heard it in Carmageddon for the first time. [2]

    6 Jul 2013 Reply
  • roo1580

    Me too, mtw900!

    4 Jun 2013 Reply
  • G8Rbuttercups

    I'm in love with Iron Maiden;♥♥

    31 May 2013 Reply
  • Luzeryus


    5 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Re-Kramer

    My God, what a vocals. Bruce is a master. <3 [5]

    5 Feb 2013 Reply
  • mtw900

    When I first listened to this song I could have sworn I was listening to Judas Priest.

    24 Dec 2012 Reply
  • Metal-Kathy86


    24 Nov 2012 Reply
  • gdcman

    Schubskuh, MrLeonechris, LawLieTicp, cptnlng1 and PhenomV2 have all listened to this track. Schubskuh listened the most with 19 plays.

    12 Nov 2012 Reply
  • ruciniak

    Anti illuminati :D Best song from Fear of the Dark!

    16 Aug 2012 Reply
  • jk20002912


    11 Aug 2012 Reply
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