Run to the Hills (3:54)

Cover of The Number of the Beast

From The Number of the Beast and 47 other releases

“Run to the Hills” is Iron Maiden’s sixth single and the first single from their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. It was written by Steve Harris, bassist and founder of the band.

The song itself is about the conflict between Native Americans and the invading white men. The first verse is written from the point of view of the native Cree, the second from the point of view of white soldiers, and the third from a more neutral observer point of view. It may have been inspired by the film Soldier Blue, about the massacre of a peaceful Cheyenne village by US militia (one line goes “Soldier blue in the barren wastes” and then refers to rape and murder amongst other atrocities).

The song features a memorable drum intro that was likely copied and slightly modified from the Buzzcocks’s 1978 “Autonomy”.

The song was released as a single on 12 February 1982, as a prelude to the album. This would be the first single released by the band to feature current vocalist Bruce Dickinson. On the B-side was a song called “Total Eclipse”, which would not be on the initial version of the album. However, the band later regretted this decision, as they thought the song was too good to be only a B-side. “Total Eclipse” was added to the Number of the Beast album when it was re-released in 1998.

The single is the second of three single-covers featuring Riggs’ depiction of Satan. He debuted on the single-cover of “Purgatory” and his decapitated head is featured on the single-cover for “The Number of the Beast”.

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