"The Evil That Men Do" was released in 1988 by Iron Maiden. It is the band's seventeenth single and the second from their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album. The single debuted at number six in the UK charts and quickly rose to number five . The single's B-sides are re-recordings of Prowler and Charlotte the Harlot which appear as tracks number one and seven/eight respectively on the band's debut album Iron Maiden.
The title of the song is taken from Marcus Antonius's speech while addressing the crowd of Romans after Caesar's murder (Act 3, scene 2, "The Forum") in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones." Bruce Dickinson may sometimes repeat this before playing the song, but in reverse (as he did in Rock in Rio). However, the poetic lyrics of the song are unrelated to this. The song, as the rest of the album, tells part of the story of the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. In this case, though the lyrics are very poetic and well-written, they are difficult to understand, but its theme is presumably similar to that of Infinite Dreams, in that the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son's father wonders about what is beyond death.
The guitar solo in "The Evil That Men Do" is played by Adrian Smith while the guitar solo in Prowler '88 is played by Dave Murray. In Charlotte the Harlot '88, the first guitar solo is played by Dave Murray followed by Adrian Smith.
The music video was filmed at The Forum in Inglewood, CA, during the Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour in 1988.
The symbol that corresponds to this song in the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album booklet is the pelican, symbol of self-sacrifice for his own progeny, as the lyrics may seem to suggest that the chosen one's father is contemplating suicide for the safety of his loved ones.
Cover versions include:
Swedish melodic black metal band Naglfar on Maiden Slaughter demotape, 1996. Re-released on all reissues from 2002 on of their debut CD Vittra
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