Wasted Years was the fourteenth single released by Iron Maiden and the first from their Somewhere in Time album. Released in 1986, it was the first single to be written by guitarist Adrian Smith alone. It reached number 18 in the UK charts. The cover depicts Eddie's point of view as he flies a spaceship chasing the Doctor's TARDIS. A similar Doctor Who reference can be seen on the back of the Somewhere in Time case, where the Doctor's TARDIS is parked on a rooftop.
The music video, which is mostly in black and white, features images and footage of the band's everyday activities off-stage, as well as clips from previous music videos.
The B-side "Reach Out" was sung by Adrian Smith, with Bruce Dickinson singing backing vocals. Adrian also played bass and guitar on the song. This song was performed live by Nicko McBrain and Adrian Smith's jam band who called themselves The Entire Population of Hackney.
The demential song "Sheriff of Huddersfield" is about Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood's decision to move to Los Angeles and buy a house in the Hollywood hills. Apparently he had trouble adjusting to the new lifestyle in LA and often complained to the band about it. Interestingly Rod Smallwood was unaware of the song until it was released on the single (the band had kept it secret). The song opens with the spoken line "We're on a mission from Rod", a parody of the tagline for The Blues Brothers. Later, a similar comedy piece mocking Smallwood was released as an unlisted untitled B-side ("Space Station No. 5"'s epilogue) in the Be Quick or Be Dead single.
It's the only song on Somewhere In Time that features no synthesizers.