The Genesis of Somewhere in Time

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
MODERATOR'S NOTE: This thread originated as a discussion in the Short-answer questions thread and was moved to a separate topic.
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There is something fishy about ATG and Somewhere in Time at large. The albums structure that was defined in Nassau did not end up on the album. The official story is that rhythm section was recorded in Nassau. However Harris said that the end product didn't meet the original aim, that songs came out as longer and "less of them". The Nassau album contained 9 songs, all around 5min mark. If you disregard ATG and cut intros from the some of rest, you can get 7 songs of about 5 min mark from Somewhere in Time. The Nassau album also contained an instrumental. So, how do we go from 5min instrumental + 5min of X = Alexander the Great? Harris says that he wrote ATG at the beginning of the "recording of the LP" in two weeks, which clearly does not correspond with the state of the album as of May 1986.
 
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Zare

Automaton Sovietico
I have a conjecture - Bruce had a writing credit on that 9th song. It was a Smith/Dickinson track prototype and it got removed. The runtime didn't suffer because Harris wrote those lyrics in a day and slapped them on ATG the instrumental.

There have been mentions that Smith had 4 track credits in the beginning of the album's development. They might in all probability be erroneous, but keep in mind that Harris said Dickinson is not represented in the songwriting because his material wasn't 'a good fit' because he used to write with Smith and this time Smith wrote alone. As with ATG development cycle where stories do not match one another, here is another alarm - the sentence portrays Smith as master songwriter and Dickinson as someone unable to deliver without him, while the situation up to that point was rather opposite - only Dickinson had solo penned tracks before, on multiple albums.
 

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
I have a conjecture - Bruce had a writing credit on that 9th song. It was a Smith/Dickinson track prototype and it got removed. The runtime didn't suffer because Harris wrote those lyrics in a day and slapped them on ATG the instrumental.

There have been mentions that Smith had 4 track credits in the beginning of the album's development. They might in all probability be erroneous, but keep in mind that Harris said Dickinson is not represented in the songwriting because his material wasn't 'a good fit' because he used to write with Smith and this time Smith wrote alone. As with ATG development cycle where stories do not match one another, here is another alarm - the sentence portrays Smith as master songwriter and Dickinson as someone unable to deliver without him, while the situation up to that point was rather opposite - only Dickinson had solo penned tracks before, on multiple albums.
Great questions to be asked to Martin Birch and sadly we won't know the real answers.
 

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
I have a conjecture - Bruce had a writing credit on that 9th song. It was a Smith/Dickinson track prototype and it got removed.
A Smith/Dickinson track which was discarded. And we know that Bruce suggested acoustic pieces for Somewhere in Time.
I bet we can easily spot what that track came to be.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
Bruce explicitly states there's a song about a Greek Warrior, and then later says there's a great instrumental from Steve. Maybe Loneliness was the instrumental not Alexander?
 

Perun

Dominus et deus
Staff member
Whatever it is, it sounds different from what we hear from Mick Wall. Wall tells us Maiden informed Bruce early on that none of his songs would be accepted and he went on to swallow his pride. In this interview, Bruce says one of his songs is on the album, so the decision to leave it out must have come later, and I can't imagine Bruce being too happy about that.
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
Bruce explicitly states there's a song about a Greek Warrior, and then later says there's a great instrumental from Steve. Maybe Loneliness was the instrumental not Alexander?

I don't believe so. In other interview a band member mentions the instrumental as full of time changes and tough to play, I don't remember where and who exactly but 100% sure on that.

I'm looking this from another angle, the one when Bruce mentions that all songs are "short". There's no fucking chance ATG lyrics were used for a non-epic. Also, there's been 20 years since I first heard "Adrian forgot the solo", I thought it was b.s. back then and I didn't change my opinion ever since.

Mr. Smith can apparently learn 1 minute worth of epic Roy Z soloing but he can't play 15 seconds of his own 1986 solo.

Whatever it is, it sounds different from what we hear from Mick Wall. Wall tells us Maiden informed Bruce early on that none of his songs would be accepted and he went on to swallow his pride. In this interview, Bruce says one of his songs is on the album, so the decision to leave it out must have come later, and I can't imagine Bruce being too happy about that.

Not only the official bio, but their own admissions and coverage shy away from this period.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
Also, there's been 20 years since I first heard "Adrian forgot the solo", I thought it was b.s. back then and I didn't change my opinion ever since.

There's a 1986 radio interview on the Friday Rock Show with Bruce from when the album was released where Bruce specifically talks about Adrian's difficulty with the solo, and they played the section in question, I've posted a clip a couple of times before. It's definitely not bullshit.
 

Perun

Dominus et deus
Staff member
I never thought the "Adrian forgot the solo" remark deserves all the importance it gets. It sounds to me like the answer a father would give to a small child who incessantly asks stupid questions.

"Will you play Alexander?"
"When will you play Alexander?
"Why won't you play Alexander?"
- "Adrian forgot the solo. Now go and play with your toys."
 

mikoza

Prowler
There's a 1986 radio interview on the Friday Rock Show with Bruce from when the album was released where Bruce specifically talks about Adrian's difficulty with the solo, and they played the section in question, I've posted a clip a couple of times before. It's definitely not bullshit.
Well...it's hard to play Vlatko Stefanovski (Leb i Sol) written music...this is my theory since 1986, when I first listen to ATG. I am half Macedonian, so I think I can feel it;).
 
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Zare

Automaton Sovietico
There's a 1986 radio interview on the Friday Rock Show with Bruce from when the album was released where Bruce specifically talks about Adrian's difficulty with the solo, and they played the section in question, I've posted a clip a couple of times before. It's definitely not bullshit.

I know but I don't believe the story. Perun put it down great, it's the lamest excuse possible.

Like Mikoza says, and as a fan of Stefanovski et.al., phrases and soloing over 7/8 has to be "felt" and not just internally counted to sound right, but here we're talking about solo made from 4 to 5 notes of a same scale, and not some prolonged improv with chord changes. There is one groovy part, the final cascading of notes before the cadence, and again it's whole bunch of academic words for a riff containing the triplet of a most common interval of a most common scale (major), repeated twice, followed by a release note. This is very, very basic stuff.

If there was any difficulty with the solo it was getting the sound out as it was on the album for the accents in picking to come out right.
 

Luisma

Years Wasted
I have a conjecture - Bruce had a writing credit on that 9th song. It was a Smith/Dickinson track prototype and it got removed. The runtime didn't suffer because Harris wrote those lyrics in a day and slapped them on ATG the instrumental.

There have been mentions that Smith had 4 track credits in the beginning of the album's development. They might in all probability be erroneous, but keep in mind that Harris said Dickinson is not represented in the songwriting because his material wasn't 'a good fit' because he used to write with Smith and this time Smith wrote alone. As with ATG development cycle where stories do not match one another, here is another alarm - the sentence portrays Smith as master songwriter and Dickinson as someone unable to deliver without him, while the situation up to that point was rather opposite - only Dickinson had solo penned tracks before, on multiple albums.

At the moment I cannot delve to deep into this subject as I rather put it in my next book first but I like how you're moving the discussion... All I will say about this for the moment is that people really don't know how close was Maiden to change during this time. It was very, very late during the recordings that the album took the shape that ended up in the album and the demos of that era sounded very different to what we have now.
 

Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
I never thought the "Adrian forgot the solo" remark deserves all the importance it gets. It sounds to me like the answer a father would give to a small child who incessantly asks stupid questions.

"Will you play Alexander?"
"When will you play Alexander?
"Why won't you play Alexander?"
- "Adrian forgot the solo. Now go and play with your toys."
What really annoys me is that after years of the "tee hee, Adrian forgot his solo we can't play it" thing (which tbf was always a pretty amusing excuse, I thought), Bruce has decided to switch to "yes, we'll definitely play ATG live at some point" when, realistically, no they won't. Just don't say anything and nobody gets mildly annoyed.
 

Magnus

Pica Serdica

First interview on this page. The album Bruce describes here is quite different from what SIT ended up being.
The second interview on this page, funnily, mentions Charlotte The Harlot as a Murray/Harris collaboration - long before the notorious Barry McCase, and obviously the currently (but not then) official version of who did what.
I'd take that to mean (see third interview as well: "he often has problems to write lyrics [...] [t]his is where I help him out"): music by Dave (which nobody, including Dennis, ever denied), lyrics by Steve.
Since, as we know, the "canon" lyrics are not exactly those Dennis wrote (which again nobody, including Dennis, denies), it seems to me that, for Steve, re-writing someone's lyrics makes you the author of the final version (not the same lyrics after all), which seems to explain a) Hallowed, and b) his stance in the Willcock case.
Interesting, and unexpected, insight into Steve's way of thinking probably, thank you for the link @Perun .
 
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