Spoken intros have kinda gone the wayside for this band, and it's almost a shame.
This song sounds great, but that can't override the fact that it is comparatively simple. Everything sounds good, the beat drives, Steve really takes the lead here and pushes this song forward. If they wrote this song today, people would complain about how the lyrics are stupid, and that it doesn't capture the glory of yester-years. But this is never where the glory of yester-years was.
My opinion on this song has diminished relatively recently. It's still a good track, but the only thing that sticks out to me is that the riffs sound more like something 80's Megadeth would do, which isn't a bad thing for the record. I just don't think it's quite up to the high standard Maiden are capable of. Good, but far from great.
RTC's Maiden Ranking:
1: Phantom Of The Opera: 9/10
2: Killers: 9/10
3: Children Of The Damned: 8/10
4: Remember Tomorrow: 8/10
5: Murders In The Rue Morgue: 8/10
6: Purgatory: 7/10
7: Wrathchild: 7/10
8: Transylvania: 7/10
9: Prodigal Son: 6/10
10: Strange World: 6/10
11: Sanctuary: 6/10
12: Another Life: 6/10 13: The Prisoner: 6/10
14: Prowler: 6/10
15: Genghis Khan: 5/10
16: Iron Maiden: 5/10
17: Charlotte The Harlot: 5/10
18: Twilight Zone: 5/10
19: Drifter: 4/10
20: Running Free: 4/10
21: Innocent Exile: 4/10
22: Invaders: 3/10
23: The Ides Of March: 2/10
The Prisoner marks Adrian Smith’s first writing contribution to Maiden and it’s an enjoyable upbeat song with chordal riffs that occasionally sound like Judas Priest. I would have liked to have seen the intro (the first chord riff) cut in half for the sake of dynamics and the lyrics “It’s tough!” are just groan-inducing, but these are small gripes. The chorus is big, hooky, and arena-ready. The guitar break halfway through is sweeping and dramatic, leading into two perfectly paired solos: H’s is bluesy and catchy, Dave’s frenetic and fun. These guitarists sound right at home on this album, complimenting each other when needed and battling back and forth when things get heavier.
This was one of my favorite Maiden songs when I was first getting into them. The opening riffs are awesome and it has a fun singalong chorus. Very NWOBHM-esque, with its riffing and beat reminiscent of punk rock. I can easily imagine Paul singing this on Killers. Solid instrumental section too.
Started learning this song on guitar this week, and it felt familiar - and then I realized that the chorus uses almost the same chord progression as the verse to "Spirit of Radio" by Rush, minus the G#maddE chord, with the same arpeggiation of the chords.
Wonder if that was a conscious nick - Permanent Waves came out a year or two before Maiden were recording Number of the Beast. At least they made it sound different enough that the resemblance hadn't occurred to me until 30+ years after I first heard the song.
Simple but iconic intro. Not the strongest verse in the world but the rest makes up for it. I enjoy the major, uplifting feel of the chorus, it's the biggest thing the song has going on for it. Decent guitar section. 8/10.