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"Run to the Hills" was Iron Maiden's sixth single and the first from their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. Credited solely to the band's bassist, Steve Harris, although significant contributions were made by lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson, it remains one of their most popular songs, with VH1 ranking it No. 27 on their list of the 40 Greatest Metal Songs[1] and No. 14 on their list of the Greatest Hard Rock Songs.[2]

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Composition

Composition[edit]Edit

Due to his previous band, Samson's, contractual issues, Dickinson could not be credited for any of his contributions made during the writing of The Number of the Beast.[3] Although bassist Steve Harris alone receives credit for the song, Dickinson states that he made a "moral contribution" to the song, in addition to "Children of the Damned" and "The Prisoner" from the same album.[4] While speaking at the IBM Smarter Business conference in Stockholm on 10 October 2012, Dickinson revealed that parts of the song are based on the "rising sixth", inspired by a documentary he watched which explored why "My Way" was one of the most popular recorded songs.[5]

Themes[edit]Edit

The song documents the conflict that occurred between European settlers in the New World and Native American tribes during the days of colonisation and later westward expansion.[6][7] The song is written from both perspectives,[8] covering the Natives' viewpoint in the first verse and the Europeans' in the rest of the song.[9]

Original 1982 release[edit]Edit

The song was released as a single on 12 February 1982; more than 5 weeks prior to the album's release on 22 March 1982.[10] The single marked Iron Maiden's debut release with new vocalist Bruce Dickinson. "Total Eclipse" was selected as the single's B-side over the song "Gangland", which in turn would appear on the initial version of the album.[11] The band later regretted this decision, with Steve Harris commenting, "We chose the wrong track as the B-side. I think if "Total Eclipse" had been on the album instead of "Gangland", it would have been far better."[11] The song was added to the The Number of the Beast album when it was remastered in 1998.

It is the second of three single covers featuring Derek Riggs' depiction of Satan, which debuted on "Purgatory" and later appeared on "The Number of the Beast" covers. According to Riggs, the idea behind the original "Run to the Hills" cover was based around the idea of a "power struggle in hell", in which the band's mascot, Eddie, battles Satan with a tomahawk (referencing the song's subject matter).[12]

Other releases[edit]Edit

In 1985, a live version of "Run to the Hills", taken from Live After Death, was released as the band's thirteenth single, along with live versions of "Phantom of the Opera" and "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" as its the B-sides. According to Riggs, he was asked to paint a cover illustration both "Run to the Hills" and "Phantom of the Opera" and so the artwork depicts Eddie as the phantom in a hilly landscape.[13]

Following former drummer Clive Burr's announcement that he was suffering from multiple sclerosis, "Run to the Hills" was released again in 2002 to raise money for the newly established Clive Burr MS Trust Fund.[14] Two variations were issued, the original studio version and a live version taken from the Rock in Rio concert, with different B-sides.[15]

Appearances in media[edit]Edit

An all-star cover version of the song is found on the 2005 tribute album Numbers from the Beast, featuring Robin McAuley on vocals, Michael Schenker and Pete Fletcher on guitars, Tony Franklin on bass and Brian Tichy (Derek SherinianB'z) on drums.[16][17] The all-female tribute band The Iron Maidens recorded the song on their 2005 debut album, World's Only Female Tribute to Iron Maiden.[18] Former Babes in Toyland singer and guitarist Kat Bjelland's Katastrophy Wife covered the song in their Heart On EP in 2007.[19] The song was covered in 2008 bySign on the tribute CD Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden released by Kerrang! magazine.[20] The Swedish lounge metal band Hellsongs included a cover version on their 2008 albumHymns in the Key of 666.[21] In 2009, the eventual Swedish Idol 2009 series winner Erik Grönwall sang it during the live shows and released it as a single in the same year, which peaked at No. 23 in the Swedish Singles Chart.[22] Progressive metal band Dream Theater covered the song live, along with the entire The Number Of The Beast album, and released it as an "official bootleg" in 2006.[23]

The song is also featured in the soundtracks of several video games, including SSX on Tour (2005) as the title's main theme,[24] and Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned (2009).[25] In addition, a cover version is featured in Rock Band (2009), in which it received an 'Impossible' difficulty rating,[26] while the original version was made available via download in June 2009.[27]

Track listing[edit]Edit

1982 7" single (UK: EMI 5263, UK: EMIP 5263 [picture disc], Germany: EMI 1A 006-07604, Netherlands: EMI 1A 006-07604)


  1. "Run to the Hills" (Steve Harris) – 3:50
  2. "Total Eclipse" (Dave Murray, Harris, Clive Burr) – 4:28

1982 12" maxi (Europe: EMI 1C K 052-07 604 Z)


  1. "Run to the Hills" (Harris) – 3:51
  2. "Total Eclipse" (Murray, Harris, Burr) – 4:24

1985 7" single (UK: EMI EMI 5542)


  1. "Run to the Hills" (live – Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California 14–17 March 1985) (Harris) – 3:54
  2. "Phantom of the Opera" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 8–12 October 1984) (Harris) – 7:20

1985 12" single (UK: EMI 12EMI 5542, UK: 12EMIP 5542 [picture disc])


  1. "Run to the Hills" (live – Long Beach Arena, L.A. 14–17 March 1985) (Harris) – 3:54
  2. "Phantom of the Opera" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 8–12 October 1984) (Harris) – 7:20
  3. "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 8–12 October 1984) (Harris) – 4:14

2002 7" limited single (Europe: EMI EM 612)


  1. "Run to the Hills" (Harris) – 3:50
  2. "Total Eclipse" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 20 March 1982) (Burr, Harris, Murray) – 4:28

2002 CD single


Part I (UK: EMI CDEM 612/7243 5 50623 0 7)

This version contains a live version of the song taken from the Rock in Rio live album, while the B-sides were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London on 20 March 1982. The live video is also from the Rock in Rio concert.[15]


  1. "Run to the Hills" (live – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 19 January 2001) (Harris) – 4:59
  2. "Children of the Damned" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 20 March 1982) (Smith, Harris) – 4:32
  3. "Total Eclipse" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 20 March 1982) (Murray, Harris, Burr) – 3:57
  4. "Run to the Hills" (live video)
Part II (UK: EMI CDEMS 612/7243 5 50624 0 6)

This version contains the studio version of the song "Run to the Hills", while the B-sides were recorded live at the Reading Festival on 28 August 1982. It also includes the Camp Chaos version of the "Run to the Hills" music video.[15]


  1. "Run to the Hills" (Harris) – 3:50
  2. "22 Acacia Avenue" (live – Reading Festival, Little Johns Farm, England 28 August 1982) (Harris, Adrian Smith) – 6:33
  3. "The Prisoner" (live – Reading Festival, Little Johns Farm, England 28 August 1982) (Harris, Smith) – 5:55
  4. "Run to the Hills" (Camp Chaos video) (Harris)
European Edition (7243 5 50704 0 1)

This version was released in mainland Europe, and contained five tracks drawn from the two UK releases above.


  1. "Run to the Hills" (live – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 19 January 2001) (Harris) – 4:59
  2. "Run to the Hills" (Harris) – 3:50
  3. "The Prisoner" (live – Reading Festival, Little Johns Farm, England 28 August 1982) (Harris, Smith) – 5:55
  4. "Children of the Damned" (live – Hammersmith Odeon, London 20 March 1982) (Smith, Harris) – 4:32
  5. "Run to the Hills" (live video)

Personnel[edit]Edit

1982 studio single[edit]Edit

Production credits are adapted from the 7 inch vinyl cover.[28]


Production

1985 live single[edit]Edit

Production credits are adapted from the 7 inch vinyl,[29] and 12 inch vinyl covers.[30]


Iron Maiden
  • Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
  • Steve Harris – bass, backing vocals
  • Dave Murray – guitar
  • Adrian Smith – guitar, backing vocals
  • Nicko McBrain – drums
Production
  • Martin Birch – producer, engineer, mixing
  • Derek Riggs – cover illustration

2001 studio / live single[edit]Edit

  • Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
  • Steve Harris – bass, backing vocals
  • Dave Murray – guitar
  • Adrian Smith – guitar, backing vocals
  • Janick Gers – guitar
  • Nicko McBrain – drums

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Single Chart (1982) Peak

position

Album
"Run to the Hills" Irish Singles Chart 16[31] The Number of the Beast
UK Singles Chart 7[32]
Single Chart (1985) Peak

position

Album
"Run to the Hills (Live)" Irish Singles Chart 18[31] Live After Death
UK Singles Chart 26[33]
Single Chart (1990) Peak

position

Album
"Run to the Hills / The Number of the Beast" UK Albums Chart[note 1] 3[34]
"Running Free (Live) / Run to the Hills (Live)" 9[35]
Single Chart (2002) Peak

position

Album
"Run to the Hills (Live)" Canadian Singles Chart 11[36] Rock in Rio
Dutch Singles Chart 60[37]
Finnish Singles Chart 5[38]
French Singles Chart 73[39]
German Singles Chart 55[40]
Irish Singles Chart 38[41]
Italian Singles Chart 6[42]
Norwegian Singles Chart 15[43]
Swedish Singles Chart 28[44]
Swiss Singles Chart 75[45]
UK Singles Chart 9[32]
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