IRON MAIDEN: Maiden Japan E.P 12″ UK EMI 5219 Check audio
Format: Vinyl, 12″”, 45 RPM
A1 Running Free
A2 Remember Tomorrow
B2 Innocent Exile
Written-By – Paul Di’Anno (tracks: A1, A2, B1) , Steve Harris
Iron Maiden special paper label. Gradiated black to gray, with ‘Eddie’ on the right and a lamppost in the centre. Text is in white, and red. Vinyl etching (on the run-outs): [A-Side] ’12 EMI 5219 A-2′, ‘MJ’, ‘1’, ‘7’ [B-Side] ’12 EMI 5219 B-1′, ‘2’, ’21’.
Other label notes: ‘ Zomba Music Publishers Ltd. ‘.
Other sleeve notes: ‘All tracks recorded live at the Kosei Nenkin Hall , Nagoya , on May 23 1981
Along with their full-length records, Iron Maiden released several 7″ and 12″ EPs throughout the ’80s, most all of them packaged with the artwork of Derek Riggs and recounting the adventures of the band’s horrifying but lovable mascot, Eddie.
None of those EPs was pressed in greater quantities and shipped to more countries than 1981’s Maiden Japan, which regaled fans living in far-away territories with their first taste of the rising New Wave of British Heavy Metal stars in concert.
The EP also served as an unofficial farewell for singer Paul Di’Anno, who had left an indelible impression on Iron Maiden’s eponymous debut, their sophomore Killers and many other non-album singles before being fired by the band on Sept. 10, 1981, and quickly replaced by Samson singer Bruce Dickinson.
Not even a week later, Maiden Japan began arriving in stores, boasting a selection of raw and explosive performances by the lineup that remains a favorite for many Maiden fans: Di’Anno on vocals, Steve Harris on bass, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith on guitars and Clive Burr on drums.
These performances were recorded during Iron Maiden’s first trip to Japan, which consisted of four dates May 1981 (specifically, the songs were collected from their May 23 gig at Nagoya’s Kosei Nenkin Hall).
As Harris recounted in 1982 to Night Rock News, the band’s reception by Japanese fans was reminiscent of Beatlemania: “Everywhere we traveled, there were loads and loads of screaming girls. I mean, it was unbelievable, just screamin’! Guys, as well, would run right down the road and and start bangin’ on the windows. … It was absolutely ridiculous! I didn’t think that sort of thing went on anymore, [but] it’s just the way they are: totally crazy!”
Among the songs chosen for the EP were the band’s rebellious and anthemic early single “Running Free”; their first stab at a cryptic power ballad, “Remember Tomorrow”; the gruesome and unnerving “Killers,” one of that album’s most underrated cuts; “Innocent Exile”.All of the songs exposed fans to the young group’s precocious command of the stage, as they whipped concertgoers into a frenzy with adrenaline-fueled renditions of songs — even more electrifying than the studio originals — that jumped off the grooves, powered by Iron Maiden’s youthful excitement.
When combined with the shocking news of Di’Anno’s ouster, it helped drive increased demand for Maiden Japan, which charted at No. 43 in the U.K. and No. 89 in the U.S. — both unusually high placements for an EP, especially by a heavy metal band in the early ’80s.
It should also be noted that Maiden Japan‘s title references Deep Purple‘s classic 1972 live album Made in Japan in recognition of the band’s influence on Iron Maiden during their formative years.