It’s Monday but that doesn’t mean we can’t start off the week rocking our brains out. In a safe sensible way of course.
Did you know that the metal band Iron Maiden wanted to name one of the songs of the Album Piece Of Mind “Dune” after the science fiction novel but changed it to “To Tame A Land” after Frank Herbert refused to grant the rights because he wasn’t a fan of their type of music?
From the article on the album courtesy of Hey Wiki You’re So Fine You’re So Fine You Blow My Mindapedia.
Lyrically, the album largely reflects the group’s literary interests, such as “To Tame a Land”, inspired by Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel Dune;  “Sun and Steel”, based on Yukio Mishima’s 1968 essay about samurai Miyamoto Musashi;  “Still Life”, influenced by Ramsey Campbell’s 1964 short story “The Inhabitant of the Lake”, and “The Trooper”, inspired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854). Film influences are also present, such as “Where Eagles Dare”, based on the Brian G. Hutton 1968 film, scripted by Alistair MacLean, and “Quest for Fire”, based on the 1981 film by Jean-Jacques Annaud. On top of this, “Revelations”, written by Dickinson, includes lines from G. K. Chesterton’s hymn O God of Earth and Altar, while the remainder of the song is influenced by Aleister Crowley. More exotic influences include Greek mythology, albeit slightly altered, for “Flight of Icarus”. “To Tame a Land” was meant to be entitled “Dune” after the novel. But after seeking permission from Frank Herbert’s agents, the band received a message which stated, “Frank Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially bands like Iron Maiden” and were forced to change the name.
Emphasis is mine. Frank Herbert’s page says the same thing but since it’s not sourced I want nothing to do with it and shun it back to the dark pits of Udun with the rest of Morgoth’s beasts. We get more details from the website “Metal Archives” which has a review of the album song by song.
Finally, there is “To Tame A Land”. This song is based on Frank Herbert’s Dune, an excellent book well worth reading, although I’m not sure if the lyrics here are entirely accurate or not. Either way, this song is excellent and a great and suitably epic closer to the album. From the soft(ish)melodic intro to the heavy chugging riffs that follow, plus all the other numerous sections, this song is close to a masterpiece and has no problems. While not the best of their “epic” songs, it fits this album perfectly. Maiden was going into really grand stuff, but they didn’t want to take it too far at this point, with this new proto-power metal style they were playing only starting properly right here, on Piece Of Mind. So, while this song isn’t a work of compositional genius, it doesn’t have to be - it’s great on its own terms.
The most interesting aspect of this song is the history behind its conception and inception. Apparently Steve Harris asked Frank Herbert for permission to title the song “Dune”. However, Mr. Herbert’s agent apparently said something back along the lines of: “No. Because Frank Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden”. Hilarious. Another example of the “older generation” pooh-poohing metal, supposedly at least. In actuality they probably all love it but just pretend to hate it because it’s how they are perceived. Thankfully this didn’t become a big controversy like the idiotic “Maiden are Satanists” hype that took off in the US because of Number Of The Beast. Funny nonetheless.
I would make a joke about perhaps some soreness of the posterior but that joke is homophobic and i’m better than that....sometimes. But you might be saying, this guy is just a fan. Surely the band understand Mr. Herbert’s reasoning. What do they think?
This comes courtesy of the website Iron Maiden Commentary. Which I had to use Sniping Tool to get to add to the story because non-copy websites are bullshit, But that could be made up. Surely there is no video of their displeasure...
Yeah, so the band was not thrilled either. Now you may be asking your, Rob you handsome devil you, where is Mr. Herbert’s side of the story? Well I would present it except I was not able to find any reference to this incident from Frank’s POV. No YouTubed interview, no mention in a print interview or newspaper story, nothing. So all we have is the band’s perspective on this. And while I get their frusturation since it sounds like they are all bright guiys who read a lot and wanted to pay tribute to an amazing book, I honestly don’t know what they expected. Were they shocked that the 62 year old wasn’t a huge fan of counter culture heavy metal? Not really sure what they thought would happen.
And if anyone is wondering what the song is like here is a video of the full album track.
Well that about wraps up another FOTD. Thank you for starting your week off with me. I will se you all tomorrow for a brand new fact of the day.
Fact Of The Day is the daily column where RobGronkowski’sPartyBusDriver shares some random tidbit of science fiction, fantasy or horror knowledge. If there is a show or movie you would like to see done, leave a note in the comments below. You can see the full archive of past columns here.