Released on March, the 11th 2002, this single is purposed to support former MAIDEN-drummer Clive Burr into his fight against multiple sclerosis. In fact, according with the liner notes of the disc, both EMI Records UK and the band are donating their profits from this single release to the Clive Burr-MS-trust-fund, so let's hope it will be a good source of money all over the world.
Well, such a gentle goal would already be enough to buy the single, but it is even more substantiated by the material on there.
The record opens with the original single version of "Run To The Hills", which is basically the same we can find on "Number Of The Beast", 'cept for it shows a slightly enhanced sound. Oh, well, for sure they remastered it, and maybe it even belongs to a previous recording session in regard to the album, but it's just the song we all know.
The following are two live tracks, "22 Acacia Avenue" and "The Prisoner" respectively, both extracted from the aforementioned album, and recorded at Reading Festival on August 1982, during the "Beast on the Road"-European-tour. In my opinion, these two renditions represent the meat and potatoes of the whole single. I mean, up to now we sorta lacked of a good MAIDEN-live-show featuring what I consider the best MAIDEN-line-up ever. I know the majority of Metalheads agree that the 'classic and unmatched' MAIDEN-line-up includes Nicko on drums, but I like Clive's drumming much more, though I consider Nicko a fine drummer on his own. Maybe less technical than Nicko's, Clive's style is nonetheless fairly recognizable, it has a sort of wild and powerful vibe, and the way he hits the hi-hat is peculiar and interesting indeed. No wonder such awesome bashers as Pete Sandoval and Paul Bostaph themselves declared they got influenced by his style in the beginning of their musical path.
But digressions aside, the live-tracks benefit of a good production (considering the fact they come from the vault), and show a totally grown-up band ready and willing to conquer the Metal-world (as they actually did). Clive is amazing, I definitely recommend this to all the drummer-wannabes out there, 'cos the guy had a lot of personality with sticks in hands, and the 'newcomer bandmember' Dickinson sounds really good, smashing every comparison with the raspy Paul Di'Anno's vocals (and if you by any chance listened to the "Maiden Japan"-EP you know what I'm talking about...). The overall execution is obviously flawless, and both the songs are fully enjoyable.
The feast is closed by the 'Camp Chaos version'-video of "Run To The Hills". At the beginning, I thought it was a filmed video of some live execution of the song. Instead, it's just the original well-known video filmed at Brixton Academy in 1981. By the way, it has been enhanced with some cool cartoon animations characterized by the 'cowboy Eddie' we've already seen on the cover of the "Stranger In A Strange Land"-single released back in 1986. I've to say I liked the idea, and the cartoon animations are really well done.
Bottom line: buying this you can lend a hand to Clive and please your ears (and eyes) at the same time.
Note: There are 3 different versions of this single. The version I reviewed is available only in the UK (though, quite oddly, I bought it in a local store over here in Italy). The European version will include the brand new audio and video recording of "Run To The Hills", extracted from the upcoming "Live At Rock In Rio"-album, along with "Children Of The Damned" instead of "22 Acacia Avenue" and the enhanced original 1981 video. The third version consists of a 7-inches limited edition blood red vinyl single, featuring the album version of "Run To The Hills" on side 1 and a live rendition of "Total Eclipse" (the original b-side of the single) on side 2.