One of the most famous Iron Maiden songs of all time, “The Trooper” was part of their 1983 album “Piece of Mind”, the second to feature Bruce Dickinson on vocals and the first one with Nicko McBrain as their drummer. That track was written by the band’s bassist, founder and main songwriter Steve Harris, becoming the most famous of that record.
At that time the single peaked at number 12 in the United Kingdom singles charts. It was one of the few songs that had frequent airplay in the radios of the United States.
But what was the idea and meaning behind the song written by Harris?
As Steve Harris revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2019, it was the military action “Charge of The Light Brigade” that was part of the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War in 19854 that inspired the song. The idea was to represent a soldier who was forced to go to a battle like that one.
“The Charge of the Light Brigade. It’s the idea of someone being ordered to go and fight. In those days, you didn’t question it. They weren’t allowed to question it. You got on the horse and went straight into battle no matter how ridiculous it was, charging cannons firing at you. There have been a lot of crazy things people have been ordered to do in wars. Also quite a few of our songs are about that,” Steve Harris said.
The military action was undertaken by the British light cavalry against the Russian forces during the battle. Curiously,
In the same conversation he said he grew up loving history and it was one of his favorite subjects in school. The musician said it was just the fascination with the “awful things people are capable of doing to each other”. Ever since the track was released the band always brings a United Kingdom flag that is waved by Bruce Dickinson while he sings the song.
Steve Harris got a tattoo of the cover of the single in his left arm. He explained the reason why he decided to get that tattoo in an interview with Mark Sneddon in 1997.
“Two reasons really. Firstly I just love the artwork and I really wanted a tattoo of Eddie on my arm, because he epitomizes what Maiden are. And also so that I could have the Union Jack flag, as I am very patriotic. So having that tattoo meant that I could kill two birds with one stone,” Steve Harris said.
According to Setlist.FM, “The Trooper” was performed by Iron Maiden live more than 1600 times during the past four decades.
I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG