Here are all the songs Iron Maiden have never played live

Iron Maiden at Download 2022
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Iron Maiden played their very first gig in on May 1, 1976 at St Nicholas Hall in Poplar, East London. Exactly what was in the setlist on that illustrious night has been lost to time, though luckily some far-sighted souls have kept track of the songs they have performed at the 2500-odd shows they’ve played since.

Maiden are set to embark on their The Future Past tour in May 2023, which sees them focusing on 1986’s Somewhere In Time. That got us thinking: how many of the songs that have appeared on their albums and singles have they never played?

Of course, there are a handful that get a run out at pretty much every show. You’re pretty much guaranteed to hear The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Run To The Hills, The Trooper and Iron Maiden itself. You can add Maiden staples such as 2 Minutes To Midnight, Sanctuary, Fear Of The Dark and Running Free to that list of Maiden songs in heavy rotation.

But what about those deep cuts, forgotten treasures and connoisseur’s favourites that have never been aired in public? Of the 171 songs that have appeared on Iron Maiden’s 17 studio albums (plus three non-album singles), how many have they never played live.

Well, we have an answer, and that answer is… 53. Yes, according to online bible setlist.fm (opens in new tab), just under a third of Maiden’s epic back catalogue remains unheard live. Will this change on The Future Past tour? We’ll have to wait and see. But if you do fancy want the band to bust out any of those unplayed songs, here are the ones you should be shouting for…

Metal Hammer line break

Killers

Every song from Maiden’s self-titled 1980 debut album has been played live over the years. Ditto follow-up Killers – with the exception of Prodigal Son, a breezily melancholic six-minute semi-acoustic lament that sounds like nothing Maiden did before or have done since. Whether vocal powerhouse Bruce Dickinson could nail original singer Paul Di’Anno’s laidback vibe is another matter.


The Number Of The Beast

Two tracks from Maiden’s landmark 1983 album The Number Of The Beast remain unplayed: rampaging opener Invaders and, less surprisingly, the much maligned Gangland – the latter a song even Steve Harris says they should have left off in favour of the far superior single B-side Total Eclipse (yep, they’ve played that one too).


Piece Of Mind

Maiden’s fourth album, Piece Of Mind, is frontloaded with absolute classics, from Where Eagles Dare through to Die With Your Boots On. It also contains one of Maiden’s great forgotten songs in the dazzling Sun And Steel and one of their all-time stinkers in the dinosaur-brained Quest For Fire. Neither of the latter pair have ever been played live. Go figure.


Powerslave

Many of the songs from Maiden’s most epic 80s album were showcased on 1985’s Live After Death, including grandiose centrepiece Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, but neither the swashbuckling one-two of Flash Of The Blade and The Duellists have been aired in the decades since they were originally released. Surely it’s about time for at least one of them to get some game time.


Somewhere In Time

The Future Past tour is set to focus on Maiden’s 1986 album Somewhere In Time. Maybe that means Deja Vu and historically-themed closer Alexander The Great, the two songs from it that have never been played live, will finally be thrust into the spotlight.


Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

Maiden have leaned heavily on their 1987 sort-of concept album, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son over the years, though two songs have never taken their live bow: deep-cut The Prophecy and, more suprisingly, euphoric album closer Only The Good Die Young


No Prayer For The Dying

It might be the least loved Bruce Dickinson-fronted Maiden album, but they still hit No Prayer For The Dying hard live. Only three songs have never been played live – Fates Warning, Run Silent Run Deep and Mother Russia.  We don't hold out too much hope these will get dusted off in sets any time soon - the only song NPFTD song Maiden have played since Bruce rejoined is Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter, and even then just for the 2003 Give Me Ed... 'Til I'm Dead run.


Fear Of The Dark

A hefty eight songs from 1993’s Fear Of The Dark have never graced a Maiden setlist, though given it was Bruce Dickinson’s final album before shuffling off to the door marked “exit”, that’s hardly a shock. The tracks in question are Fear Is The Key, Childhood’s End, The Fugitive, Chains Of Misery, The Apparition, Judas Be My Guide and Weekend Warrior. While none of them are exactly gold-standard Maiden, it might be nice to hear them at least once now Bruce is back in the saddle


The X Factor

Ex-Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley joined Maiden just as classic metal hit the skids in the 90s. His Maiden debut has four songs that never reached the stage - Look For The Truth, Judgement Of Heaven, 2 A.M. and The Unbeliever – as well as three unplayed Japan-only bonus tracks in Justice Of The Peace, I Live My Way and Judgement Day. Maybe these songs won't be overlooked forever, but we're not holding our breath.


Virtual XI

Given that Como Estais Amigos remains an overlooked gem from the much-maligned Virtual XI , it’s ironic that it’s the only one of the album's eight tracks that is still waiting for its live debut (although Blaze Bayley regularly plays it at his gigs). Given fellow Virtual IX track The Clansmen has regularly appeared in Maiden’s set since Bruce rejoined , it doesn't seem entirely outside the realms of possibility that they might add Como Estais Amigos somewhere down the line. 


Brave New World

Brave New World was a fantastic comeback album following Maiden sailing some choppy waters during the 90s. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that most of its ten tracks have received at least a handful of airings - leaving just dark, mystical romp The Nomad and epic (yet strangely tender) album finale The Thin Line Between Love And Hate still waiting in the wings.


Dance Of Death

Despite the dodgy artwork, Dance Of Death deserves a lot more praise than it’s afforded - as evidenced by the quality of some of the songs not yet played live. We can live without seeing Age Of Innocence, but Face In The Sand is wonderfully dramatic while Gates Of Tomorrow, New Frontier and particularly Montsegur are all cast-iron bangers.


The Final Frontier

Maiden boldly played 2006’s classic A Matter Of Live And Death in full upon release, but 2010’s less-celebrated follow up The Final Frontier hasn’t had the same kind of love - Mother Of Mercy, The Alchemist, The Isle Of Avalon, Starblind and The Man Who Would Be King are all currently unaired. Of those, we’d definitely like to see the spiritual, sky-gazing Starblind dusted off.


The Book Of Souls

Given that it’s 18 minutes long, it’s understandable that Maiden have yet to find room on a setlist for Empire Of The Clouds. At around five to seven-and-a-half minutes in length, however, we wouldn’t totally rule out When The River Runs Deep, Shadows Of The Valley or The Man Of Sorrows making an appearance at some point down the line.


Sentjutsu

It’s early days for Senjutsu, with only the first three tracks of the album being played live so far. That means audiences have you to hear the following: Lost In A Lost World, Days Of Future Past, The Time Machine, Darkest Hour, Death Of The Celts, The Parchment and Hell On Earth. We’d love to see any of the three epic final tracks aired on the band’s 2023 tour - not least the seething, climactic Hell On Earth.

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.