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On This Day in Metal: April 26th 1982 Iron Maiden Released Their Famous Single The Number Of The Beast
"Woe to you, oh Earth and sea, for the Devil sends the beast with wrath
Because he knows the time is short
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast
For it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty six"
This song was influenced by the 1978 movie Damien: Omen II, which is about a 13-year-old Antichrist. It was written by Iron Maiden bass player Steve Harris, who explained: "Basically, this song is about a dream. It's not about devil worship."
The song starts with a quote from the Bible, read by British actor Barry Clayton; the first lines from Revelations 12:12 and the last three from Revelations 13:8. The band wanted the horror film actor Vincent Price to read this intro, but he wanted more money than they were willing to pay.
Lead singer Bruce Dickinson said of this song: "We can play with conviction every night, because we totally believe in the music we're performing." This quote, along with the line "666, the one for you and me" led many preachers and enemies of rock music to believe Maiden were Satanists.
The song would be one of Iron Maiden's best songs having peaked on the Official Charts at number 18.
Additionally, the song has been covered numerous times and has appeared in several video games and films.