Iron Maiden - The Trooper (Official Video)
Iron Maiden performing The Trooper live at Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile. April 10, 2011
Written by bassist and founding-member Steve Harris, the song is based on the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava 1854, which took place during the Crimean War, and inspired by Lord Tennyson's poem of the same name. The track has been the subject of much praise since its release, with AllMusic describing it as "an all-time genre classic that boasts guitarists [Dave Murray] and [Adrian Smith's] most memorable harmonized lead riff, plus that trademark galloping rhythm," while Mick Wall comments that it is the song "which most Maiden fans from those days still recall first when you mention the Piece of Mind album."
Despite the popularity of the song, it was the single's B-Side, a cover of Jethro Tull's "Cross-Eyed Mary", which managed to gain a substantial amount of airplay on US radio,becoming one of the band's few tracks, along with previous single "Flight of Icarus", to do so.
The single's accompanying music video included clips of a cavalry battle from the 1936 film The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, which the BBC refused to play unedited, deeming the footage too violent. The band's manager, Rod Smallwood, has since criticised the decision, stating, "Anyone would think we'd killed the horses ourselves instead of using an old Errol Flynn movie."
You'll take my life but I'll take yours too
You'll fire your musket but I'll run you through
So when you're waiting for the next attack
You'd better stand there's no turning back.
The Bugle sounds and the charge begins
But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath
As I plunge on into certain death.
The horse he sweats with fear we break to run
The mighty roar of the Russian guns
And as we race towards the human wall
The screams of pain as my comrades fall.
We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground
And the Russians fire another round
We get so near yet so far away
We won't live to fight another day.
We get so close near enough to fight
When a Russian gets me in his sights
He pulls the trigger and I feel the blow
A burst of rounds take my horse below.
And as I lay there gazing at the sky
My body's numb and my throat is dry
And as I lay forgotten and alone
Without a tear I draw my parting groan.
Songwriters: Stephen Percy Harris
The Trooper lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC