Iron Maiden’s most intricate album cover explained in detail
Iron Maiden released their album Somewhere In Time on this day in 1986. It’s one of their most intricately detailed album covers and layered with many in-jokes and nods to their past.
Artist Derek Riggs spent the best part of a month on the 32-inch by 15-inch painting.
“It wore me out quite severely,” Riggs revealed in Martin Popoff’s book Run For Cover: The Art Of Derek Riggs. “I was living in London at the time, and working on that for two months, and it took three months in all – I just had to stop, because I had had enough. It got into my head and I just couldn’t see anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else. It did my head in, because there’re all these little details.”
We’ve stared at the front and back cover for what feels like days to bring you 39 of those little details…
1. Riggs’ stylised signature can be seen as a badge on Eddie’s chest.
2. Eddie is posed next to a street sign which partially reads Acacia. We can only assume it’s a reference to The Number Of Beast song 22 Acacia Avenue.
3. Next to him is a poster from the band’s 1980 debut album.
4. To the left of Eddie’s gun, there’s an Eye Of Horus placed at the top of a skyscraper. This ancient Egyptian protection symbol is mentioned in the title track of 1984’s Powerslave.
5. Behind Eddie’s right leg, reflected in the window of the Bradbury Towers Hotel International, there’s a sign that reads ‘This is a very boring painting’. Speak for yourself, there’s plenty of references to go.
6. The biohazard sign on Eddie’s crotch? “He’s got a nuclear-powered willy,” says Riggs. Quite
7. Next to Eddie’s left leg, there’s a plastic yellow bin fixed to a lamppost, referencing the cover of Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut album.
8. Aw. Who’s this? It’s the black cat from the Live After Death artwork. Name unknown.
9. Who’s Webster? Charlie Webster was EMI’s art director.
10. Hungry? There’s a Pizza Hot which can be seen through Eddie’s legs. “The Cyrillic above the words Pizza Hot? I think it says sour milk in Russian,” remembers Riggs. The perfect drink to wash down a Meat Feast.