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Wasted Years

Wasted Years

"Wasted Years" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It is the band's fourteenth single released and the first from their sixth studio album, Somewhere in Time (1986). Released in 1986, it was the first single solely written by guitarist Adrian Smith, who also sings backing vocals.

The song reached number 18 in the UK Singles Charts, as well as the top 10 in Finland and the Netherlands' Single Top 100.


The song deals with subject of homesickness and alienation, as well as the negative aspects of the band's nearly year long previous tour and personal problems that Smith and other band members were going through in that period.

The cover depicts the band mascot Eddie's point of view as he flies a time machine. Only a part of Eddie's face is seen, as a reflection in a screen. According to artist Derek Riggs, this is because the band did not want to reveal the mascot in his new cyborg guise until the album was released a few weeks later. As with the Somewhere in Time album sleeve, the single cover also features the TARDIS from the BBC series Doctor Who. Riggs describes the illustration as "a duffer. It's a technical illustration of a keyboard of a time machine, with Eddie reflected in the window, because it was the only thing we could think of that wouldn't give Eddie away".

Live performances

"Wasted Years" is one of three tracks from Somewhere in Time that have been played on more than two concert tours, the other two being the album's second single, "Stranger in a Strange Land", and "Heaven Can Wait". It was featured on Somewhere On Tour, Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour, Real Live Tour (only on few dates), The Ed Hunter Tour, Somewhere Back in Time World Tour and Maiden England World Tour.

Adrian Smith has performed the song live with his bands Psycho Motel and Smith/Kotzen, performing the lead vocals himself.

Track listing

7" single
12" single

Cover performances

American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams covered "Wasted Years" in 2013 for the soundtrack to the sixth season of the television series Californication. The cover received a negative review from Spin, which called it "neutered" and said "the alt-folk champ’s vocal performance is as maudlin as the lyrics are now revealed to be, liberated as they are from their original badass trappings."


Production credits are adapted from the 7-inch vinyl cover.

Iron Maiden

  • Bruce Dickinson – vocals, backing vocals on "Reach Out"
  • Adrian Smith – guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Reach Out"
  • Dave Murray – guitar
  • Steve Harris – bass
  • Nicko McBrain – drums


  • Martin Birch – producer, engineer, mixing
  • Derek Riggs – cover illustration
  • Aaron Rapoport – photography

Chart performance



Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Wasted Years by Wikipedia (Historical)