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The Number of the Beast

Iron Maiden

The Number of the Beast Lyrics

[Spoken intro: Barry Clayton]
Woe to you, o'er 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


[Verse 1: Bruce Dickinson]
I left alone, my mind was blank
I needed time to think to get the memories from my mind
What did I see? Can I believe that what I saw
That night was real and not just fantasy?

Just what I saw, in my old dreams, were they
Reflections of my warped mind staring back at me?

Cause in my dream, it's always there
The evil face that twists my mind and brings me to despair


YEAH!

[Verse 2]
The night was black, was no use holding back
Cause I just had to see, was someone watching me?
In the mist, dark figures move and twist
Was this all for real or just some kind of hell?


[Chorus 1]
666 the number of the beast
Hell and fire was spawned to be released


[Verse 3]
Torches blazed and sacred chants were phrased
As they start to cry, hands held to the sky
In the night, the fires burning bright
The ritual has begun, Satan's work is done


[Chorus 2]
666 the number of the beast
Sacrifice is going on tonight


[Guitar solo: Dave Murray]
[Guitar solo: Adrian Smith]

[Verse 4]
This can't go on, I must inform the law
Can this still be real, or just some crazy dream?

But I feel drawn towards the chanting hordes
They seem to mesmerize, can't avoid their eyes


[Chorus 3]
666 the number of the beast
666 the one for you and me


[Verse 5]
I'm coming back, I will return
And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn
I have the fire, I have the force
I have the power to make my evil take its course

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About “The Number of the Beast”

This song was the band’s second single from their 1982 album. It was influenced by the 1978 horror movie Damien: Omen II, which is about the 13-year-old Antichrist. It is one of Iron Maiden’s most famous and one of heavy metal’s most recognizable songs.

Basically, this song is about a dream. It’s not about devil worship.

-Steve Harris

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.

During the recording of the album, there were rumors floating about that supernatural occurrences had been going on in the studio, such as lights flipping on and off, strange noises and visions of Satan. This was used as evidence that Satan and the Antichrist had a hand in making this. Many preachers and enemies of rock music were led to believe Maiden were Satanists, because of the song’s title. Steve Harris called them mad. They completely got the wrong end of the stick. They obviously hadn’t read the lyrics. They just wanted to believe all that rubbish about us being Satanists.

Bruce Dickinson’s high-pitched scream at the end of the intro was a result of producer Martin Birch forcing the band to replay the intro several times. Dickinson became so fed up with the constant repeats that he emitted the scream out of frustration, and it fit so well that the band decided to keep it.

  • What have the artists said about the song?

    They completely got the wrong end of the stick. They obviously hadn’t read the lyrics. They just wanted to believe all that rubbish about us being Satanists.
    Basically, this song is about a dream. It’s not about devil worship.

    Steve Harris, composer of the song, about people complaining about the supposed satanic meaning of the song.

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