Holy Smoke (song)

Last updated
"Holy Smoke"
Holy Smoke (Iron Maiden single - cover art).jpg
Single by Iron Maiden
from the album No Prayer for the Dying
B-side
  • "All in Your Mind"
  • "Kill Me Ce Soir"
Released10 September 1990
Recorded1990
Genre Heavy metal
Length3:47 [1]
Label EMI
Songwriter(s) Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson
Producer(s) Martin Birch
Iron Maiden singles chronology
"Infinite Dreams (Live in 1988)"
(1989)
"Holy Smoke"
(1990)
"Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter"
(1990)

"Holy Smoke" is a song by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It is the first single release to feature guitarist Janick Gers, who joined the band in mid-1990. It was released just weeks before the album, No Prayer for the Dying , and climbed to number three on the UK Singles Chart.

Contents

Synopsis

The song deals with the many televangelist scandals that took place in the United States in the late 1980s, including mentions of "Jimmy the Reptile" (a reference to Jimmy Swaggart), "The TV Queen" (a possible reference to Tammy Faye Bakker), Noah, and "plenty of bad preachers for the Devil to stoke." Contrary to what some believe, however, this song is not aimed at the Christian religion itself, but rather the people that abuse it to make gains for themselves. This is one of the very few Iron Maiden songs with profanity in the lyrics (for example, "Flies around shit/bees around honey" and "I've lived in filth/I've lived in sin/and I still smell cleaner than the shit you're in"), which is replaced by gunshot sounds in censored versions.

The song is atypical for the band standards, being short and straight. It features a common pop-rock song structure with intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, verse and ending with another chorus. The guitar solos are very fiery, making use of artificial harmonics, sweep picking, tapping and wild bends. The first solo is played by Janick Gers, and the second one is played by Dave Murray.

The band took a humorous approach for the video of the song, as the band members are filmed on Steve Harris's farm at Sheering, playing football and driving a tractor, while everything happens in bright daylight. There are similarities with Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" video, from 1984, such as writing on an amp behind Janick Gers that reads, "Mind Your Head", possibly a nod to a sign on the bridge shown early in the "Perfect Strangers" video. Bruce Dickinson is bouncing in a turnip field, dancing randomly and wearing a pink T-shirt, Dave Murray appears playing guitar with his feet in a creek, and Gers plays with a toy guitar in a swimming pool wearing only a pair of white swimming trunks, alternating with him in a goalkeeper kit playing his own guitar. The band's producer, Martin Birch, can also be seen on the video, wearing a kind of sadomasochist costume in some scenes. All this footage is interspersed with scenes of the band rehearsing in the Barnyard recording studio. The video was directed by Harris himself.

The B-side has covers of Stray's "All in Your Mind" and Golden Earring's "Kill Me Ce Soir". [2]

Track listing

7" Single
Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Holy Smoke" Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris 3:47
Side Two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
2."All in Your Mind" (Stray Cover) Del Bromham 4:31
12" Single
Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Holy Smoke"Dickinson, Harris3:47
Side Two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
2."All in Your Mind" (Stray Cover)Bromham4:31
3."Kill Me Ce Soir" (Golden Earring cover) George Kooymans, Barry Hay, John Fenton7:03

Personnel

Production credits are adapted from the 12 inch vinyl cover. [1]

Iron Maiden
Production

Versions

SongsCountry & YearCatalog NumberFormat
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindAustralia 1990EMI 2477-7Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindFrance 1990EMI 2040287Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindGermany 1990EMI 006 0 204028 7Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindItaly 1990EMI 06 20 4028 7Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindUK 1990EMI EM 153Black Labels Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindUK 1990EMI EM 153Silver Labels Single 7"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirEEC 1990 (German Label)EMI 060-20 4028 6Maxi Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirItaly 1990EMI 14 20 4028 6Maxi Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirUK 1990EMI 12 EMP 153Maxi Single 12" + Poster 12"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirUK 1990EMI EMP 153Picture Disc Single 12"
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirJapan Promo 1990EMI TOCP-6449CD Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirJapan 1990EMI TOCP-6449CD Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your Mind / Kill me Ce SoirUK 1990EMI CDEM 153CD Single
Holy SmokeUSA Promo 1990Epic ESK 2194CD Single
Holy Smoke / All in Your MindAustralia 1990EMI TC-2477-4Cassette Single
Holy Smoke / All in your MindUK 1990EMI TCM 153Cassette Single

Charts

Chart (1990)Peak
position
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100) [3] 6
Ireland (IRMA) [4] 4
Switzerland (Swiss Hitparade) [5] 20
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) [6] 3

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References

  1. 1 2 "Holy Smoke" 12 Inch Single (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 10 September 1990.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. "Holy Smoke" . Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  3. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media . 29 September 1990. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  4. "Irish singles archive". IRMA . irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  5. "Iron Maiden - 'Holy Smoke'". Swiss Hitparade . Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  6. "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 22 September 1990". Official Charts Company . Retrieved 14 October 2011.