Our weekly column "White Whale Vinyl" spotlights the most sought-after rare vinyl in the heavy-music universe. Shop for vinyl, including a selection of limited-edition Revolver-exclusive variants, and Iron Maiden collectibles via our store.
In May of 1983, Iron Maiden released Piece of Mind. It was the band's second album with vocalist Bruce Dickinson at the helm — after he'd taken the world by storm on their 1982 breakout, The Number of the Beast. Piece of Mind was also Maiden's first album with new drummer Nicko McBrain, who had replaced Clive Burr the previous year.
The disc features two of Maiden's best-known songs, "The Trooper" and "Flight of Icarus," both of which were released as singles. There's also a hidden message at the beginning of "Still Life," which can only be heard by playing the LP backwards. Recorded in response to religious fanatics who accused Maiden — and many other heavy metal bands — of being Satanists, it's actually McBrain's tongue-in-cheek impression of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
As one of Maiden's most popular albums — it peaked at Number 3 in the U.K. and Number 14 in the U.S., eventually going platinum in '86 — Piece of Mind has been issued in hundreds of editions around the world since its original release. But none is more elusive than the special Colombian edition, released on transparent blue vinyl by EMI in 1983. There doesn't seem to be any reliable information about how many copies were pressed, but this white (blue?) whale has regularly fetched over $1,000 for years. Then, in May of 2020, a copy sold on Discogs for a whopping $1,800. It was the first time the site had recorded a sale of this rarity.
However, buyers beware: Piece of Mind has been released on blue vinyl several other times — in South Korea in 1986, in the U.K. in 2001 and in Europe in 2014, just to name a few — but nearly all of them are bootlegs. The Colombian edition will have this matrix runout near the center labels: COL 11944 IX-27-83-E.A.G