"2 Minutes to Midnight" is a song by Iron Maiden, featured on their fifth studio album, Powerslave (1984). It was released as the band's tenth single, and first from the album on 6 August 1984. It rose to number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 25 on Billboard Top Album Tracks. The band's first single to exceed five minutes in length, it remained their longest until the release of "Infinite Dreams" in November 1989.
The song title references the Doomsday Clock, the symbolic clock used by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which represents a countdown to potential global catastrophe. In September 1953 the clock reached two minutes to midnight, the closest it ever got to midnight, when the United States and Soviet Union tested H-bombs within nine months of one another. The atomic clock, set at 12 minutes to midnight in 1972, regressed thereafter among US/Soviet tensions, reaching three minutes to midnight in 1984 – the year this track was released – and at that time the most dangerous clock reading since 1953. According to Dickinson, the song critically addresses "the romance of war" in general rather than the Cold War in particular. Currently in the year 2018 the clock reads 2 minutes to midnight.
"Mission From 'Arry"Edit
The songs B-side, entitled "Mission from 'Arry", is a recording of an argument between Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain, which took place after a show in Allentown, Pennsylvania, during the band's World Piece Tour. During the concert, Harris' bass gear broke down, so he asked the nearest roadie to tell McBrain to extend his drum solo. The crew member was unable to communicate the message effectively, which unfortunately distracted McBrain and had a negative impact on his solo, causing him to yell at the roadie afterwards. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson states that he found the ensuing argument so amusing that he decided to record it with a concealed tape recorder.