Mount up, riders! The CME House Band charges into Full Band Friday at a gallop, taking on "The Trooper," the second single from Iron Maiden's essential 1983 album, Piece of Mind, with a trio of Fender Road Worn '60s Stratocasters.
Written by bassist and founding-member Steve Harris, the song is based on the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava 1854, which took place during the Crimean War, and inspired by Lord Tennyson's 1854 poem of the same name.The track has been the subject of much praise since its release, with AllMusic describing it as "an all-time genre classic that boasts guitarists [Dave Murray] and [Adrian Smith's] most memorable harmonized lead riff, plus that trademark galloping rhythm," while Mick Wall comments that it is the song "which most Maiden fans from those days still recall first when you mention the Piece of Mind album." Despite the popularity of the song, it was the single's B-Side, a cover of Jethro Tull's "Cross-Eyed Mary", which managed to gain a substantial amount of airplay on US radio, becoming one of the band's few tracks, along with previous single "Flight of Icarus", to do so.
The single's accompanying music video included clips of a cavalry battle from the 1936 film The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, which the BBC refused to play unedited, deeming the footage too violent. The band's manager, Rod Smallwood, has since criticised the decision, stating, "Anyone would think we'd killed the horses ourselves instead of using an old Errol Flynn movie."