Iron Maiden will release Empire of the Clouds, their longest ever song, with a duration of over eighteen minutes as a limited edition 12” picture disc single for Record Store Day on April 16th.

Taken from their latest studio album The Book Of Souls, the single is housed in a uniquely artworked sleeve, featuring a replica of the actual newspaper story reporting on the fate of the R101 airship, which is the focus of the song. Written by Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, it will be made available through Parlophone Records (BMG in the U.S.A) with the B-side featuring an in depth audio interview with Dickinson about the inspiration for the track which has been a truly personal labour of love and is, he claims: “A very poignant story, a very human story, a story of ambition and dreams”.

Supporting RSD for the very first time with an Iron Maiden piece, director of strategic marketing (Parlophone) Paul Fletcher explains how the band came to be involved. “After the success of The Book Of Souls last year and especially with the reaction to the triple vinyl format I felt that a song like Empire Of The Clouds needed to be immortalized in some way. It was never going to be a radio track/single so after discussions with management we went down the let’s educate route and commemorate a real tragedy that Bruce had chosen to portray in this amazing song. As usual with Maiden they turned the package into something special with unique commissioned artwork and the idea to licence historic material from the Daily Mirror archives from 1930. The result is an incredible package that both vinyl collectors & Maiden fans will be keen to own.”