Flight of Icarus by Iron Maiden Lyrics Meaning – Soaring Beyond the Mythical and the Musical

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Iron Maiden's Flight of Icarus at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


As the sun breaks, above the ground
An old man stands on the hill
As the ground warms, to the first rays of light
A birdsong shatters the still

His eyes are ablaze
See the madman in his gaze

Fly on your way, like an eagle
Fly as high as the sun
On your way, like an eagle
Fly and touch the sun (yeah)

Now the crowd breaks and a young boy appears
Looks the old man in the eye
As he spreads his wings and shouts at the crowd
In the name of God, my father I’ll fly

His eyes seem so glazed
As he flies on the wings of a dream
Now he knows his father betrayed
Now his wings turn to ashes to ashes his grave

Fly on your way, like an eagle
Fly as high as the sun
On your way, like an eagle
Fly, touch the sun


Fly, on your way, like an eagle
Fly as high as the sun
On your way, like an eagle
Fly as high as the sun
On your way, like an eagle
Fly, touch the sun
On your way, like an eagle

Fly as high as the sun

Full Lyrics

Iron Maiden, the legendary torchbearers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, have never shied away from weaving rich tapestries of narrative into their music. Among their storied discography lies ‘Flight of Icarus,’ a standout track that melds Greek mythology with the band’s signature hard-hitting sonics to deliver a message that transcends its mythical roots.

Diving into ‘Flight of Icarus,’ listeners are carried on the waxen wings of the song’s protagonist, feeling the Icarian sun’s heat just as intensely as the driving beats and electrifying riffs. This introspective look into Iron Maiden’s powerful composition reveals layers of meaning, shedding light on the inherent human condition reflected in a tale centuries old, yet timeless in its relevance.

The Fire that Fuels the Flight: Dissecting the Fervor

The song opens with a pastoral dawn, setting the stage for rebirth and rebellion. Iron Maiden employs vivid imagery, describing the ‘old man on the hill’ whose gaze holds a manic intensity. This depiction is no coincidence; it is a window into the song’s overarching narrative about ambition and the dangerous allure of greatness.

When the lyrics speak of the ‘madman in his gaze,’ listeners can’t help but be reminded of the divine madness that often accompanies those who strive to transcend their perceived limits. In this sense, ‘Flight of Icarus’ may be as much about our own aspirations as it is about the ancient myth.

The Generational Divide and the Lust for Legacy

The inclusion of the ‘young boy’ in the lyrical tale represents the generational handoff of ambition and the youthful desire to surpass the achievements of one’s forebears. With the ‘old man’ as a likely embodiment of Daedalus, the boy’s determination to ‘fly on the wings of a dream’ speaks to our innate drive to break barriers and redefine the limits set by our predecessors.

As the song unfolds, the audience witnesses the transition of power and dream from the experienced to the inexperienced, inviting reflection on the price of such transferal of legacy and the inherent risks in the pursuit of greatness.

The Fall of Hubris: A Cautionary Chorus

With its soaring chorus, ‘Flight of Icarus’ offers a bitter, ironic twist on the idea of boundless ambition. ‘Fly as high as the sun’ becomes both a command and a warning, symbolizing Icarus’s ultimate doom. The repeated incantations implore listeners not just to dream, but to consider the cost of dreams untempered by wisdom.

This irony is not lost on Iron Maiden, who masterfully wraps this caution within an anthem that compels us to reach higher, even as it tells the tale of one who reached too far. The enigmatic ‘yeah’ punctuating the chorus accentuates an acknowledgment of the paradoxical nature of human desire for unfettered freedom.

Ashes to Ashes: The Hidden Meaning Unveiled

Though the song references the classic myth explicitly, its hidden meaning speaks to a contemporary issue: the destructiveness of unchecked ambition. ‘Now his wings turn to ashes to ashes his grave’ is a subtle nod to both the fate of Icarus and the often self-destructive path individuals and societies follow in pursuit of glory.

The lyrics suggest that the real tragedy of Icarus was not his fall, but the inherent betrayal by his father – implying that the pathologies of power and ambition are often inherited, and that rebellion can be a double-edged sword, betraying both rebel and the authority against which they rail.

A Flare in the Pantheon of Memorable Lines

What makes a song immortal, becoming part of the collective consciousness, is often a single line that captures its essence. ‘Fly, touch the sun’ is such a line from ‘Flight of Icarus.’ Simple yet profound, it encapsulates the human spirit’s relentless quest to reach the unreachable.

This line has become a rallying cry for those who dare to dream big, but also serves as a somber reminder that the most compelling dreams can become consuming fires. It’s a testament to the layered songwriting that Iron Maiden is renowned for, embedding songs with lines that echo in eternity.

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