“Women in Uniform" was originally recorded by Skyhooks in 1978; it was written by bass player, Greg Macainsh and appeared on their fourth album, Guilty Until Proven Insane. It hit the Top 10 singles chart in Australia.
Iron Maiden's cover of the song was the band's third single and their last recorded work to feature guitarist Dennis Stratton, released on 27 October 1980 in order to promote the second British leg of their Iron Maiden Tour. It was included on the Australian edition of their second album Killers, and in 1990, the 12" version was reissued on CD and 12" vinyl as part of The First Ten Years box set.
The idea to cover the song was suggested by the band's publishing company, Zomba, who set them up with studio time at Battery Studios with AC/DC producer Tony Platt. They were sceptical at first about recording a song that was so different from their style, however bassist Steve Harris conceded when Platt was hired, on the basis that "he worked with AC/DC and that, I thought, 'Oh, you know, fine. He's not gonna pull us in any commercial direction".
After trying to create their own "heavy" version of the song, to Harris' dismay he found out that Platt, with help from Stratton, had been tampering with the song's mix as he had been briefed by Zomba to "Try and get a hit single." As a result, Platt was dismissed and Harris remixed the track himself.
The single cover features an image of Margaret Thatcher with a Sterling submachine gun, preparing to attack the group's mascot, Eddie. According to the band, the cover was a joke which was meant to ask whether her motive was through jealousy or revenge (following the infamous "Sanctuary" artwork that featured Eddie killing Thatcher), which managed to cause further controversy.
Here's the orginal recording by Skyhooks from 1978
The Whitlams performed this song at the 1998 ARIA Awards and released a limited edition single the following year
Fans of Iron Maiden will no doubt be excited that their huge vinyl box set continues to be released, this weeks addition includes Brave New World, Rock In Rio (Live), Dance of Death and A Matter of Live and Death. For more information on this, check out our announcement here, and you can order the set here.
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