The Number of the Beast is a novel by Robert A. Heinlein.

It is also a Song by Iron Maiden and other things, see number of the beast and 666.

The book by Heinlein is an interesting experiment on multiple solipsism, the idea that reality is just a shared illusion and characters have the same reality as their creators. It features characters from Methusala's Children, Stranger In A Strange Land, The Wizard of Oz and many other science fiction and fantasy books.
Album by Iron Maiden, released in 1982.
This was Iron Maiden's real break-through album, and the first one to have Bruce Dickinson on vocals, who replaced Paul Di'Anno who was fired in 1981.
The reason that Bruce Dickinson didn't write any songs for this album is that he was still under contract with another record company, so if he would write any songs, they would be owned by that record company, and not by Iron Maiden. According to the rumors, he did write a few songs (for example Run To The Hills, Gangland and The Prisoner) but they were credited to others on purpose.
This album caused Iron Maiden to be accused of satanism, which is a lot of bullshit. The album cover is one of Iron Maiden's most famous, and it shows that Eddie is the one who's pulling Satan's strings.

Line-up:
Bruce Dickinson: vocals
Dave Murray: guitars
Adrian Smith: guitars
Steve Harris: bass
Clive Burr: drums

Tracklisting:

1. Invaders.
Written by Steve Harris.
A song about an Viking invasion. This song has evolved from the song Invasion which was on the Soundhouse Tapes, Iron Maiden's first recordings.

2. Children Of The Damned.
Written by Steve Harris.
The song is inspired by the movie of the same name from 1963, about six children with psychic abilities, who are forced to battle an inferior human race.

3. The Prisoner.
Written by Adrian Smith and Steve Harris.
Based on the tv series of the same name, with Patrick McGoohan.

4. 22 Acacia Avenue.
Written by Steve Harris and Adrian Smith.
This song is the follow-up to Charlotte The Harlot, which can be found on the first Iron Maiden album. It's about where she lives in London's East End, and what she does there.

5. The Number Of The Beast.
Written by Steve Harris.
The song was inspired by the movie Omen II, from 1978.

6. Run To The Hills.
Written by Steve Harris.
One of Iron Maiden's most famous songs. It's about Indians, and how they were driven away from their own land by soldiers.

7. Gangland.
Written by Adrian Smith and Clive Burr.
It's about life in the 1930's, with the gangsters.

8. Hallowed Be Thy Name..
Written by Steve Harris.
A song about the thoughts and emotions of a man who is sentenced to death, who is on his way to the gallow's pole.

The 1998 re-release had, besides some multimedia stuff (pictures, biographies, videoclips) which you can view on your computer, an extra track, Total Eclipse, which was written by Steve Harris, Dave Murray and Clive Burr, about the end of the world. It was originally a b-side for the Run To The Hills single.

At the end of 2001, a special DVD for this album was released in the Classic Albums series (which also includes Judas Priest's British Steel, amongst others). It includes new interviews with the band, in which they look back on the album.

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