So picture this: you're working in the Iron Maiden office. It's late 2003 / early 2004. The band just released Dance of Death and another album cycle begins. The phone rings... it's someone who works with Brandy, the R&B singer. They want to sample an Iron Maiden song. No, nothing classic and nothing from the earthshaking reunion with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith. They're asking about "The Clansman."

Now, we're not sure how this all went down, but however it happened, it had to seem like a prank at first. But in 2004 Brandy dropped Afrodisiac and it's fifth track, "I Tried" contained a sample of the feature melody off the epic Virtual XI track (check 0:14 in the video above).

And it doesn't even sound that good. No, we're not talking about "The Clansman," which was, to some fans, the only saving grace to Iron Maiden's misguided 1998 album. The sample comes off as clumsy, its hopeless overtones a black sheep among the frantic beats. During some parts of the song, it gels a bit better as the underlying guide to the flow of "I Tried" and Brandy's follow-along cadence, but the moody juxtaposition just feels off.

Perhaps a few R&B fans became exposed to Iron Maiden through the song and with Brandy's album having ascended to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and being certified Gold in the U.S., there's a chance a convert had been made. By comparison, Virtual XI only hit No. 132 on the charts and has not reached any level of RIAA certification.

Brandy, "I Tried"

Iron Maiden, "The Clansman"

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