Jim Adams’ theme this week is Chinese Zodiac Animals. As he points out, there are 12 zodiac animals, each associated with a year in 12-year cycles. Simple? Not exactly. Each year’s zodiac animal is paired with one of five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, or metal. All five elements cycle through each zodiac animal, creating a 60-year element cycle. For example, 2019 is a Year of the Pig and is associated with the earth element. Twelve years from now, 2031 will also be a Pig year but will be associated with the metal element. Since I was born in a Water Dragon year, I looked for songs featuring both concepts.
Bruce Dickinson’s “Tears of the Dragon” fit the bill. Struck by the power and raw emotion of the song’s lyrics, I had no idea Dickinson is a Renaissance man whose primary gig is lead singer of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. “Tears of the Dragon,” the first single from his second solo album, 1994’s “Balls to Picasso,” is not what I would consider heavy metal. Watch the official “plugged in” version, then compare it with an acoustic performance, and judge for yourself. (Lyrics are included in the description of the official video, as well as here.)