The song describes a man's thoughts just before being sent to the gallows. He begins to feel terror and realizes he really is afraid of dying, despite claims that he's not. At the end of the vocal section, the man gets executed; this is followed by a long instrumental section, culminating in his ambiguous final words, "Hallowed be thy name".
Hallowed Be Thy Name begins with a slow tempo and builds up later in the song. Bruce Dickinson showcases his wide vocal range and power at both slow and fast tempo. This song is considered one of Iron Maiden's classics, and is a staple at live concerts. The first guitar solo is played by Dave Murray, and the second by Adrian Smith. Since Smith left the band and was replaced by Janick Gers, Gers has played Smith's solo, even after Smith returned to the band.
The cover depicts Bruce Dickinson being impaled from behind by Eddie, in the form of Satan. The same idea of Eddie killing the departing vocalist had previously been used on the cover of the Venezuelan release of Maiden Japan (with him holding the severed head of Paul Di'Anno). This theme was also used during Bruce Dickinson's farewell performance, during the Raising Hell concert, where horror Illusionist Simon Drake, after seemingly killing Dickinson, gets impaled by Eddie.
This single was also released as a red 45 r.p.m (7") vinyl.