wiping the slate

Charlotte the Harlot

Charlotte the Harlot is the name of a song and a (presumably fictional) character who features in four tracks by the heavy metal group Iron Maiden.

Song appearances

  • On the self titled Iron Maiden Charlotte made her debut appearance in the song "Charlotte the Harlot", composed by guitarist Dave Murray.
  • Her second song was "22 Acacia Avenue" from The Number of the Beast (this time composed by Steve Harris and Adrian Smith). The title refers to the residence of Charlotte the Harlot and is a clear sequel where Charlotte is convinced to end her prostitution. The header for the lyrics in the album booklet state 'the continuing saga of Charlotte the Harlot'.
  • "Hooks In You" from No Prayer for the Dying is usually considered the third Charlotte song. However Charlotte is never referenced, but instead that the narrator has "the keys to view at Number 22". It is worth noting that Adrian Smith, who co-wrote the song with Bruce Dickinson, had been having problems with the style the band was changing to after the 'Somewhere in Time' and 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' albums and may deliberately have been going over themes from older songs to change this.
  • "From Here to Eternity" from Fear of the Dark concerns a Charlotte being seduced by a man and his motorcycle. The lyrics of this song could be interpreted to imply that Charlotte dies, and this may be Harris wiping the slate clean. (Composed by Steve Harris).

While the latter two songs are clearly intended to reference the former two, they do not form any sort of clear narrative with them. The third one at least sticks to the concept of Charlotte being a prostitute, but the end of '22 Acacia Avenue' has the narrator demanding Charlotte end her life of prostitution and claims, "you're coming with me." It is likely Charlotte's adventures will not continue, due to the style of Maiden's music changing from this point onwards, and due to the fact Charlotte likely "died" in 'From Here to Eternity' (where she is mentioned by name).

In an interview, Steve Harris was asked "Is there a real Charlotte?" and answered "sort of", before changing the subject. However, when asked, Paul Di'Anno said the following: "Yep, it's true. Her real name is High Hill Lil and she’s basically an old prostitute. Well, actually she was more of a slut, ha ha! I mean, if you turned up to her house with some booze or some speed you were more or less guaranteed a lay. She was a legend in Walthamstow, everyone knew her... She was about 45 but a real rock out bitch... She’d take any guy from 15 upwards, ha ha! The song says that she lived on Acacia Avenue but it's actually Markhouse Road, just before you go into Leyton 'cause that's the area where I lived."[2] Di'Anno has however been known to say things that aren't entirely true, and therefore the above information must be taken with a pinch of salt.


[2] The Iron Maiden Commentary:

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