he story of Bruce Dickinson and his music career starts in 1978. Born in 1958 at Sheffield, England Paul Bruce Dickinson would join Samson shortly after leaving school. With Samson he was known as Bruce Bruce and released three albums with them, Head On (1980), Shock Tactics (1980) and the live album Live at Reading (1981), but would assume is name proper as Bruce Dickinson when he took over from Paul Di'Anno as the voice for Iron Maiden in 1981; he would soon after participate on their breakthrough album Number Of The Beast (1982). From that point until 1993 he was consumed under the shadow of the mighty 'Maiden and is credited as the voice that made them top the charts.
Dickinson's solo career started when 'Zomba Music' asked him to do a track for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. The song, Bring Your Daughter...To the Slaughter would be one of the flagship tracks for Iron Maiden that year by giving them their only UK #1 single to date. The original recorded version of the song written as Dickenson designed remained unheard for many years.
His intentions to pursue a solo career became obvious when in 1990 he published his comic kids novel, The Adventures Of Iffy Boatrace, which was nothing short of a meager attempt at the style of Tom Sharpe. Although, in literary circles, it was not an epic classical novel, scores of 'Maiden fans made it a best seller. Recruiting Janick Gers (ex-Iron Maiden; guitar) and Fabio Del Rio (ex-Jagged Edge; drums) that same year his debut solo album, Tattooed Millionaire, topped the charts at UK 14 (100 in the US; his only to chart there), with the title track alone achieving 18 in the UK. The album was a mellower and a more commercial effort then his works with Iron Maiden but it managed enough of a Hard Rock crossover to chart well. His remake single of Mott The Hoople's All the Young Dudes also reached top 30. A keen fencer, he also managed to rank seventh in the Great Britain for men's foils.
Shortly after releasing his second book in 1993, The Missionary Position, a more serious attempt at writing, he would suddenly and surprisingly quit Iron Maiden. His second opus, Balls To Picasso (1994), got him heavy rotation in video and airplay, getting a UK 21 charting. With the new line-up of Alex Dickson (guitar), Chris Dale (bass) and Alessandro Elena (drums) his first live album, Alive In Studio A (1995), would fail to get attention. Skunkworks (1996), however, was a no more popular effort being too much in the "Alternative Pop" style for his traditional fans to stomach, it received almost half the charting of its predecessor at 41, not bad but not up to the world's expectations of his work. Accident of Birth (1997), however, was another matter. Despite it only gaining a 53 chart position, it was an amazing come back for him. Featuring much of the style as when he was in Iron Maiden. The Chemical Wedding (1998) fared equally as well making 55 in the UK. But it was a sort of celebration, for he decided to return to his home of heavy metal and, shortly after a supporting tour culminating in the release of Scream For Me Brazil (1999) on his own 'Air Raid' label, he would return to Iron Maiden.
Although his return to Iron Maiden crippled his solo career, it is not officially over, for in 2000, Dickinson performed vocals on the song, Into the Black Hole, for Ayreon's Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator. Later that year, he collaborated with Judas Priest's front-man, Rob Halford, recording, The One You Love to Hate, for his debut, Resurrection.
A compilation, entitled The Best of Bruce Dickinson, was released in late 2001, including two new songs and a bonus disc of rarities. His last solo album thus far, Tyranny of Souls came in 2005. This time the song-writing was all split between Roy Z and Dickinson and many songs were composed by Z sending recordings of riffs to Dickinson while he was on tour with Iron Maiden.
On June 21, 2005, Dickinson's complete solo discography was re-released, featuring bonus discs with rare and remastered tracks. That same year, Dickinson contributed to the song, Beast in the Light, from Tribuzy's album, Execution, and their subsequent live album. A three-DVD box set, entitled Anthology, was released on June 19, 2006, containing concerts and promo videos from throughout his solo career, as well as an old Samson video, entitled Biceps of Steel.
Known for his extra-curricular activities, following Astraeus' closure, Dickinson created his own aircraft maintenance and pilot training company in 2012 called 'Cardiff Aviation' (he is a licensed pilot). He also presented his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2002-2010, has also hosted television documentaries, authored novels and film scripts and created a successful beer with 'Robinson's Brewery'.
In December 2017, Dickinson said that he had tentative plans for his next solo album to be "a whole concept album", with the title being If Eternity Should Fail, the name taken from a track on Iron Maiden's album The Book of Souls (2015).
Footnote: Released in 1979, Samson's album Survivors features Bruce Dickinson as a band member on the cover sheet. However, the album was completed before he joined the band; guitarist Paul Samson was, in fact, on vocal duty. The re-issue on CD features five bonus tracks with Dickinson performing some tracks from the original release.
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Bruce Dickinson performing with Iron maiden in Costa Rica. Photo by: adels.
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Artists mentioned in this article:
|Iron Maiden||Samson||Mott The Hoople|