Full name: Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958). Dickinson is known as the singer of Iron Maiden, yet he's also an airline pilot, fencer, broadcaster, author, director, screenwriter, actor, marketing director, entrepreneur and songwriter. Phew... Has a voice so powerful, he's been nicknamed the "Air Raid Siren".
He was born in 1958, in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, from an Army mechanic and a shopkeeper; since both of them were teenagers, his birth hurried them into marriage. He fronted several small pub bands until he joined Samson in 1979 under the stage name of "Bruce Bruce"; he released two albums with this band before leaving in order to replace Paul Di'Anno as the lead singer of Iron Maiden.
With the Irons, he gained world-level fame with the release of Maiden's The Number of the Beast in 1982 and the five following albums since then, all of them considered heavy metal classics. Then Maiden's Audience-Alienating Era of The '90s (started with the departure of guitar player Adrian Smith) saw him singing in two more albums before leaving them in order to focus on his solo career.
Said career started with 1990's "Tattooed Millionaire" and this album was followed with Bruce's first solo album since departing from Maiden, 1994's "Balls to Picasso". Then, after the release of the experimental, grunge-sounding "Skunkworks" in 1996, fellow Maiden mate Adrian Smith joined Dickinson's solo band, with him he recorded the acclaimed "Accident of Birth" (1997) and "The Chemical Wedding" (1998) before both Dickinson and Smith rejoined the 'Irons in 2000, where they kept playing since then. He later released another solo album in 2005, "Tyranny of Souls", which, as of 2017, it's still his latest record.
In 2015, he was been diagnosed with tongue cancer and underwent treatment.
Discography with Samson
- 1980 - Head On
- 1981 - Shock Tactics
Discography with Iron Maiden
- 1982 - The Number of the Beast
- 1983 - Piece of Mind
- 1984 - Powerslave
- 1986 - Somewhere in Time
- 1988 - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
- 1990 - No Prayer for the Dying
- 1992 - Fear of the Dark
- 2000 - Brave New World
- 2003 - Dance of Death
- 2006 - A Matter of Life and Death
- 2010 - The Final Frontier
- 2015 - The Book of Souls
- 2021 - Senjutsu
- 1990 - Tattooed Millionaire
- 1994 - Balls to Picasso
- 1996 - Skunkworks
- 1997 - Accident of Birth
- 1998 - The Chemical Wedding
- 2005 - Tyranny of Souls
Tropes related with him and/or his works:
- Badass Bookworm: Well-versed in history and an airline pilot, also very physically fit and talented.
- In fact, he hosted a Discovery Channel series called Flying Heavy Metal, and was given a chance to fly the Space Shuttle simulator in one of the episodes. He landed it on the first go, and the instructor was impressed, saying "That was great!".
- Ballad of X: "Ballad of Mutt", from the Tattooed Millionaire single.
- Berserk Button:
- He's very protective of his voice — understandable, since it's how he earns his living. So when he catches a whiff of someone in the concert smoking, he'll drop everything to yell at them.
- Probably best not to talk on your phone during a Maiden gig either.
- As shown in this video, do not beat up a fellow fan at a gig. He ended up verbally tearing the culprit a new one.
- Captain Morgan Pose: The Iron Maiden Greatest Hits DVD collection includes some behind the scenes footage where a sound tech points out the features of various band member's monitor speakers. Bruce's are a) not actually used (he gets his monitor feed through an earpiece) and b) bolted down to the stage, so he can do this. Or jump on them. Or use them as a banked surface to run on.
- Careful with That Axe: His scream in Maiden's "The Number of the Beast" was the result of pure frustration at producer Martin Birch forcing him to redo the opening for hours, which was thrown in.
- Catchphrase: He often shouts to the audience, "Scream for me, [insert name of country/city]!" when playing live. The best moment of this Catchphrase is before the appearance of Eddie himself in Maiden's concerts, generally in the Self-Titled Song.
- City Shout Outs: His Catchphrase is "Scream for me, [insert name of country/city]!" whenever Iron Maiden performs their self-titled song, this is also a cue for Eddie to appear.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Swearing is generally not something he goes all out on, but should you hurl things at him (or the band for that matter), abuse the fans or commit unspeakable atrocities, don't be surprised when he belts out one your way. See Berserk Button on this page too.
- Darker and Edgier:
- His whole discography feels like a progression of his developing sound, getting more serious, thematic, and darker as time goes on. It starts off as a kind of hard rock with quite superficial lyrics in Tattooed Millionaire, moves on to more heavy themes in Balls to Picasso and Skunkworks such as Headswitch, Inertia, etc., and culminates in The Chemical Wedding and Tyranny of Souls, which are both quite heavy in terms of themes, and also the music. It's possible to imagine the intro riffs from The Chemical Wedding's "King in Crimson", for example, speaking out something like "Down down, down down down, down down...".
- Within his own discography, the trio Accident Of Birth, The Chemical Wedding and Tyranny of Souls. After experimenting with styles like grunge and hard rock for his first three solo records, he recruited former fellow Iron Maiden bandmate Adrian Smith for his solo band, and returned to straight-up heavy metal on those recordsnote . The results are... dark, even when compared to his work with Iron Maiden. He sings in a more gravely and less operatic style, the lyrical themes are grimmer ("Man of Sorrows" is about the tragic life of Aleister Crowley, for example), and the guitar sound is more razor-sharp. A few songs on TCW even use downtuned guitars for an extra sheen of darkness.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Pretty much no straight man has left a gig of Maiden's wondering how they could look as incredible as he does, and how they could be in top shape like him at his age.
- Evil Laugh: He does this in a lot of songs. "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter", "The Evil That Men Do", "Can I Play With Madness" and specially "Fear Of The Dark" come immediately to mind. Of particular note, "Moonchild" climaxes with a bone-chilling, prolonged evil cackle from him.
- Greatest Hits Album: The Best of Bruce Dickinson.
- A proper Best of album in fact, as it should be, not one made by publishers. This one includes unfinished personal pieces (Wicker man (not the one you think), as well as his first recording ever, "Dracula", and a 13 minute monologue about some of the songs and putting the album together. A real gem.
- Honor Before Reason: When Bruce found out his then-wife had slept with a member of Mötley Crüe, he challenged Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars to a fencing duel. Mars was confused, as he had not, in fact, been the one who slept with Bruce's wife. That was bassist Nikki Sixx.
- Like Father, Like Son: Both his sons Austin and Griffin are vocalists. Austin is the former vocalist of Rise To Remain and current vocalist of As Lions, whilst Griffin is the vocalist of Shvpes.
- Metal Scream:
RUN! FOR! YOUR! LI-IIIIIIIIIIII-IVES!
- He's a master of these. Particularly when it crosses with Punctuated! For! Emphasis!.
- He seems to have passed this trait down to his sons too, although Austin has averted it since starting As Lions.
- Nice Guy: One thing that helps cement his status as one of heavy metal's most beloved figures.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Bruce is only 5'6" (168 cm) tall, but undoubtedly one of the most dynamic front-men in rock/metal with a powerful voice and stage presence.
- The Power of the Sun: The eponymous sun, from Tyranny of Souls.
- Precision F-Strike:
- Renaissance Man: He has been described as this.
- He Also Did: He also has an aircraft maintenance business, is a qualified 757 pilot, starred in a PSA on aircraft safety and wants to start his own airline.
- Ninja Pilot Zombie Robot: Bruce flew "Ed Force One" the 757 with Eddie's face and the band's logo that was modified to carry the band's equipment.
- Shown Their Work: Does a lot of research on the subject of his songs, and as a result there are few mistakes.
- Signature Style: His Metal Scream and operatic voice.
- Stage Names: He was known as "Bruce Bruce" during his Samson years.
- Start My Own: His solo career started while he was in Maiden. After he left the band, the project went full-time for the rest of The '90s. Even today, said career is still on.
- Take That!: "1000 Points of Light", a jab at George H. W. Bush. Bonus points for ripping the title from Bush's speech on promoting volunteer work and charity.