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Music / Bruce Dickinson

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"Pilot, world class fencer (that's swords, not fence installation), author, radio DJ, historian... Somehow Iron Maiden's frontman manages to fit world tours around all his other pursuits."

Full name: Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958). He's possibly the biggest example of the workaholic you'll ever find. 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 Dork Age 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.

Not related to The Bruce Dickinson, so hold your cowbell jokes.


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

Solo discography

  • 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 Dicovery Channel series called Flying hevy 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 baffled, saying "That was great!' Watch it here
  • 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 the sound engineer 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.
  • 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.
  • Cool Old Guy: Now that he's pushing 60, Bruce qualifies among the coolest of the cool.
  • Darker and Edgier: His two late-90's solo albums Accident Of Birth and ESPECIALLY The Chemical Wedding. 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 two records (as well as Tyranny Of Souls). 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), and the guitar sound is more razor-sharp. A few songs on TCW even use downtuned guitars for an extra sheen of darkness. This extends to 2005's Tyranny of Souls, even though Smith wasn't in his solo band anymore (what with both Bruce and him returning to Maiden and staying with the band since then).
    • In fact 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, moves on to more heavy themes, such as Headswitch, Inertia, etc., and culminates in The chemical wedding and A tyranny of souls, which are both quite 'heavy' in terms of themes, and also the music. The King in Crismson intro riffs (from TCW), for example, you could imagine them speaking out something like 'Down down, down down down, down down...' One of the darkest riffs in a heavy metal song...
  • 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 Dickinson'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:
    • He seems to have passed this trait down to his sons too, although Austin has averted it since starting As Lions.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: His solo music is a bit more scattered in terms of hardness than his music with Iron Maiden. His harder songs are usually a 7, with songs like "Freak" bordering on 8. However, he also has quite a few softer and more ballad-like songs, which usually range from 2 to 4.
  • Name's the Same: Other than their names, "The Alchemist" from Maiden's The Final Frontier has nothing to do with the track of the same name on The Chemical Wedding. Neither does "The Man of Sorrows", from Maiden's The Book of Souls.
    • And his unfinished Wicker man, which has been a source of frustration for him, so that when he suggested that line for Iron Maiden's Wicker Man, and Steve Harris said that should be the title he was like "I don't want to go through that again"
  • 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 undoubtably one of the most dynamic frontmen 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:
    • Considering how Hot-Blooded he is, the live performances go into this, sometimes in rants, or during songs ("alright, fucking scream it!").
    • In a heartwarming moment, in tribute to deceased Ronnie James Dio, "You are the fucking rainbow in the dark!".
  • Renaissance Man: He has been described as this.
  • 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.


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