Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, airline pilot, entrepreneur, author, and broadcaster. He is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden and is renowned for his wide-ranging operatic vocal style and energetic stage presence.
Born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Dickinson began his career in music fronting small pub bands in the 1970s while attending school in Sheffield and university in London. In 1979, he joined the new wave of British heavy metal band Samson, with whom he gained some popularity under the stage name "Bruce Bruce" and performed on two studio records. He left Samson in 1981 to join Iron Maiden, replacing Paul Di'Anno, and debuted on their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. During his first tenure in the band, they issued a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums in the 1980s.
Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 (being replaced by Blaze Bayley) to pursue his solo career, which saw him experiment with a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles. He rejoined the band in 1999, along with guitarist Adrian Smith, with whom he has released five subsequent studio albums. Since his return to Iron Maiden, he issued one further solo record in 2005, Tyranny of Souls. His younger cousin, Rob Dickinson, is the former lead singer of British alternative rock band Catherine Wheel, while his son, Austin, fronted the metalcore band Rise to Remain.
Outside his career in music, Dickinson is well known for his wide variety of other pursuits. Most notably, he undertook a career as a commercial pilot for Astraeus Airlines, which led to a number of media-reported ventures such as captaining Iron Maiden's converted charter aeroplane, Ed Force One, during their world tours. Following Astraeus' closure, he created his own aircraft maintenance and pilot training company in 2012, Cardiff Aviation. Dickinson presented his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2002–2010, and has also hosted television documentaries, authored novels and film scripts, created a successful beer with Robinsons Brewery and competed at fencing internationally.
|Birth name||Paul Bruce Dickinson|
|Also known as||Bruce Bruce|
|Born||7 August 1958|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, pilot, author, broadcaster, entrepreneur|
|Associated acts||Iron Maiden, Samson, Tribe of Gypsies, Sack Trick|
Paul Bruce Dickinson was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. His mother, Sonia, worked part-time in a shoe shop, and his father, Bruce, was a mechanic in the army. Dickinson's birth hurried the young couple, then just teenagers, into marriage. Initially, he was brought up by his grandparents; his grandfather was a coal-face worker at the local colliery and his grandmother was a housewife. This is referred to in his song "Born In '58" from the album Tattooed Millionaire.
Dickinson started school at Manton Primary in Worksop while his parents moved away to Sheffield. Soon afterwards, when he was six, he was also despatched to Sheffield, where he attended a primary school in Manor Top. After six months, his parents decided to move him to a small private school called Sharrow Vale Junior. Due to constant moving, Dickinson states that this period of his life taught him to be self-reliant as he was unable to make close friends. Dickinson has a younger sister, professional showjumper Helena Stormanns, who was born in 1963. He tried to isolate himself from her as much as he could when he was young, supposedly out of spite because she, unlike him, was a planned pregnancy and birth.
Dickinson's first musical experience was dancing in his grandparents' front room to Chubby Checker's "The Twist", when he still lived with them in Worksop. The first record Dickinson recalls owning was The Beatles single "She Loves You", which he managed to persuade his grandfather to buy him, which made him more interested in music. He tried to play an acoustic guitar belonging to his father, but it blistered his fingers.
By the time he moved to Sheffield, Dickinson's parents were earning a good living from buying property, refurbishing it and then selling it for a profit. As a result, much of Dickinson's childhood was spent living on a building site, until his parents bought a boarding house and a bankrupt garage where his father began selling second-hand cars. The income from their business success gave them the opportunity to give Dickinson—then 13 years old—a boarding school education and they chose Oundle, a public school in Northamptonshire. Dickinson was not opposed to moving away from home because he had not built "any real attachment" to his parents, having been raised by his grandparents in Worksop until he was six.
At Oundle, Dickinson was picked on and routinely bullied by the older boys of Sidney House, the boarding house that he belonged to, which he described as "like systematic torture" and meant that he became an outsider. His interests at Oundle were often military; he co-founded the school wargames society with Mike Jordan, and he rose to a position of some power in the school's cadet force, with which he was allowed to handle live ammunition, which he used to create explosions as booby-traps.
Oundle was where Dickinson became attracted to hard rock, after hearing Deep Purple's "Child in Time" being played in another student's room. As a result, the first album he ever bought was Deep Purple's In Rock, which created his interest in rock music. After In Rock, he went on to buy Black Sabbath's debut, Jethro Tull's Aqualung and Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Every term, a band would play at the school, the first of these which Dickinson saw was called Wild Turkey, featuring former Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick. After that, he saw Van der Graaf Generator and Arthur Brown.
Dickinson initially wanted to play the drums, later obtaining a pair of bongo drums from the music room for practice. He remembers playing "Let It Be" with his friend Mike Jordan, during which Dickinson discovered his singing voice while encouraging Jordan to sing the high-notes. Shortly afterwards Dickinson was expelled from Oundle for participating in a prank in which he urinated in the headmaster's dinner.
Returning home to Sheffield in 1976, Dickinson enrolled at King Edward VII School, at which he joined his first band. He had overheard two other pupils talking about their band and that they needed a singer and so volunteered immediately. They rehearsed in the garage of the drummer's father, and the band were impressed by Dickinson's singing, encouraging him to buy his first microphone. Their first gig took place at the Broadfield Tavern in Sheffield. Originally called "Paradox", the band changed their name on Dickinson's suggestion to "Styx", unaware of the American act with the same name. They made local newspaper headlines when a steel worker was awoken by their performance and tried to smash the band's drum kit. Soon afterwards the band split up.
After leaving school with A-levels in English, History and Economics, Dickinson confessed, "I didn't really know what I wanted to do." The first thing he did was join the Territorial Army for six months. Although he enjoyed his time in the TA, Dickinson realised that it was not a career choice, and so he applied for a place to read history at Queen Mary College, London. His parents wanted him in the army, but he told them that he wanted to get a degree first, which acted as his "cover story", and immediately began playing in bands.
At university, Dickinson got involved in the Entertainments Committee: "one day you'd be a roadie for The Jam, the next you'd be putting up the Stonehenge backdrop for Hawkwind or whatever." In 1977, Dickinson met Paul "Noddy" White, a multi-instrumentalist who owned a PA and other equipment, with whom Dickinson, along with drummer Steve Jones, would form a band together called Speed. According to Dickinson, the band was called Speed because of the way in which they played, rather than a reference to drug-taking.  In Speed, Dickinson began writing his own material after White taught him how to play three chords on the guitar.
Although Speed would play several gigs at the Green Man pub in Plumstead, the band did not last long, but it encouraged Dickinson to continue to work towards being a musician. Dickinson spotted an advertisement in Melody Maker with the caption "Singer wanted for recording project" and replied immediately. He recorded a demo tape and sent it with a note which read: "By the way, if you think the singing's crap, there's some John Cleese stuff recorded on the other side you might find amusing." They liked what they heard and invited Dickinson down to the studio to make "Dracula", the first song he would ever record, with a band called "Shots", formed by two brothers, Phil and Doug Siviter. The song would later appear on the second disc of The Best of Bruce Dickinson compilation. The brothers were impressed with Dickinson's vocal abilities and asked him to join their group.
Dickinson played pubs with Shots on a regular basis to small audiences. One particular night, Dickinson suddenly stopped in the middle of a song and started interviewing a man in the audience, heckling for not paying enough attention. He got such a good response he started doing it every night until it became a regular routine used to catch the audience's attention. Dickinson states that this experience taught him how to be a frontman.
The next step in Dickinson's career was taken in a pub called the Prince of Wales in Gravesend, Kent, where Shots were playing regularly, when Barry Graham ("Thunderstick") and Paul Samson paid a visit. Impressed with his stage-act, they talked with Dickinson afterwards and invited him to be their new singer. Dickinson agreed to join their band, Samson, but only once he'd finished taking his History finals two weeks later. Until that point, he had been neglecting his University education. As a result, the University had tried to kick him out for failing his Second Year exams and not paying his accommodation fees, but was saved because of his role as Entertainments Officer. After writing 6 months' worth of essays in the space of two weeks and some last minute cramming for his exams, Dickinson achieved a 2:2.
After meeting Paul Samson and Barry Purkis at the Prince of Wales, and while still undertaking his final university exams, Dickinson joined Samson onstage at Bishop's Stortford to perform one of their songs, "Rock Me Baby", cementing his role as their new lead vocalist.
The band had already released their debut album, Survivors, in 1979 on an independent label, two months before Dickinson joined. Immediately following the completion of his University work, he met up with the band at Greenwich's Wood Wharf studios to learn the Survivors album. Although the tracks did not suit his vocal style, the band soon wrote the majority of the following Head On album in their earliest rehearsal sessions, some of which were immediately incorporated into their live set.
It was during these early rehearsals that the nickname "Bruce Bruce" came about, derived from Monty Python's "Bruces sketch". The name became very tiresome as the band's management continually wrote dud cheques, made payable to "Bruce Bruce", as a joke. Dickinson later commented that he did not like it but considered it "a sort of stage name" and accepted it.
Dickinson was dismayed to learn that not all rock performers were "great artists"; he felt that some, such as Samson, were only interested in women, drugs and alcohol, which he was unable to relate to. Although he had smoked joints before, Dickinson discovered that it was impossible to communicate with other band members if he was sober, deciding that it was "the price that had to be paid".
While fronting the band, Dickinson also came across Iron Maiden for the first time, who were supporting Samson at the Music Machine in 1980. As Dickinson recalls; "I was watching them, and they were good, really fucking good, and at that moment, I remember thinking, 'I wanna fucking sing for that band. In fact, I'm going to sing for that band! I know I'm going to sing for that band!' ... I just thought, 'This is really me. Not Samson.'"
Dickinson remained in the band for another year, recording two studio albums with them—Head On and Shock Tactics. However, Samson soon ran into difficulties with their record label, Gem, who went out of business and failed to finance their European tour in support of Iron Maiden. The band were turned over to RCA, which began neglecting the group, and so they promptly fired their management team and the resulting injunction meant that their equipment was reclaimed and they could not be paid for their concert performances. The band's last gig was at Reading Festival, after which Dickinson was approached by Iron Maiden's manager, Rod Smallwood, who asked him to audition to be their new lead vocalist.
Dickinson went to audition for Iron Maiden at a rehearsal room in Hackney in September 1981 and immediately discovered that this was a much more professional operation than he was used to with Samson. In the practice rooms, the band played through "Prowler", "Sanctuary", "Running Free" and "Remember Tomorrow", before asking Dickinson to sing the same songs again in a recording studio, and he was immediately inducted into the group.
Iron Maiden had a strict and organised routine that suited the band's writing style, which Dickinson described as a "time table". After a few gigs, they began writing new material for their third album, The Number of the Beast, released in 1982. In the wake of Samson's contractual problems, Dickinson could not legally be credited on any of the record's songs, having to make, what he called, a "moral contribution", later revealing that he had contributed limited creative input to "The Prisoner", "Children of the Damned" and "Run to the Hills". The album was a major success, topping the UK charts, and earning platinum status in the UK and the US. Following the release, the band embarked on a supporting tour around the globe.
On the following albums, 1983's Piece of Mind and 1984's Powerslave, Steve Harris's song-writing monopoly was pushed aside in favour of other members' ideas, with Dickinson contributing to a number of tracks, including the singles "Flight of Icarus" and "2 Minutes to Midnight". Throughout the World Slavery Tour, as part of the new theatrical elements incorporated into the band's stage-show, Dickinson wore a feathered mask during "Powerslave". This was the band's longest tour to date, during which Dickinson considered going home mid-tour, due to the high number of shows. Iron Maiden's management were continually adding dates, until Dickinson demanded that they stop or he would leave the group.
After a six-month break, which Dickinson mostly spent practising fencing, Iron Maiden began writing their next album, Somewhere in Time. Dickinson was disappointed with the effort as he felt that the band needed a more dramatic stylistic departure from past records to remain relevant, despite its introduction of synthesised bass and guitars. He has no writing credits on the release, as his material, based on his own suggestion that the album should be more acoustic-focused, was rejected by the rest of the band. Steve Harris, on the other hand, stated that his material was rejected because it was not good enough, and that Dickinson "was probably more burnt out than anyone at the end of the last tour".
After a subsequent tour, Iron Maiden started working on their next studio effort, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, which featured more progressive rock elements than the band's previous records. Although it became their second release to top the UK charts, it was also Dickinson's first album with the band that did not achieve platinum status in the US. Unlike Somewhere in Time, Dickinson was much more enthusiastic about this album due to its concept and has several song-writing credits. After the following tour in 1988, the band decided to take a year off.
During the next album's writing stage, Adrian Smith left Iron Maiden, and was replaced by Janick Gers. Iron Maiden's eighth studio release, 1990's No Prayer for the Dying, had a raw sound that, according to AllMusic, did not "hold up well" compared to past efforts, as it was recorded in a barn which Steve Harris owned, with a mobile studio owned by the Rolling Stones. The record featured Dickinson's "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter", originally composed for a film soundtrack, which despite receiving a Golden Raspberry Award for worst original song in 1989, became the band's first and only single to top the UK Singles Chart. By 1992, Harris had converted his barn into a proper studio, and the new album, Fear of the Dark, was recorded there, resulting in a better overall sound than No Prayer for the Dying, although Dickinson still claims it had limitations due to its size.
After the Fear of the Dark Tour, Dickinson decided to leave Iron Maiden to concentrate on his solo career. At that point the band had already booked a following tour in 1993, which Dickinson did not enjoy. Throughout the tour, Dickinson drew a lot of criticism from his bandmates, with Steve Harris in particular saying, "I really wanted to kill him." According to Harris, Dickinson would only perform when the press was there, whereas at other concerts he would only mumble his way through songs. Dickinson has since denied the accusations that he was deliberately under-performing, arguing that it was impossible to give a decent performance some nights because of the atmosphere. His last performance with the band was filmed by the BBC at Pinewood Studios and released as a live video, entitled Raising Hell.
Along with Adrian Smith, Dickinson rejoined Iron Maiden in 1999 with Janick Gers remaining in the band, after he was approached by manager Rod Smallwood. Smallwood also spoke to Steve Harris about Dickinson's return, who initially had reservations about the prospect, but soon came round to the idea, deliberating that they knew of his abilities and that it was a case of "better the devil you know". Harris and Dickinson agreed to meet at Smallwood's home in Brighton in January 1999 for the first conversation they would have with each other since 1993. Although both men were nervous about the encounter, upon seeing each other the tension immediately dissipated and both agreed that Dickinson should return to the group.
After embarking on a small tour, the band set about recording Brave New World, their first studio album with Dickinson since 1992. Dickinson insisted that they find a replacement for the now retired Martin Birch, the band's regular producer, and record in a different studio than the one in which they made No Prayer for the Dying and Fear of the Dark, to which Harris agreed. The album was recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris with producer Kevin Shirley, after which Iron Maiden undertook a supporting tour culminating with a performance at the Rock in Rio festival before a crowd of 250,000.
In 2003 they recorded and released Dance of Death at London's SARM Studios with Kevin Shirley, now the band's new regular producer. After two further stints on the road (Dance of Death World Tour and Eddie Rips Up the World Tour) Iron Maiden returned to SARM in 2006 to record their next studio album, A Matter of Life and Death, and embarked on a supporting tour. In 2008 and 2009, the band set out on the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, which has since been described as "groundbreaking" for its use of Ed Force One, the band's customised Boeing 757, flown by Dickinson himself, and led to the documentary film Iron Maiden: Flight 666, which had a limited cinema release in April 2009. Iron Maiden held another world tour in 2010 and 2011 in support of The Final Frontier, their first album recorded at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas since 1986's Somewhere in Time, and which peaked at No. 1 in 28 countries.
In September 2014, Iron Maiden began recording their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, at Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris. The release features two songs written solely by Dickinson for the first time since Powerslave, "If Eternity Should Fail" and "Empire of the Clouds", the former originally penned for a possible solo record. "Empire of the Clouds" is notable for being the band's longest ever song, at over 18 minutes in length, and features Dickinson on piano for the first time, which is how the song was written. The band toured the album in 2016, during which Dickinson once again piloted the band's private plane, Ed Force One (now a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet).
In 2005, Iron Maiden co-headlined the US festival tour, Ozzfest, with Black Sabbath. Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne's wife, Sharon, encouraged family friends and members of other bands to sabotage Iron Maiden's last performance at Hyundai Pavilion in San Bernardino, California, on 20 August, in an attack which Rod Smallwood criticised as "vile, dangerous, criminal and cowardly", as well as disrespectful to fans who had paid to see the band perform "a full unhindered performance". Osbourne ordered interference with the band's PA, delayed the entrance of Eddie, the band's mascot, and encouraged members of the Osbourne camp to throw eggs, lighters and bottle tops from the front of the audience. According to Dickinson, the attack was in response to his "disparaging remarks about reality-TV shows that she took personally", although The Guardian reported that he slated the Osbournes' reality series and accused Ozzy Osbourne of using a teleprompter. Dickinson has since denied making comments against Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, but admitted that he criticised Ozzfest throughout the tour, attacking their "corporate" seating layout and saying, "Most of the bands are there because they paid to be there."
Following the concert at San Bernardino, Osbourne released a further statement which accused Dickinson of making several anti-American comments, of which Classic Rock stated that "nobody can present any cast-iron evidence". In addition, Osbourne claimed that the flag-waving during "The Trooper" was disrespectful to American troops, at the time fighting alongside the British in Iraq, even though Dickinson had always held a Union Flag during the song, being based on the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. It was also reported that Steve Harris had spoken to Ozzy Osbourne in San Bernardino, apologising for Dickinson's comments, which Harris denies, stating that his words had been "twisted".
In early 1989, Zomba asked Dickinson to produce a track for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, providing a budget, a studio, and a producer, Chris Tsangarides. Dickinson took up the opportunity and called an old friend of his, former Gillan guitarist, Janick Gers, and, shortly after meeting up, they had "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter" ready for the studio, then recorded with the assistance of bassist Andy Carr, and drummer Fabio del Rio. "I wrote it in about three minutes", states Dickinson, "I don't know where the title 'Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter' came from, but it just popped into my head. I thought, 'Bloody hell, straight out of AC/DC!' And I thought, 'Nightmare on Elm Street. Yeah, that'll do.' Impressed with the results, Zomba asked Dickinson if he was willing to record a whole album as well. With the same line-up and producer, Dickinson's solo debut, Tattooed Millionaire, was written and recorded within two weeks, and released in May 1990, followed by a supporting tour.
Later that year, Dickinson participated on a re-recording of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", as part of the humanitarian effort Rock Aid Armenia. Backed by the band Skin, he produced a cover version of Alice Cooper's "Elected", along with Rowan Atkinson (in character as Mr. Bean), which was used in 1992 for Comic Relief, and five years later, on Bean Soundtrack.
For his second solo effort, Dickinson received the collaboration of American producer, Keith Olsen, and, while working on the record in LA, decided to leave Iron Maiden. Unhappy with the direction he was taking with Olsen, Dickinson began working with Tribe of Gypsies guitarist Roy Z and started the album again from scratch. Balls to Picasso was recorded with Tribe of Gypsies as the backing band, and was released in 1994. That same year, Dickinson recorded a cover version of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" with the band Godspeed for Black Sabbath's tribute album Nativity in Black. Tribe of Gypsies departed to work on their own material and Dickinson tracked down another band, including his new writing partner and guitarist, Alex Dickson. While touring with this new outfit in 1994, Dickinson performed in Sarajevo, then under siege during the Bosnian War; a documentary film based on the concert, entitled Scream For Me Sarajevo, completed filming in December 2015.
After the Balls to Picasso supporting tour finished, he started working on a new studio record, Skunkworks. Dickinson decided that Skunkworks would be the title of the band as well, but the record company refused to release the album without his name on the cover. Dickinson hired producer Jack Endino, most noted for producing the first Nirvana album. The "Skunkworks" entity ceased to be when the tour ended. "I was devastated by the Skunkworks thing", stated Dickinson, "Skunkworks was a record which I tore myself apart to make and nobody seemed to give a shit."
After a short period of inactivity, Dickinson once again teamed up with Roy Z and Tribe of Gypsies to record his next album, Accident of Birth; "It was actually Roy that dragged me back into some assemblance, because he called up and he said, 'Listen, I've got some stuff and it's like a metal record.' And I wasn't thrilled, I wasn't really sure that I had anything to offer ... Then he played me some backing-tracks he'd done for what was to become Accident of Birth down the phone and I thought 'There is something there.'" Former Iron Maiden guitarist, Adrian Smith, was asked to guest on the record, but remained as a full-time member of Dickinson's solo outfit. The album marked a return to heavy metal for Dickinson, with Sputnikmusic remarking, "The album's heavy feel is very satisfying, and definitely fills that void left by Maiden during the 90's." The follow-up, The Chemical Wedding, was a semi-concept album on alchemy, which drew inspiration from William Blake's writings; with some songs, such as "Book of Thel", having the same title as some of his poems, and the cover artwork featuring one of his paintings. The record was even more successful than its predecessor, with Sputnikmusic commenting, "Bruce had shattered all expectations to create an album that might even be better than the previous one." During The Chemical Wedding's supporting tour, the live album, Scream for Me Brazil was recorded in São Paulo, after which Dickinson and Smith returned to Iron Maiden in February 1999.
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 Halford's 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 latest solo album, Tyranny of Souls was released in May 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 21 June 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 19 June 2006, containing concerts and promo videos from throughout his solo career, as well as an old Samson video, entitled "Biceps of Steel".
In December 2017, Dickinson said that he has tentative plans for his next solo album to be "a whole concept album", with the title being If Eternity Should Fail, the same song name from Iron Maiden's album The Book of Souls, in which he confirmed that it was originally penned as a solo track, "So if I did do another solo album, which I think I will, I might just stick to my original plan and have that as the title track. I mean, I did write it — it was the first track that I wrote for it. So, yeah, I'd probably still include that song. But it would be… the feel would be slightly different — not very much, though — from the Maiden version."
Dickinson was first married to Jane in 1983, from whom he was divorced in 1987. He has three children with his second wife, Paddy Bowden: Austin (born 1990), Griffin (born 1992), and Kia (born 1994). All three were born in Chiswick, London, where Dickinson has lived since 1981.
Austin Dickinson was the lead singer in metalcore band Rise to Remain until their break-up in 2015, at which point he formed a new group, As Lions. Griffin Dickinson, who previously worked as a stage carpenter for Iron Maiden during their tours, is the vocalist in melodic hardcore band SHVPES (formerly known as Cytota). Dickinson's cousin, Rob Dickinson, was the lead singer of British alternative rock band Catherine Wheel and founded Singer Vehicle Design who specialise in upgrading classic Porsche 911s.
In 2015, Dickinson underwent seven weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for a cancerous tumour found at the back of his tongue. Dickinson's medical team expected him to make a full recovery as the tumour was discovered in the early stages. On 15 May, Dickinson was given the all-clear by his specialists.
Dickinson's interests and non-musical activities include writing, broadcasting, fencing (at which he has competed internationally, placing 7th in Great Britain, and has founded a fencing equipment company under the brand name "Duellist"), beer brewing and aviation. Due to the wide variety of Dickinson's pursuits, Intelligent Life named him as a living example of a polymath in 2009.
Dickinson learned to fly recreationally in Florida in the 1990s and now holds an airline transport pilot's licence. He regularly flew Boeing 757s in his role as captain for the now-defunct UK charter airline Astraeus, which, from 16 September 2010, employed him as Marketing Director. One of his key roles in that position was to promote Astraeus' services by increasing their number of videos, leading to the UK Civil Aviation Authority releasing a video featuring Dickinson on aircraft loading safety in June 2011.
Following Astraeus' closure on 21 November 2011, Dickinson branched into entrepreneurship when he launched Cardiff Aviation Ltd on 1 May 2012, an aircraft maintenance business based at the Twin Peaks Hangar in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. According to The Wall Street Journal, in January 2013 Cardiff Aviation had created 40 jobs and hoped to have over a hundred personnel by the summer of 2013. In June 2013, The Daily Telegraph reported that the business had expanded to between 60 and 70 employees and are in discussions to set up their own airline. In August 2015, Cardiff Aviation signed a deal to provide airline support to Air Djibouti, for whom Dickinson piloted their maiden flight the following year, a Boeing 737 from Cardiff to Djibouti. As a result of his ventures in business, he has delivered keynote speeches at events around the globe, including Queen Mary University of London's Innovation Showcase in November 2012, Connect2Business, Stockholm in March 2013, Aviation Week's MRO Europe Conference, London in October 2015 and "Blog Now, Live Forever", Mumbai in October 2015.
His role as a pilot has led to some high-profile flights, which include returning a group of British RAF pilots from Afghanistan in 2008, 200 UK citizens from Lebanon during the Israel/Hezbollah conflict in 2006, and 180 stranded holiday makers from Egypt following the collapse of XL Airways UK in September 2008. In addition, he flew Rangers F.C. and Liverpool F.C. to away matches in Israel and Italy in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
For the 2008–09 "Somewhere Back in Time World Tour", he piloted Iron Maiden's chartered Boeing 757, dubbed "Ed Force One", specially converted to carry the band's equipment between continents, which subsequently led to a documentary film, Iron Maiden: Flight 666. Dickinson flew "Ed Force One" again for "The Final Frontier World Tour" in 2011. For the 2016 The Book of Souls World Tour, the band upgraded to a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, which meant that Dickinson had to undertake type conversion to fly the aircraft. In 2014, Dickinson purchased a Fokker Dr.I triplane replica G-CDXR and joined the Great War Display Team, which re-enacts First World War air battles at airshows across the UK.
Dickinson presented Bruce Dickinson's Friday Rock Show on BBC radio station 6 Music from 2002–2010. In March 2010, the BBC announced that, after over eight years, Dickinson's show was to be axed. His final broadcast was on 28 May 2010, with the regular format abandoned in favour of a personal and musical tribute to the recently deceased Ronnie James Dio. Dickinson scorned the BBC executives for the cancellation, playing the Johnny Paycheck version of "Take This Job and Shove It". In addition to his show on 6 Music, Dickinson also hosted a series entitled Masters of Rock on BBC Radio 2 from 2003 to 2007. Dickinson's catalogue of 6 Music programmes were acquired in 2014 by TeamRock radio, who began re-broadcasting episodes in December.
In 2005, Dickinson hosted a 5-part historical TV series about aviation, Flying Heavy Metal, which was shown on the Discovery Channel, and later on Discovery Turbo in the UK. He was a guest on an episode of the Military Channel's The Greatest Ever, where he drove a Russian T-34 tank. In 2006, Dickinson presented a documentary for Sky One entitled Inside Spontaneous Human Combustion with Bruce Dickinson, in which he investigated the phenomenon by enlisting the help of several experts and performing various experiments to determine its possible cause. Other television appearances include guesting on quiz shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and the short-lived Space Cadets, as well as the chat show Clarkson, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson. Dickinson has also appeared in a BBC series called The Paradise Club, undertaking the role of a musician named Jake Skinner. On 27 July 2012, Dickinson spent a day being filmed as a guest star for a season four episode of Ice Pilots NWT, in which he flew a Douglas DC-3 and took part in "touch-and-go drills" in a Douglas DC-4 with Buffalo Airways.
During a 1986–1987 Iron Maiden tour, and in the wake of a divorce, Dickinson started writing his first book. Inspired by the novels of Tom Sharpe, in addition to Biggles and Penthouse, he created The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace, which Kerrang! describes as "a satirical swipe at fetishism among the upper classes", and whose title character is a "semi-transvestite" British land owner.
Following its completion, Dickinson approached Sidgwick & Jackson, who, according to Dickinson, agreed to publish the book before reading it based on Iron Maiden's album sales alone. Released in 1990 (ISBN 0-283-06043-3), the novel sold more than 40,000 copies almost immediately. Due to the high demand, Sidgwick & Jackson asked Dickinson to produce a sequel, which became 1992's The Missionary Position (ISBN 0-283-06092-1), a satire of televangelism. No further additions to the series have been published, although Dickinson did write the first 60 pages to a prequel, set during "Lord Iffy's schooldays", which he "just thought was rubbish and ripped it all up. I didn't think it was funny."
Dickinson has turned his hand to scriptwriting, co-authoring Chemical Wedding with director Julian Doyle. The film, in which Dickinson played a few small cameo roles and composed the soundtrack, was released in 2008 and starred Simon Callow.
In 2013, Iron Maiden collaborated with Robinsons Brewery in Stockport, England to create Trooper, a 4.8% cask/4.7% bottled ale whose recipe Dickinson formulated with head brewer Martyn Weeks. As of May 2014, the beer has sold 2.5 million pints in 40 countries, making it Robinsons' most successful export.
Following Trooper's success, Dickinson, a fan of traditional English cask beer, stated that he intends to develop more beers in the future, although new products will be "under the umbrella of Trooper and not Iron Maiden [as] Trooper has taken on a life of its own. People drink it because they like the beer, not because they are Maiden fans." Additional beers have included Trooper Red 'N' Black Porter (5.8 per cent ABV), Trooper Hallowed (6.0 per cent ABV), and a limited edition "666" (at 6.66 per cent ABV).
Although Dickinson never received formal training, he still possesses a wide vocal range which was trademarked by his quasi-operatic tenor. Along with Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford, Dickinson is one of the pioneers of the operatic vocal style later to be adopted by power metal vocalists and regularly appears near the top in lists of the greatest rock vocalists/front-men of all time. Dickinson says that his style was influenced primarily by Arthur Brown, Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Ian Gillan (Deep Purple).
Dickinson's singing varied notably in the 1990s in the recording of albums such as No Prayer for the Dying, Fear of the Dark and his first solo work Tattooed Millionaire, making use of a much more raspy and unpolished sound, befitting their stripped down style. Since returning to Iron Maiden in 1999, his singing style has returned to much like it was in the 1980s, though his voice has lowered with age. According to a report published in the Daily Mirror, Dickinson has an estimated vocal range of 4.25 octaves. His voice led to the nickname "The Air Raid Siren", which Billboard states is "due to the ferocious power of his singing", although Dickinson claims it actually originated from a fan complaint.
In addition to his vocal ability, Dickinson is known for his energetic stage performances, which he delivers consistently despite his age. He considers including the audience "the essence of the Maiden experience" and that his role is to "shrink the venue ... to turn that football stadium into the world's smallest club". To achieve this, Dickinson insists on gaining eye contact with audience members and urges them to join in with the phrase "scream for me" (followed by the concert's location). He is critical of performers who do not connect with their fans, particularly those who "[hide] behind the amps" and use an autocue, remarking that "people pay good money and [they] can't even remember the sodding words".
^ * Dickinson appeared on the album's re-issue only, as the original version was completed before he joined the band.
Ed Force One's historic take-off in January 2008 on the groundbreaking 'Somewhere Back in Time Tour'
[H]itting the number one spot in 28 countries
featuring vocalist Austin Dickinson, son of Iron Maiden frontman Bruce
As with his solo material, Dickinson ditched his painfully bad raspy vocal style and returned to the operatic vocal style found on earlier Maiden records.
Bruce's wails may not be at the same level as they were 23 years ago
Much like the previous album, Bruce Dickinson employs a raspy singing style.
"All the Young Dudes" is a song written by David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by Mott the Hoople in 1972. In 2004, Rolling Stone rated "All the Young Dudes" No. 253 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and on its 2010 update was ranked at number 256. It is also one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.Anthology (Bruce Dickinson video)
Anthology is a 3 disc compilation DVD by Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden. The DVD features three live performances as well every single promotional video made during Dickinson's solo career. The DVD also includes over an hour of extras and unreleased footage. It was released on 19 June 2006 and features a special cardboard sleeve and an 8-page booklet. The cover features William Blake's watercolour/inking The Whirlwind: Ezekiel's Vision of the Cherubim and Eyed Wheels.Be Quick or Be Dead
"Be Quick or Be Dead" is a song by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released as the first single release from their ninth studio album Fear of the Dark, released in 1992.Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter
"Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter" is the second single from the 1990 Iron Maiden album No Prayer for the Dying.
The song was originally recorded and released by Bruce Dickinson for the soundtrack to A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, but Steve Harris liked it so Iron Maiden rerecorded it. It is the only UK number-one single for the band to date, in spite of the fact that it received very little airplay on the BBC. The song also topped the Finnish Singles Chart and reached number six in Ireland.Bruce Dickinson discography
Bruce Dickinson, a British heavy metal singer, has released six studio albums, two live albums, one compilation, ten singles, three video albums, fourteen music videos, and one box set. In 1979, after playing in local groups, Dickinson joined hard rock band Samson. He departed after two years to become Iron Maiden's lead vocalist. His debut with this band is considered a "masterpiece", which was followed with a series of top-ten releases. In 1989, while Iron Maiden were taking a year off, Dickinson and former Gillan guitarist, Janick Gers, composed a song for a film soundtrack. His solo debut, Tattooed Millionaire (1990), was an effort that favoured a hard rock/pop metal approach, different from what fans assumed would be an aggressive, Iron Maiden-like album. Four songs—the title track, "Dive! Dive! Dive!", "Born in '58", and a cover version of David Bowie's "All the Young Dudes"—were released as singles. Dickinson returned to Iron Maiden, accompanied by Gers as the new guitarist, and the project went on hiatus. Dive! Dive! Live! was a live video recorded from a concert in Los Angeles, California, in August 1990, and released in July 1991.After a farewell tour in 1993, Dickinson left Iron Maiden and started working on a second album with Tribe of Gypsies guitarist and band leader, Roy Z. In June 1994, he released Balls to Picasso, which reached the top 30 in several countries. Allmusic deemed the album "somewhat of a disappointment" which failed to "come up with anything truly groundbreaking", except for "Tears of the Dragon", which was released as a single, along with "Shoot All the Clowns". Roy Z departed to continue with his work and Dickinson recruited new members, with whom he released the double-disc live performance, Alive in Studio A. The third album, Skunkworks, was released in 1996, marking a "highly approved stylistic shift". The single "Back from the Edge" was released to promote this effort. A live video and an EP were recorded from a concert in Spain, and released in Japan, as Skunkworks Live.
Due to musical differences, the Skunkworks line-up split up, and Dickinson once again was joined by Roy Z, along with then ex-Iron Maiden guitarist, Adrian Smith. The follow-up album, Accident of Birth (1997), marked a return to a heavier sound for Dickinson. The title track and "Man of Sorrows" were released as singles. The next year he released a semi-concept album on alchemy, The Chemical Wedding, which was described as a "modern metal aesthetic". The "muscular anthem", "Killing Floor", was the album's single. The live album, Scream for Me Brazil, documented a 1999 live performance in São Paulo during the supporting tour. That year, Dickinson and Smith rejoined Iron Maiden, and the project once again went on hiatus. He released a "best of…" album in 2001, which included two new songs, "Broken" and "Silver Wings". On 23 May 2005, Dickinson released his first album in seven years, Tyranny of Souls. To commemorate this, all of his past releases were remastered, with his studio efforts containing bonus tracks, and the live recordings merged into a single box set, entitled Alive. The 2006 DVD, Anthology, contained three live performances, all of the promo videos, and over an hour of extras.Elected (song)
"Elected" is a single by rock band Alice Cooper, released as the first Hot 100 hit on their sixth studio album Billion Dollar Babies (1972). The single reached #26 during election week on the charts in the United States, #4 on the charts in the United Kingdom and #3 in Austria. It inspired one of the first MTV style story line promo videos ever made for a song.
The song is a reworked version of their debut single "Reflected" from their album of 1969, Pretties for You.Empire of the Clouds
"Empire of the Clouds" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden from their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls. The song was issued as a single on 16 April 2016, tying in with Record Store Day. It is the band's longest song to date, and the first single since 1996's "Virus" that has not been performed live by the band.Flight of Icarus
"Flight of Icarus" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released as their eighth single and the first from their fourth studio album, Piece of Mind (1983). It was the band's first single to be released in the United States, becoming one of their few songs to gain substantial airplay, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard Top Album Tracks chart - the highest position of any Iron Maiden single in the US. It was also a success in the UK, peaking at No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart. It is also the band's first release to feature Nicko McBrain, who replaced Clive Burr on drums in 1982.
Despite being one of Iron Maiden's most famous songs, "Flight of Icarus" was not performed live after 1986 until it was finally performed again on May 26, 2018.List of songs recorded by Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed by bassist Steve Harris in 1975. The band's first album, 1980's Iron Maiden, was written primarily by Harris, with vocalist Paul Di'Anno co-writing two tracks and guitarist Dave Murray contributing "Charlotte the Harlot". The 1981 follow-up, Killers, was written almost entirely by the bassist, with frontman Di'Anno contributing only to the title track, "Killers" (the North American bonus track "Twilight Zone" was credited to Harris and Murray). Bruce Dickinson replaced Di'Anno after the release of Killers, although he did not contribute any songwriting to The Number of the Beast, released in 1982, which featured three songs co-written by guitarist Adrian Smith. The Number of the Beast also spawned Iron Maiden's first UK Singles Chart top ten in the form of "Run to the Hills", which charted at number seven on its release. It was not until 1983's Piece of Mind that the songwriting process became a more varied and collaborative approach, with just four of its nine tracks being credited solely to Harris, two to Dickinson and Smith, one to Harris and Murray, one to Dickinson alone, and one to Harris, Dickinson, and Smith. The Dickinson and Smith-penned "Flight of Icarus" was the first Iron Maiden single to chart in the United States, reaching number eight on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.Powerslave followed in 1984, which featured one of Iron Maiden's longest songs to date in the form of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", written by Steve Harris and running for almost 14 minutes. Somewhere in Time was notable for having both its singles written by someone other than Steve Harris, in this case Adrian Smith, who wrote three of the songs on the album. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son featured songwriting from a combination of Harris, Dickinson, Smith, and Murray, before Smith left the group during the recording of its follow-up in 1990 having contributed to one song, "Hooks in You"; the resulting album, No Prayer for the Dying, was the first to feature guitarist Janick Gers, although he did not write any material for the record. It was also the first to spawn a UK number-one single – Bruce Dickinson's "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter". Gers contributed to his second album with Iron Maiden, 1992's Fear of the Dark, co-writing three tracks with Dickinson, who would leave after the album's release, and two with Harris, who also produced for the first time.In 1995, the band released The X Factor, their first album since 1981's Killers without Bruce Dickinson on vocals. Blaze Bayley replaced the frontman, and received songwriting credits for five of the album's eleven tracks, all of which were alongside Harris, Gers, or both. The band's first compilation album, Best of the Beast, was released in 1993, which featured a new song and single in the form of "Virus", credited to Harris, Bayley, Murray, and Gers. Bayley recorded a second album with Iron Maiden, Virtual XI, on which he only contributed songwriting for three songs, the rest being written almost entirely by Harris.Both Dickinson and Smith returned to the band for the recording of Brave New World, the first Iron Maiden album produced by Kevin Shirley (alongside Harris), which was released in 2000 and spawned two UK top-20 singles in the form of "The Wicker Man" and "Out of the Silent Planet". Another largely collaborative album, only one song ("Blood Brothers") was written by Harris alone. The 2003 follow-up, Dance of Death, was even more commercially successful than Brave New World, and also featured the first track in the band's history to be written with long-term drummer Nicko McBrain, "New Frontier". A Matter of Life and Death, the band's first release to chart in the top ten of the US Billboard 200 albums chart, was released in 2006 and was largely written by Harris, Dickinson, and Smith, with Gers and Murray also contributing to a couple of tracks. The Final Frontier, released in 2010, was their first album since Fear of the Dark to top the UK Albums Chart and was another collaborative effort from the band, with Harris, Dickinson, and Smith again leading the songwriting. The Final Frontier also led to the band's first Grammy Award win, as single "El Dorado" won the award for Best Metal Performance at the 2011 ceremony. Their 2015 studio album, The Book of Souls, is their longest to date, at 92 minutes, and their first double album. It features "Empire of the Clouds", written by Dickinson, which surpasses "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as the band's longest song, with a running time of 18 minutes.Since their formation, Iron Maiden have also released numerous additional songs as B-sides to their singles, including original songs and cover versions. A collection of these B-sides were compiled and released in the form of Best of the 'B' Sides, one of three albums included in the Eddie's Archive box set released in 2002. Included on this album was a range of B-sides released since the band's formation, including originals "Burning Ambition" (Harris), "Black Bart Blues" (Harris, Dickinson), and "Justice of the Peace" (Harris, Murray), and covers "Cross-Eyed Mary" (Jethro Tull), "Communication Breakdown" (Led Zeppelin), and "My Generation" (The Who). The album also contained 1988 re-recordings of Iron Maiden tracks "Prowler" and "Charlotte the Harlot", released as B-sides to "The Evil That Men Do", and a 1999 live version of "Wasted Years" from the 1986 album Somewhere in Time, released as a B-side to "Out of the Silent Planet" in 2000. Iron Maiden also contributed a cover of Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'" to the 2012 tribute album Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's Machine Head.More Cowbell
"More Cowbell" is a comedy sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live on April 8, 2000. The sketch is presented as an episode of VH1's documentary series Behind the Music that fictionalizes the recording of the song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer "The Bruce Dickinson", and regular cast member Will Ferrell, who wrote the sketch with playwright Donnell Campbell, as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle, whose overzealous playing annoys his bandmates but pleases producer Dickinson. The sketch also starred Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Albert Bouchard, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma and Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard.
The sketch is often considered one of the greatest SNL sketches ever made, and in many "best of" lists regarding SNL sketches, it is often placed in the top ten, being ranked number nine by Rolling Stone. As a result of its popularity, "more cowbell" became an American pop culture catchphrase.Out of the Silent Planet (song)
"Out of the Silent Planet" is a single from the Iron Maiden album Brave New World, released in 2000.Rainmaker (Iron Maiden song)
"Rainmaker" is the 37th single by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released on 24 November 2003 as the second single from their 13th studio album, Dance of Death (2003). It was written by Dave Murray, Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson, and produced by Harris and Kevin Shirley.Roy Z
Roy Z (born February, 1968) is an American guitarist, songwriter and producer, best known for his work with Bruce Dickinson (from Iron Maiden), Halford, and Judas Priest. He also is the founder of Tribe of Gypsies, a Latin-influenced hard rock band.Speed of Light (Iron Maiden song)
"Speed of Light" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden from their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls. The song was released as a music video on 14 August 2015 and was also made available as a digital download and issued as a single-track CD exclusive to Best Buy in the US.Tattooed Millionaire
Tattooed Millionaire is the first solo album by Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, released in 1990.
The album project began when Dickinson was asked to record a song for A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, and so wrote "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter". Collaborating with future Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, Dickinson began creating a solo album which was fundamentally different from his works with Iron Maiden, with a hard rock sound that is less progressive. "Bring your Daughter..." wasn't included on the original release, as Iron Maiden planned to record an alternate version for their 1990 album No Prayer for the Dying, which went on to become the band's only number one single on the UK Singles Chart to date.
The album did however yield four Top 40 singles in the UK, with the lead and title single "Tattooed Millionaire", reaching no. 18. A cover of the David Bowie penned, Mott the Hoople hit "All The Young Dudes", was also a relative success, reaching no. 23The Best of Bruce Dickinson
The Best of Bruce Dickinson is a compilation album released in 2001 by Bruce Dickinson. Two versions were released; a single disc version and a bonus disc version. On the front cover, the album title is imposed upon the seal of the demon Astaroth.
Disc 1 is a selection of songs from his previous solo albums, with the addition of two new songs, "Broken" and "Silver Wings", both of which were written by Dickinson and guitarist/producer Roy Z. Disc 2 contains rare songs, most of which have appeared as b-sides on singles. The track "The Voice of Crube" is an explanation of the various songs, narrated by Bruce (for whom 'Crube' is an anagram).The Chemical Wedding (Bruce Dickinson album)
The Chemical Wedding is the fifth solo album by English heavy metal singer Bruce Dickinson, released on 14 July 1998 through Sanctuary Records. The record draws some inspiration from the works of William Blake, featuring sung and spoken excerpts of his prophetic works and poetry (notably And did those feet in ancient time on the track Jerusalem), and with cover art from his painting The Ghost of a Flea, although the name of the album and its title track derive from the Rosicrucian manifesto the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. As with the previous album, it featured Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith, then a member of Dickinson's solo outfit.
The film, Chemical Wedding, with a screenplay by Dickinson, was released in May 2008. It features the title track from the album on its soundtrack, but concerns a story about the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley and is otherwise unrelated.The Wicker Man (song)
"The Wicker Man" is a song by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released on 8 May 2000 as the first single and opening track from their twelfth studio album, Brave New World (2000). It is also the first single by the band since the returns of vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999. It was co-written by Smith, Dickinson and Steve Harris. It was co-produced by Kevin Shirley and Harris. The title is inspired by the British cult film of the same name. The song should not be confused with "Wicker Man" from Dickinson's solo career, the lyrics of which are more closely themed around the film. The latter song can be found on the 2 disc edition of The Best of Bruce Dickinson.Wasting Love
"Wasting Love" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It is the third single from their ninth studio album, Fear of the Dark, released in 1992.