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Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958), known professionally as Bruce Dickinson, 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.
He originally went by Bruce Bruce (named after a Monty Python sketch).
He originally planned to become a drummer, quipping: “I want to be Ian Pace’s left foot.” He once stole congas from his school to practice. As soon as he learned of his singing abilities (about 1976), he joined the band Styx, who were named after the river of Hell according to Greek mythology (This was not the same Styx that was popular in America).
Bruce was singing for the band Samson before he joined Iron Maiden, replacing former lead vocalist Paul Di’Anno in 1981. He left the band in 1993 to pursue a solo career (as well as his interest in flying), but rejoined in 1999 and released the albums Brave New World and Dance of Death.
Maiden fans nicknamed him “The air-raid siren” for his distinct, powerful vocals, a sharp contract to the raspy tones of Di’Anno (which, ironically, he experimented with in the late ’80s – early ’90s). He is a licensed pilot and included much flight-related terminology into his lyrics (see: “Aces High”, “Tailgunner”, “Back in the Village”). He eventually set up a record label called Air Raid Label.
He wrote two novels about Lord Iffy Boatrace: The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace and The Missionary Position. They were in the style of Tom Sharpe and were not critically acclaimed. He also wrote Set Up Your Own Record Label and helped write Running a Band as a Business.
He has a strong interest in Aleister Crowley, the alchemist, drug user, and writer who founded modern Satanism and was a heavy influence on heavy metal (He was the subject of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mr. Crowley”). His song “Man of Sorrows” is about a young Aleisteir and he wrote a movie script about him called Chemical Wedding, which was also the name of one of his albums.
Along with Dee Snider, he joined Jon Bon Jovi on stage when he headlined at Donnington Park. He was wearing Union Jack shorts and didn’t know the lyrics to the song Jon was performing. Subsequently, he walked around the stage singing while reading of a lyrics sheet.
He was listening to the Beatles at age five.
An expert fencer, he was once ranked seventh in the men’s foils for Great Britain.
He recorded “Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter” for the film A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child. When he re-recorded it with Iron Maiden and released it as a single around Christmas, it went to the very top of the charts.
He quit Iron Maiden because, in his words: “I was very uncomfortable with the automatic respect accorded to me because of being in Iron Maiden. I felt I didn’t deserve respect automatically. It had to be earned. I did two things.
First, I learned to fly airplanes, second I quit Iron Maiden.”
His album Skunkworks is named after “the Lockheed Advanced Development Corporation in California. They build lots of pretty trippy high technology fighters and airplanes. They continue to build lots of stuff that the governments doesn’t want us to know about, right now.”
He was responsible for a lawsuit filed against Iron Maiden by Suzzette Kolaga, a model from Buffalo, New York, in 1983. Her claim, as stated by lawyer Arnold Lieberman, was that she had won a “Ms. Heavy Metal” contest and as a prize was allowed to dance around on stage with Iron Maiden on one of their concerts promoting the album Piece of Mind. She was also allowed to crack a whip around Dickinson. During the concert, he supposedly attacked her suddenly and tore off the top of her bathing suit. It was a $350,000 lawsuit, and was dismissed in Maiden’s favor. (thanks, Brett – Edmonton, Canada, for all above)
Bruce went to several private boarding schools. He was expelled from one of them for urinating in his headmaster’s soup. (thanks, Tom – Trowbridge, England)
Bruce was raised by his grandparents. His parents were not even 18 when he was born and they felt they could not support themselves and a new baby. (thanks, David – Petaluma, CA)
He released an album in 2005, called Tyranny Of Souls, where he collaborated with guitarist and producer Roy Z.
The album is mainly about flying and outer space. (thanks, Ruud – IJsselstein, Netherlands)