He went to a variety of schools, like the somewhat posh Sharrow Vale, very rough Manor Top Primary, and later on Oundle, a British public school (private school in American English). It was there that he discovered music. Deep Purple had just released their LP, In Rock. The song that captured his mind was "Child in Time". Up until then, most of the schools Bruce had attended left him with the perpetual "new kid" label and left him subject to bullying, ranging from drying out clothes that had been drenched with water, picking out dried eggs from his bed and even getting late night beatings with pillows
As he got older, despite his here-and-there educational career, he applied himself to Queen Mary College in London, despite never being to the capital city at all. During this time, he was trying to get a career in music started. Originally, singing is not what he had in mind. He actually wanted to be a drummer, like Ian Paice of Deep Purple. But since he had no room for said drums, he settled on bongos. What inspired this was one time during high school, he was watching a bunch of classmates messing around with the Beatles song "Let It Be". Noticing that the singer couldn't seem to hit the high notes, he stepped in to bolster this singer's voice and immediately noticed that he could in fact hit those high notes and more. That inspired him to go out and get a microphone-he had found his calling. During college, he had moved through various bands, all seemingly starting with the same letter, S-Shots, Styx (not the American version of the band; he was unaware that there was an American band of the same name), Speed (not from the drug, but the breakneck speed of the music) and finally Samson, named not after the biblical character whose hair is shorn, but after founding member, guitarist Paul Samson.
|Bruce Dickinson and girlfriend Jane|
Even then, Bruce was developing his stage craft. He would call people out from the audience and joke with them. As time went on, the time with Samson became less about the music and more about the pyro. It seemed Paul Samson was trying to beat the newer, younger bands at their own game when the reality was he simply couldn't. One day, Bruce was offered the role of front man for Iron Maiden since that band's front man, Paul Di'Anno, had been unceremoniously let go due to his issues with various recreational substances and the very constant loss of his voice, which irritated Steve Harris to no end. Some nights, Steve Harris had to handle lead vocals, which I didn't even know he could do. I didn't know he could sing. Bruce consulted friend and PR consultant Jennie Halsall, known as the Heavy Metal Queen of PR. When told about this upcoming offer, she said something to this effect. "I do what is right, not necessarily what is right for me. Offers like this don't come around a lot. You can take this new offer, but the Samson boys are going to hate you because their deal is going to fall through". At the time, Samson was being courted by new labels, since they had just gotten off their label, Ramkup. When Bruce broke the news, he did it as amicably as possible.
|1986. Jeez, you think Dave Murray's jeans could be any tighter? lol!|
He also had begun working on a solo album, that was to be called Tattooed Millionaire. This was said to be one of his most successful solo albums, not only because the songs were good, but for the David Bowie fans out there, he did a heavy metal overhaul of the David Bowie classic "All the Young Dudes". He had started doing this right after the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour. He describes that album as being long and really expensive to record. Unfortunately by the time the Somewhere in Time album was recorded, Bruce was contributing just as many songs as Steve Harris and the others, but most if not all of Bruce's songs were rejected. Most of the guys laughed hysterically at some of his suggestions because some of them had a Spanish folk guitar-type sound to them. Which explains why Bruce went out and did a solo album of music he wants because he felt that no one was listening to his suggestions when he was busting his butt, writing just as many songs as Steve Harris, but it was Steve's songs and songs written by the other guys that were getting used. Not only that, but with Steve being a now father, he had started taking his own tour bus to gigs because he now had kids and this allowed him and his young family a type of freedom to go and stay wherever their hearts desired and go and see the sights, rather than go from gig to hotel to gig to hotel. Steve wanted to start taking his own tour bus because he didn't want to keep the others in the band up with crying babies all night.
When it came time to record the band's first new album of the decade, which was to be titled No Prayer for the Dying, they did the recording in a barn at Steve Harris' house. When Bruce listened to some of the songs for the album, he felt the band had taken a step back. He had recently began listening to a band called Dream Theatre and when he talked to Nicko, he said something to the effect of "Listen to No Prayer for the Dying and listen to these demos of a band called Dream Theatre. This band completely blows Maiden's sound away and it shouldn't." It turned out that the first one to leave Maiden wouldn't be Bruce, but Adrian. He had left to pursue a solo career under the moniker ASAP (Adrian Smith Album Project). The next album, Fear of the Dark, is said to be one of Maiden's darker albums, in terms of lyrical content because bass player Steve Harris was in the process of splitting with his high school sweetheart Lorraine, who was also the mother of their four kids-George, Kerry, Faye, Lauren and it was said to be a nasty divorce
|Bruce Dickinson and wife Paddy|
|Austin Dickinson. He's handsome!|
|Griffin Dickinson. He's handsome too!|
|Bruce and daughter Kia|
In 2003, the band once again, wrote another album, Dance of Death. It was said to be good, except for a song or two here and there. The song said to be the weaker point on the album is "Gates of Tomorrow". Whoever said this song wasn't great is smoking something, lol. I love this song. It's great. Even drummer Nicko McBrain gets a writing credit on this song, "Journeyman", which is about cloning.
However, big history was going to be made in 2005. Iron Maiden were one of the many bands playing at the 2005 Ozzfest in San Bernadino, California. Apparently Bruce had made some rather disparaging remarks about reality TV onstage, saying that people who do reality TV "need to get off their arses and stop being so voyeuristic. Reality TV is crap". Sharon thought he was talking about her and her family, she said that Bruce was cold to Ozzy, who had kindly wished him luck before the show while he just dismissed it off. And Bruce also suspects that it was a cold, calculated attack on the band. The band was pelted with eggs, lighters, bottle tops during their set. The power to their equipment was cut, someone kept going over the PA system, shouting "Ozzy, Ozzy", a man draped in a US flag ran around the stage during their set. And Sharon even tried to turn Bruce's waving of the Union Jack into a political issue. She said something to the effect of "There you are waving the Union Flag on American soil when both American and English boys are fighting alongside one another overseas. Have a little more consideration and respect".
Of course, the fight extended to management as well. She sent a letter to Maiden manager Rod Smallwood, detailing all the things she thought about Bruce. She thought of him as an arrogant prick, who most likely thought that because he went to public school he was automatically better than everyone else. She also mentioned that it was Bruce and Bruce alone she had the issue with, not the rest of the band, whom she described as "kind, professional and courteous". Rod Smallwood issued a statement saying something to the effect of "I've been in the rock business for over thirty years and I've never seen something so disgusting and unprofessional as this. This was a calculated attack against the bands. And Ozzfest security did nothing to stop it. Almost as if they were supporting it. The fact that it almost seemed as if she were urging the fans to throw things is irresponsible. Them throwing things is vile, dangerous and cowardly". The last thing you want to do, of course, is make Rod Smallwood angry. He is definitely one to tangle with, especially considering he's a pretty big guy. Of course, Sharon sent another letter, signed "The Real Iron Maiden". Funny name, huh? Most who study history (including me) know that the REAL IRON MAIDEN is Margaret Thatcher, who rightly earned and deserves that name for her no nonsense approach to politics and being one of the first people to go behind what was then known as the Iron Curtain. Even bassist Steve Harris had to issue a statement saying that not only but the rest of the band were embarrassed by their singer's actions.
As the 2000s went on, the band would make even more albums, each one getting better. In 2008, they recorded and released A Matter of Life and Death. This one, like all their albums, would have a theme-this one being war. The theme is evident on the front as it shows a tank with battle-weary skeletal soldiers and emblazoned on the front of the tank is Eddie with crossed M-16s below him and donning a military helmet. It was said that this one would one of the more complex albums because of the lyrical content dealing with war, destruction and other adult-type topics. Later that same year, they embarked on their Somewhere Back in Time tour, which was the basis of the documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666. It showed the band flying around the world on their customized Boeing 747, which was customized to carry twenty tons of stage gear and backline equipment in addition to the various instruments Maiden uses, like all the guitars, the bass guitars and the drums. The documentary interviews the band members, various management along with people who interviewed the band in other countries and also talks to fans, the ones responsible for keeping the band inspired and to keep going along with showing Bruce piloting the plane. In addition, it shows the various band members going sightseeing, doing things to relax, such as Dave Murray and Nicko McBrain taking in a round of golf and Nicko managing to nearly break his hand by a golf ball hit and Rod laughing and saying "I told you golf was a bloody dangerous sport" or the band going to an underground cave in Mexico to perform a spiritual ritual honoring the dead.
|Bruce Dickinson on documentary Flying Heavy Metal|