Paul Bruce Dickinson, born August 7, 1958, is the iconic lead vocalist of the heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. He’s best known for his ferocious vocals that gave voice to a generation’s rage and pain. Metal would be bereft of operatic headbangers without Dickinson. Our lives would be empty without soaring canons like ‘Run To The Hills’ and ‘The Trooper.’ Bruce Dickinson’s legacy lies in his spirit, a power manifesting in his uplifting and devastatingly good music. He’s also an entrepreneur, scriptwriter, pilot, and international fencing champion, among many other things. Indeed, the veritable Renaissance Man the world needs today.
Paul Bruce Dickinson was born in Worksop, a small mining town in Nottinghamshire, England. His father worked as a mechanic in the army, while his mother had a part-time job at a shoe shop. While his parents eked out a living, Dickinson spent his days with his grandparents. He was also in and out of different schools. Dickinson would recall this period as a turning point in how he viewed life. He realized the world would never do him any favors. He didn’t call his childhood unhappy, but it was unconventional and part of why he always felt like an outsider. The family relocated to Sheffield for better prospects, where his parents could finally afford to send him to boarding school. He felt like a fish out of water. But the other boys were listening to this band called Deep Purple, and he was hooked. Until then, The Beatles had been the extent of his musical education. He hated the school otherwise, with its rampant bullying and capital punishment. But the toxic environment he endured spurred Dickinson to chart a path for himself in heavy metal.
Dickinson began singing in local bands and even attempted to be a drummer. None of these projects panned out. He began to lose hope when something promising came along. Dickinson fronted a band named Samson, which changed his life. With Samson, Dickinson became firmly entrenched within a powerful new movement – the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (N.W.O.B.H.M.). The band released two albums – “Head On” (1980) and “Shock Tactics (1981). Despite being part of the N.W.O.B.H.M., Samson didn’t enjoy the success of similar acts like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Def Leppard. Dickinson left Samson in 1981 over “musical differences.” At the same time, Iron Maiden’s lead singer, Paul Di’Anno, quit the band, a decision that sent shockwaves since Maiden was enjoying wild, almost maniacal success. The timing seemed too perfect to be a coincidence. Dickinson tried out and in late 1981 became Iron Maiden’s new vocalist. The band released “The Number Of The Beast” a few months later, an album that became a heavy metal classic and one of the band’s most successful to date. Dickinson’s ferocious vocals took arenas, concert venues, and music charts by storm. Heavy metal became synonymous with the band — in large part, due to Bruce Dickinson.
But what is a massively successful band without its fair share of conspiracies? Despite Iron Maiden’s phenomenal success, people spoke in not-so-hushed tones about a tense relationship between Dickinson and Maiden founder, Steve Harris. When Dickinson released his solo album “Tattooed Millionaire” (1990), it seemed to confirm these speculations. However, Dickinson returned, and the band continued making music together. By the early ‘90s, metal began losing its popularity. Iron Maiden’s best days seemed to be behind them too. Dickinson left the group after a farewell tour in 1983 and resumed a solo career. Since then, the band has patched their differences and played numerous reunion tours.
Dickinson sings in a band called Samson and gains attention for his powerful vocals.
Iron Maiden announces Dickinson as the band’s new lead vocalist.
With Dickinson at the helm, “The Number Of The Beast” shatters records and sets impossibly high standards for heavy metal.
Dickinson leaves to pursue a musical path outside the strict confines of progressive rock metal.
Why We Love Bruce Dickinson
Multi-talented and altruistic
Despite a busy musical career, Dickinson makes time to work with several charities. What’s more, he encourages fans to join in as well.
Rebel with a cause
Dickinson was expelled from an elite boarding school. His crime — urinating in the headmaster’s dinner. His reason? The unchecked capital punishment at the school.
The soul of heavy metal
It’s hard to imagine heavy metal without Iron Maiden. From soaring tracks to intricate storytelling in album artwork — Dickinson’s impact on music endures.
5 Surprising Facts
He’s a licensed pilot
When he’s not performing, Dickinson puts his commercial pilot’s license to good use by flying the band around the world in their airplane, Ed Force One.
He indulges in slam poetry
Dickinson has performed cheeky spoken word shows about his rise to fame.
Both left and right brained
Tests revealed that Dickinson uses both sides of his brain at once.
Music in wartime
In 1994, Dickinson entered Sarajevo with the United Nations’ help to play a concert in the middle of the Bosnian war.
His surprising politics
He doesn’t typically share his political or religious affiliations, but the musician voted for Brexit.
Bruce Dickinson FAQs
Is Bruce Dickinson a polymath?
Bruce Dickinson is a polymath which means the man can seemingly do it all. Besides his music career, Dickinson excels at numerous other things — from scriptwriting to beer brewing.
What is Bruce Dickinson’s vocal range?
According to reports, Bruce Dickinson has a vocal range of approximately 4.25 octaves. His range is fittingly known as “The Air Raid Siren.”
Does Bruce Dickinson have a Ph.D.?
Bruce Dickinson received an Honorary Doctorate Of Music degree in 2011 from Queen Mary University in London. He studied history at the same university in 1979.
Bruce Dickinson’s birthday dates