When Iron Maiden changed their lineup in 1981 and needed to replace Paul Di’Anno, how did they discover Bruce Dickinson? Bringing on Dickinson, whose more powerful vocal drove the promising group to the legendary prominence they enjoy today as one of the genre’s most dominant live acts and largest influencers, is one of the most important decisions in the history of metal. Why Did Iron Maiden Want to Swap Out Paul Di’Anno? There are conflicting accounts of what caused Paul Di’Anno to leave Iron Maiden, making it difficult to pinpoint the precise cause. That’s how rock ‘n’ roll typically is, right? Myths are created from distortions, keeping the truth perpetually hidden. The singer’s replacement occurs after the band has recorded its first two albums, 1980’s Iron Maiden and 1981’s Killers, both of which had a significant impact on the growth of heavy metal throughout the decade and beyond. Nevertheless, a number of reasons still seem to have contributed to this. According to bassist and founding member Steve Harris, “The first two albums were the songs that were written over the four years before we were signed,” he remarked in an interview with UCR in 1981.
Actually, I believe the tunes are more to blame than Paul’s singing. I thought Paul had a great voice, but there was no way we could have continued with him because he wasn’t interested in traveling or anything like that. Harris seems to be saying that Di’Anno’s gruff, street-ready vocal style wasn’t the best fit for the musical direction Iron Maiden were taking. Poor live performances are cited as another contributing reason. “A change needed to be made. I believe that the band would have broken up or something if we hadn’t changed. If we had stayed with Paul, Maiden probably wouldn’t still exist today, Harris said in 1981. Di’Anno’s own tale has evolved, particularly in regards to the subject of substance abuse, with his cocaine habit varying from being “non-stop” (per Metal Hammer, 2022) to “not as bad as what most people say it is” (per Eon Music, 2019). “I don’t hold them responsible for removing me. Obviously, Steve [Harris, the bassist] was the father of the band, but I wish I could have done more. That eventually brought me down. It wasn’t fair to the band, the fans, or myself in the end that I couldn’t give Maiden my all. The vocalist added that Killers, which began to forgo Maiden’s punk intensity in favor of heavy metal, “didn’t have as much impact on me as the first album.
” Put it down to the typical instance of drug usage and musical direction. Before Iron Maiden, what band did Bruce Dickinson play in? Dickinson fronted Samson, a London-based New Wave of British Heavy Metal band with a hard rock/proto-metal sound that was typical of that thrilling environment, from 1979 through the majority of 1981. He sang on the albums Head On (1980) and Shock Tactics (1981). Oddly enough, the drummer for both of these albums was Barry “Thunderstick” Purkis, who briefly played drums for Iron Maiden in 1977. Dickinson was performing at the time under the stage name “Bruce Bruce,” which is very abysmall even in a world where everything is subjective. One of the countless, good suggestions manager Rod Smallwood has had over the years was getting him to drop it.
Bruce Dickinson was approached by someone about joining Iron Maiden. In 1980, when Iron Maiden opened for Samson, the singer saw the band live and was highly pleased. Evidently, Maiden felt the same way because they ultimately stole Dickinson. Smallwood swooped in when the two bands performed at the Reading Festival a year later. “There was a single, large pole with bright white lights on top in the center of a clearing that was encircled by hospitality chalets and beer tents. When Rod Smallwood came up to me in the corner of a beer tent, he said, “Let’s go somewhere quiet where we can talk.” We exited and took our places under the pole in the center of the backstage area, lighted for all to see. In his 2017 book, What Does This Button Do?, Dickinson states, “I had the distinct impression that he was gearing up for something. Soon after, the manager gave Smallwood the opportunity to try out for Iron Maiden as they returned to his hotel room. Following some blustering bravado, Dickinson agreed.
When Did Bruce Dickinson Play His First Iron Maiden Concert? Bruce Dickinson formally joined Iron Maiden on September 26, 1981. One month later, on October 26, he made his onstage debut with the metal band in Bologna, Italy. Three encores were featured in Maiden’s 17-song set that night, which they finished with a version of Montrose’s “I Got the Fire.”
Iron Maiden set list from Bruce Dickinson’s debut performance on October 26, 1981
04. “Twilight Zone”
05. “Remember Tomorrow”
06. “Genghis Khan”
08. “Another Life”
09. “Innocent Exile”
10. “Running Free”
11. “Murders in the Rue Morgue”
12. “Phantom of the Opera”
13. “Iron Maiden”
17. “I Got the Fire” (Montrose cover)