How Iron Maiden Discovered Bruce Dickinson as Paul Di’Anno’s Replacement

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden had released two albums with two different vocalists before Bruce Dickinson took over as the lead singer. Paul Di’Anno, former frontman of Iron Maiden was excluded due to his escalating issues with alcohol and drugs. This became a prominent reason to look for a new frontman.

After his ejection from the band, Di’Anno said: “It’s like having Mussolini and Adolf Hitler run your band. Because it is Rod Smallwood and Steve Harris and that’s it. There can’t be anyone else and my character is too strong for that so me and Steve were always fighting.”

Prior to Di’Anno, Paul Day served as the band’s frontman, but Harris removed him due to his unimpressive stage presence. Harris, the primary songwriter for the band, searched for an engaging leader for Iron Maiden who could rightly demonstrate his creations. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until he discovered Dickinson that the guitarist ultimately achieved complete satisfaction with their lineup, securing the essential missing piece of the puzzle.

When Iron Maiden was ready to welcome a new frontman, Dickinson was there in Samson. They formed their bond while recording their respective albums in the same studio complex. Although Iron Maiden was already on the path to superstardom, Bruce Dickinson’s choice to depart from Samson and join them was far from straightforward.

Dickinson watched the band performing live at a London club for the first time. From that point, he was eager to be their vocalist someday. During an interview with the BBC, he recalled: “Absolutely raging on stage! And I remember thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got to sing for those guys! I know they’ve got a singer but they really need me! Oh my god, what we could do together!’ Anyway, it was going to be a year and a half before they parted ways with the singer who was there [Paul Di’Anno]. Obviously, we were all aware of each other”.

Dickinson was approached to audition to replace Di’Anno after Samson performed at the Reading Festival in 1981

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