As well as helping create some of the most pioneering heavy metal albums of the 1980s, Bruce Dickinson has also hosted a number of radio programs in his time. For many years, his voice was familiar sound on BBC 6 Music and on BBC Radio 2, where he appeared on the Masters Of Rock series. During his delve into the world of hard rock and heavy metal, Dickinson shared some of his favourite albums of all time, a selection of records that have shaped his tastes and informed his work with Iron Maiden. We’ve combined these with some of the English musician’s choices from other sources to bring you a list of his favourite albums of all time. Let’s take a closer look.
You can’t talk about Iron Maiden without first mentioning Deep Purple, a group that Dickinson first heard after accidentally stumbling upon their album In Rock: “I was walking up and down the corridor at boarding school and I heard this racket coming from behind a door,” Dickinson began. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, what is that?!’ So, I knocked on the door and this senior boy opened the door and looked at me with a big sneer on his face. I asked, ‘Who was that?’. He went, ‘Oh, it’s Deep Purple if you must know, ‘Speed King’’ and shut the door. That was that, I was hooked.”
Dickinson has always had a taste for the giants of prog. As well as Jimi Hendrix’s The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4, and Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous, the Iron Maiden singer also has soft spot for Jethro Tull’s 1971 album Aqualung. Indeed, Dickinson and Steve Harris’ love of the prog-rock classic convinced them to cover Tull’s ‘Cross-Eyes Mary’ back in the ’80s, which later appeared on Maiden’s The Best Of The B’ Sides. Speaking about Dickinson’s cover, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull told The Metal Voice: “I think his interest in Jethro Tull is probably based on having gone in a direction kind of beyond the performances that you would associate yourself with Iron Maiden. So the first thing Iron Maiden seemed to be linked to Jethro Tull was a song called ‘Cross-Eyed Mary’ which was on the Aqualung album. They did it on an early record release. I think they did it in the same key as I did. But that puts it in the impossible key for Bruce Dickinson. Bruce is a tenor and I am a baritone, a low baritone.”
Led Zepplin IV also made a huge impact on Dickinson, with the group’s uninhibited performance style shaping his approach to live concerts: “The early Robert Plant stuff, really early Zeppelin was unbelievable,” Dickinson told Loudwire back in 2015. My favourite stuff from that era, they did like Danish TV shows and they did live. Wow, it is like completely unedited. Raw as it was and it’s just astonishing, it’s primal.”
But when asked to choose between Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, Dickinson was quick to assert that he “was always a bigger Purple fan than Zeppelin. But I never saw either Zeppelin or Purple when I was a kid, when they were in their heyday. Zeppelin were adopted by American radio big-style. But I’ve got to confess that the thing I loved most about Zeppelin was their English folk roots. Not their copies of American blues tracks.”
You can check out the full list of Dickinson’s favourite albums below.
Bruce Dickinson’s favourite albums of all time:
- In Rock by Deep Purple (1970)
- Are You Experience by Jimi Hendrix (1967)
- Aqualung by Jethro Tull (1971)
- Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin (1971)
- Vol.4 by Black Sabbath (1972)
- Rising by Rainbow (1976)
- Live and Dangerous by Thin Lizzy (1976)
- Van Halen by Van Halen (1978)
- Live Bootleg by Aerosmith (1978)
- Strangers In The Night by UFO (1979)
- British Steel by Judas Priest (1980)
- Blizzard of Ozz by Ozzy Osbourne (1980)
- Back In Black by ACDC (1980)
- Come An’ Get It by Whitesnake (1981)
- Number of The Beast by Iron Maiden (1982)
Stream the playlist in full, below.