Paul Bruce Dickinson is born in Worksop, UK
Paul Bruce Dickinson, the Author, DJ and Iron Maiden singer was born on August 7, 1958, in the Nottinghamshire mining town of Worksop. Although Bruce Dickinson‘s real first name is Paul, he was known as “Bruce” to all his friends, only his parents and grandparents would call him “Paul”.
Bruce Dickinson‘s Parents
Bruce Dickinson‘s father was also called Bruce and served in the army at the time his son was born. His mother worked part-time in a shoe store, both were teenagers. “I was a bit of an accident”, confesses Bruce, “Mum was sixteen or seventeen when she became pregnant and my dad was seventeen or eighteen.” They were also unmarried and in 1950s Britain this meant a hastily arranged marriage. As was also often the case in the 1950s, children were often raised by their grandparents until their parents were able to raise them themselves and this was the case with the young Bruce Dickinson.
Bruce Dickinson‘s Early Life
Bruce seemed to have a good relationship with his grandfather, a coal miner, describing him as, “the closest thing I had to a dad. He was great.” but his relationship with his grandmother was less good, saying that she felt he was, “the little bastard that had taken her daughter away from her.”
By the time Bruce was approaching school age his parents had moved from Worksop to Sheffield as jobs were easier to find there. They had found jobs and were also making money by buying a house, renovating it, then selling it on and moving into their next “project”. This meant Bruce spent much of his childhood living on a building site.
Eventually they bought a boarding house his dad was selling second-hand cars off the forecourt. It was unconventional back then, but his parents had got to the stage where they were actually making money. So Bruce moved up to Sheffield to live with them and go to school.
Bruce Dickinson‘s Early School Years
Initially he went to a notoriously tough school, but after 6 months his parents realized this was not good as Bruce was getting bullied so he was sent to a private school called Sharrow Vale Junior. Bruce never felt much of a connection with his parents, “I think it was because I hadn’t built any real attachment to them when I was very, very young.” he said. He also found their lifestyle alien to him, “They never listened to music, they would be totally focused on making money.”
However the money his parents were now making allowed them to give him the things they never had, including a private education. So at the age of 13, Bruce was sent off to Oundle School in Shropshire. To many thirteen year olds, leaving your parents would be daunting, but for Bruce it was less of an issue, “I didn’t particularly enjoy being with my parents, so I saw it as an escape.”
Bruce Dickinson‘s Private School Years
When he got to Oundle School he found that he did not fit in and was bullied and found himself very much an outsider. After initially finding it tough he came to terms with it by embracing his outsider status. He started deliberately doing odd things, like taking charge of the universally hated school army-cadet course adn using it to get back at his tormentors. Bruce described how they would do things like, “Setting little booby traps for people. Not to hurt them, just to scare them.”
Bruce had also discovered a love of the limelight after joining the school’s amateur dramatic society, as he recalled, “The first time I stepped on a stage, I loved it.”
Bruce Dickinson‘s Introduction to Music
One area of his school life he enjoyed was the musical element. The pupils were restricted to almost no TV, but could play music in their rooms. This meant there was a healthy supply of music from around the school with people swapping and selling each other records. “You’d go down the corridor and there’d be music coming out of every single study.” he remembered. This was also where he discovered his love of hard rock, “I was 13 when I first heard Deep Purple’s ‘In Rock’ album, and it just blew me away!” He added, “The first album I ever bought was Deep Purple’s In Rock, all scratched to fuck, but I thought it was great.”
He also got to see his first live band while at Oundle at an end of term gig, “The first gig I ever saw in my life was a band called Wild Turkey. They were great and I tried to climb inside the bass bins, took most of my clothes off and went into a mad Fanta-inspired frenzy. It was great and my ears were ringing for the next three days.”
Bruce Dickinson‘s Expulsion from School
However he was expelled from Oundle for the very rock n’ roll offense of urinating in his headmasters food! Upon returning to Sheffield in 1976, he entered the local Catholic Comprehensive school, which Bruce thought was, “Brilliant! Everybody was, like, ‘normal’ and there were girls there – which freaked me out at first.”
Bruce Dickinson‘s First Band
In the summer 1976 Bruce Dickinson joined his first band and with that bought his first microphone. The band was originally called “Paradox” but, upon Bruce’s suggestion, changed the name to “Styx”, totally unaware of the American act with the same name. After rehearsing in the drummer’s garage, they played their first gig at “The Broad Fall Tavern” in Sheffield, it did not go according to plan – “We got into the headlines in the local newspaper when we got attacked on stage by this shift-working steelworker we’d woken up. He bottled the guitarist and chucked the drums off-stage”
Soon after the band split, but by now Bruce had the bug and a mike and an amplifier of his own. He was soon to be heading for the bright lights of London to start studying at university, although this would simply be an excuse to be in London while he tried to find a band, although he was still many years from finding fame as Iron Maiden‘s singer.