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Bruce Dickinson’s reaction when he first heard Black Sabbath

Bruce Dickinson


Bruce Dickinson’s reaction when he first heard Black Sabbath

When Black Sabbath released their groundbreaking self-titled debut album in 1970, the Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson was only 11 years old and he couldn’t even imagine that within a couple of years he would become one of the most famous Heavy Metal singers of all time.


Sabbath’s debut album gave birth to Metal music and during the 70s several groups helped in the evolution of the genre, including Samson (Bruce’s first famous group), and of course, Iron Maiden that released their debut record in 1980, but reached another level of fame when Bruce was hired for their third album “The Number of The Beast” (1982).

Over the years many artists shared the stories of their first encounters with the music created by Black Sabbath and Bruce Dickinson was one of them, who told what was his reaction when he first heard Sabbath’s debut album.

Bruce Dickinson’s reaction when he first heard Black Sabbath

Recorded in a single twelve hour studio session back in October, 1969, the Black Sabbath self-titled debut album gave birth to what it would later called “Heavy Metal”. Never before a band had combined doomy sound and lyrics, talking about the devil and demons as openly as they did.

Their sound made not only the conservative and religious society of the time scared, but virtually everyone who heard that sound that had never been made before. However, there were some people who really love it, like the young Bruce.

Back in 1998, the singer was on solo career and was interviewed by Gastão Moreira on the Brazilian MTV show “Fúria”. When asked about the first time he ever heard “Black Sabbath”, the title-track of Sabbath’s debut record, Dickinson replied (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “Oh awesome, the rain in the beginning and stuff, and it was (released on) Vertigo (Records) as well. Because it was on a record you looked to the middle of the (LP) and you would go ‘Wow’.”

“I used to play it when my parents were out because I used to blow up their… In the old days they used to have these pieces of furniture called a stereogram. It was like a fucking couch, it was six-feet long and it had two pathetic speakers. They used to have drink babinets in it and it had the record player hidden somewhere. So you would go there and was like ‘Ok, they’re gone’, put the record and cranked the thing up the speakers would (not work properly anymore),” Bruce Dickinson said.

Bruce Dickinson once listed a Black Sabbath album as one of his favorites

Besides being the frontman of one of the most successful bands in the world, Bruce Dickinson was also a radio host for a few years and he had a show on BBC radio called “Masters Of Rock.” In the website of the show, Dickinson once listed the 15 essential albums that everyone should listen. One of them was Sabbath’s fourth record “Vol. 4” released in 1972.

That album was the first one that wasn’t produced by Rodger Bain. The guitarist Tony Iommi was the responsible for the production with the help of their manager Patrick Meehan. That record had famous tracks like “Changes”, “Supernaut” and “Snowblind”.

In 1994 he had the chance to pay tribute to the band when he was part of the Sabbath tribute album “Nativity In Black”. He recorded the track “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” with the group Godspeed.

“I’m guilty as charged, I did a terrible cover of this song (“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”) because somebody offered me money. I was out of Maiden and short of a few quid. So I went, ‘Yeah, go on then’. It just proved that you should never try and cover legendary things. They should just stay legendary,” Bruce said in an interview with Double J back in 2018.

Feud with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

However, not always Bruce’s connection with Black Sabbath was good. Back in 2005, Iron Maiden was one of the main attractions of the Ozzfest for few nights. But things didn’t went good as it was planned because Dickinson simply started to say bad things about Ozzy during to the audience during the shows.

After noticing that, Sharon Osbourne, who is Ozzy’s wife and manager, hired a few people to throw eggs at the Maiden members during their set the next day. She recalled that story in an interview with Howard Stern back in 2005 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).

“We’ve know those guys since the 80s and we offered them the show. They were getting paid $185.000 dollars each night. Everything they wanted they got. They would go on stage and Bruce Dickinson, each night would slag Ozzy. (He would) Say really disrespectful things about him and Ozzy is the schmuck that is paying him!”

Sharon Osbourne continued:

“So I’m thinking to myself ‘Let it go on. Just carry on your little shit’. So on the last night in L.A, I’ve got 200 hispanic kids, loaded them with eggs. They had peanut butter, they fucking pelted the shit out of them. Then I went on stage and I said ‘Look, don’t fuck with us. Don’t be disrespectful, this is what you get.” In the same conversation with Howard Stern she pointed that she knew for a long time that the Maiden members were “trouble”.

Iron Maiden’s manager Rod Smallwood wasn’t happy with what happened. He said at the time that he had never saw something so unprofessional and disgusting. Maiden’s leader and bassist Steve Harris went on to apologize to Ozzy every night. Later on Sharon said that she respected the members of the band because they are really nice guys. However, she said that she dislikes Dickinson, who in her opinion has “a chip on his shoulder”.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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