Bruce Dickinson wasn’t quite ready to leave Iron Maiden when he released his first solo album in 1990. Tattooed Millionaire was perhaps the genesis of what Bruce would want out of his music outside of Iron Maiden though. The album came out of the sessions for a recording for A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” was what made it on that movie’s soundtrack. Smart-eyed Iron Maiden fans will know that a different version of this song made it on the album No Prayer For The Dying.
The version of “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” that Dickinson recorded was much different than Iron Maiden’s version however. On that track, Bruce worked with Janick Gers, future Iron Maiden guitarist. Funnily enough, the Iron Maiden version would be their only number one single on the UK charts. If you’re like me and you’re a big fan of Iron Maiden, Tattooed Millionaire will fit right in. It’s pretty similar to this period of Maiden, like No Prayer For The Dying or Fear of The Dark.
Why Tattooed Millionaire Is A Great Record
You can hear on TM that Bruce Dickinson wanted to go for a bit of a different sound than what Maiden was doing. He still wanted hard rock, but a more streamlined sound and less prog sounding. It was very much in tune with the other singles that Dickinson had written for Iron Maiden in the past. There are more soft sounding songs on the record. That combines with the single guitar playing instead of the twin attack that Iron Maiden has. The album spawned four top 40 hits. “Tattooed Millionaire” hit #18, a cover of Mott the Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes” hit #23, “Dive, Dive, Dive!” went to #45, and finally “Born in ’58” cracked the top 100 at #81.
When I listened to the album for the first time, I thought to myself, “This is just like hearing new Iron Maiden!” It wasn’t like that exactly though. It’s more. The album brings you to the place where Bruce Dickinson wanted to do something different. It’s familiar, yet still different enough to be a separate entity.
If I was going to do another Iron Maiden-A-Thon for other albums that might have something to do with Iron Maiden or live albums, I’d definitely put Tattooed Millionaire on the list (There’ll be another Band-A-Thon, later this year, keep an eye out Judas Priest fans).
We can start with the title track, “Tattooed Millionaire”. About the excess and crap that metal went through in the 80’s, he’s particularly harsh on Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. The song has one of the most happy sounding and upbeat solos I’ve ever heard. I’ve never passed up air guitaring this one along with the song. It’s a great song, and I’m surprised it didn’t open the album. Dickinson instead went with the more slow sounding “Born in ’58”.
The other highlight I’ll give to you is “Dive, Dive, Dive!”. A sexual innuendo charged song about submarines. What could be better? Well it’s a pretty hard and heavy song for the lighter tones of this Dickinson solo work. Janick Gers was allowed to shred and it shows. The live version from Bruce Dickinson’s concert in Los Angeles is a shredders dream with Gers jamming out the solo while the entire crowd screams.
I’ll leave you with the live recording of “Riding With The Angels” from that Los Angeles show I was telling you about. Dickinson’s previous band Samson recorded it, and he covered it here. It’s filled with the classic Bruce screams, some hard riffs, and great crowd action. It’s one of my favorite songs from Samson, and it’s worth a listen.
That’s it for today, but check back tomorrow for another music rec from yours truly. If you want to check out yesterday’s rec, it’s Under the Influence by Overkill.