In an excerpt from his autobiography, What Does This Button Do?, Dickinson recalls the very personal struggles he had with his vocal ability in the months leading up to his big audition.
But the singer says he found solutions in a notebook once kept by an ex-girlfriend of his who was a classically trained singer.
“I was in despair," Dickinson writes. "I had sung on [a Samson] album that was getting great reactions, but I felt like a fraud. My voice couldn’t do it. I moped around for a couple of days, crying into my beer, before my subconscious drew my attention to some sage guidance I’d received from my dentist ex-girlfriend. As an ex-pupil of the very prestigious Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she’d had quite extensive singing lessons, and she kept a notebook.”
Dickinson applied the techniques his ex described in her notes to his own vocal style and was renewed.
“I started to enjoy my new-found pipes,” he adds. “I began to see that a whole new landscape had been opened up. If I was a painter, it would have been like being given a massive canvas and a whole palette of new colors.”
Soon after, at the 1981 Reading Festival, Dickinson was approached by Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood about auditioning for the band.
"If Iron Maiden wanted to play with the hammer of the gods, then bring it on," Dickinson, flush with newfound confidence, said he told Smallwood. "If not, take a hike and get someone more boring instead. As the saying goes, we should all be careful of what we wish for because we just might get it.”
Get more information about What Does This Button Do? and Dickinson's upcoming book tour here.
Photo: Getty Images