Personnel: Bruce Dickinson (vocals); Janick Gers (guitar); Andy Carr
(bass); Fabio Del Rio (drums).
Recorded at Battery Studios and London Astoria, London, England in 1990. Includes liner notes by Don Kaye.
In 1990, Bruce Dickinson launched his solo career with Tattooed Millionaire, which is far from a carbon copy of his work with Iron Maiden. Many of the fans who knew him as Maiden's lead vocalist assumed that this solo debut would be Maiden-like -- they expected an album of aggressive yet melodic fantasy metal in the Maiden/Ronnie James Dio/Black Sabbath vein. But Tattooed Millionaire found Dickinson favoring more of a hard rock/pop-metal approach. This album is full of glossy and lighthearted pop-metal that wouldn't be out of place on an album by Winger, Bon Jovi, or Def Leppard. "Lickin' the Gun" is more Aerosmith than King Diamond, and "Son of a Gun" is more Bad Company than Candlemass. And while some Maiden worshipers might prefer to hear Dickinson singing fantasy metal, the fact is that Tattooed Millionaire is excellent. With this album, Dickinson did what fellow Brit Rob Halford did on some of Judas Priest's more commercial and pop-influenced releases -- he showed listeners another side of himself and demonstrated that he wasn't obligated to embrace fantasy metal 100 percent of the time. For Dickinson, coming out with something more pop-minded didn't mean being contrived or unimaginative. Tattooed Millionaire, for all its pop-metal gloss, has a lot of guts, and Dickinson is consistently inspired whether he is embracing original material or providing a memorable remake of David Bowie's "All the Young Dudes." On subsequent solo efforts like 1994's Balls to Picasso and 1998's The Chemical Wedding, the British vocalist got back to fantasy metal. But he seemed to need a break from it in 1990, and Tattooed Millionaire turned out to be a most pleasant surprise. ~ Alex Henderson