You can’t talk about this part of Maiden’s history without talking about Tattooed Millionaire. Part 14 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!
BRUCE DICKINSON – Tattooed Millionaire (1990, 2005 Sanctuary 2 disc set)
If Tattooed Millionaire had not happened, neither would so many things in Maiden’s history: No #1 single (“Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter), Janick Gers might never have joined the band, and so on.
Due to the six months downtime between Seventh Son and No Prayer, Bruce decided to have some fun. He first recorded “Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter” for the Nightmare on Elm Street 5soundtrack. This opened the floodgates and before too long, Bruce and guitarist Janick Gers had more than enough songs for an album. (Other band members: Andy Carr – bass, Fabio Del Rio – drums.)
And an album there was, and what a fine album indeed! Bruce made no bones about it: This is not a heavy metal album like Maiden. This is a hard rock album, along the lines of his influences: Deep Purple, AC/DC, Mott the Hoople, and more. What was surprising even to me at time was just how good it was.
The first single, “Tattooed Millionaire” was catchy as hell while still sounding very British and uncompromising. Vocally, the song and album combines Bruce’s classic soaring voice, with his newer style of spitting out the words in a furious assault. The combination is effective; Just listen to “Hell On Wheels”. While innuendo-loaded verses are spat out, the chorus soars in a singalong fashion. “Dive! Dive! Dive!” and “Lickin’ the Gun” tackle similar lyrical territory.
But it’s not all sexual innuendo. Bruce tackles more philosophical topics on songs such as “Born in ’58” (a great single), “Son of a Gun”, and “Gypsy Road”. Meanwhile, “Tattooed Millionaire” pokes fun at the rockers of the L.A. scene, loaded with cash but not too much in the way of brains.
Tattooed boys with expensive toys,
living in a bubble of sin.
Money can buy you most of anything,
fix your nose or the mess you’re in.
Some speculated that this was aimed at former tourmates, Guns N’ Roses. I believe Bruce later said the inspiration was Motley Crue!
Bruce admitted that doing a cover song for a single was “cheating”, but “All the Young Dudes” was a great choice to cover. Fear not; Bruce does it justice. Bruce kicks it in the head. Gers’ guitar work is perfect for the song, and it’s good to have a chance to hear him play a more laid-back style, unlike his usual work.
The album spawned plenty of singles, each with their own B-sides worth collecting. But luckily, the fine folks at Sanctuary put all of this stuff together, along with “Bring Your Daughter”, on a tasty bonus disc.
The bonus disc includes some acoustic music (“Winds of Change”, “Darkness Be My Friend”, and the joke song “Ballad of Mutt”). It also has some kickass live covers: Deep Purple’s “Black Night” and “Sin City” by AC/DC among them. Bonus — there’s also a studio version of “Sin City”, and some live versions of the album’s hits.
Absolutely essential: “Son of a Gun”, “Tattooed Millionaire”, “Born in ’58”.
Great: “Gypsy Road”, “Zulu Lulu”, “No Lies”, “All the Young Dudes”
So-so: “Dive! Dive! Dive!”, “Hell On Wheels”
Filler: “Lickin’ the Gun”