“That song really affects people. It affects me.” Bruce Dickinson names the greatest song he’s ever written – and, no, it’s not an Iron Maiden track

Brice Dickinson wearing flying goggles
(Image credit: John McMurtrie)

Bruce Dickinson has named the greatest song he’s ever written in a new interview.

The famed vocalist, who fronted Iron Maiden from 1981 to 1993 and again since 1999, has named the track he’s proudest of as Tears Of The Dragon, a single from his 1994 solo album Balls To Picasso.

Dickinson explained the rationale for his choice while talking to Revolver, citing the song’s ambiguity and mystery even 30 years after its release.

“I would say Tears Of The Dragon, ’cause I don’t know what it means. But it means something. That song really affects people. It affects me.

“I do know what it’s about,” he continues. “It’s about abandonment, not being abandoned, but abandoning yourself to the universe, to whatever is gonna come next. But I still don’t know why it is ‘the tears of the dragon’.

“I’ve never figured that out. It works and it means something, but I don’t know what it is. And that’s why it’s great.”

Dickinson, who is currently promoting his 2024 solo album The Mandrake Project, has recently spoken of his desire to remix Balls To Picasso and “make it the record it should have been”.

The singer told Goldmine Magazine: “There’s guitars missing on Balls To Picasso that Roy [Z, Dickinson’s longtime collaborator] did that never made it onto the record because the producer kind of wanted it to be middling, middle of the road.

“I’m determined that that record should sound like we really wanted it to sound. But Roy and I had only just met; I was just getting to know Z.”

The Mandrake Project was released on March 1, and Dickinson will support the album with a world tour that starts in the US in April, then continues through South America and Europe. The full list of dates and tickets are available at the Mandrake Project website.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.