Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958) is an English singer and songwriter. He is best known as the longtime lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Dickinson has performed in the band across two stints, from 1981 to 1993 and from 1999 to the present day. He is known for his wide-ranging operatic vocal style and energetic stage presence. Dickinson began his career in music fronting small pub bands in the 1970s while attending school in Sheffield and university in London. In 1979, he joined British new wave heavy metal band Samson, with whom he gained some popularity under the stage name "Bruce Bruce" and performed on two studio records. He left Samson in 1981 to join Iron Maiden, replacing Paul Di'Anno, and debuted on their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. During his first tenure in the band, they issued a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums in the 1980s and early 1990s. Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 (being replaced by Blaze Bayley) to pursue his solo career, which saw him experiment with a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles. He re-joined the band in 1999, along with guitarist Adrian Smith, and has released six subsequent studio albums with the band. Since his return to Iron Maiden, he issued one further solo record in 2005, Tyranny of Souls. His younger cousin, Rob Dickinson, is the former lead singer of British alternative rock band Catherine Wheel, while his son, Austin, fronted the metalcore band Rise to Remain. Outside his career in music, Dickinson has pursued a number of other activities. He undertook a career as a commercial pilot for Astraeus Airlines, which led to a number of media-reported ventures such as captaining Iron Maiden's converted charter aeroplane, Ed Force One, during their world tours. Following Astraeus' closure, he created his own aircraft maintenance and pilot training company, Cardiff Aviation, in 2012. Dickinson presented his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2002 to 2010, and has also hosted television documentaries, authored novels and film scripts, created a beer with Robinsons Brewery and competed at fencing internationally.