Review Summary: Aside from minor irritations, The Best of Bruce Dickinson has all the makings of a perfect greatest hits album.
Bruce Dickinson. A name every metalhead should know. However, the less seasoned ones may not know that, in 1989, he was asked to do a song for A Nightmare on Elmstreet 5: The Dream Child. This led to an album, and then some more albums and then this album. Bruce Dickinson’s 2001 compilation album has every quality of an excellent Greatest Hits album; a good entryway for new listeners, the artists most notable tracks, alternate versions of songs, and even a wealth of bonus material in the form of a second disc. This is what all Greatest Hits albums should be.
Disc One contains the actual “Greatest Hits” material. It has his most notable tracks, plus two live songs (taken from Scream for me Brazil), and two original songs made just for this album. (A third live song is on disc two).
The album seems to contain all the classics, from the commercial Tattooed Millionaire to the power ballad Tears of the Dragon and of course, plenty off of Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding. The original content and live versions sweeten the deal. However, songs like Laughing in the Hiding Bush, Born in 58, and The Tower aren't all that necessary and feel like filler, despite Laughing being live. The original content is Broken and Silver Wings. While the songs are good on their own, they don’t stand up to everything else on the album. While they do indeed belong on the album, they end up feeling like filler. In fact, Broken doesn't even have a solo.
Disc Two contains B-sides, never-before-released demos and other content. For example, it opens with the original soundtrack version of Bring Your Daughter... To the Slaughter, as opposed to Iron Maiden’s re-recording. It is followed by several demos that never made it onto an album.
There are some rather odd placements. The final live song is Jerusalem. It totally belongs in disc one and there is no obvious reason for it to be on disk two. On the same level as this is the also questionably-placed Man of Sorrows demo. The penultimate track isn't even a song. The Voice of Crube (Crube is an anagram of Bruce) is him talking to a mic, explaining all the songs on disc two. This is followed by a real treasure; Dracula was recorded in 1977 and is the very first song to ever grace his voice.
This is almost a perfect Greatest Hits album. There are a couple of drawbacks, starting with the odd placement of the Man of Sorrows demo and even more so the live version of Jerusalem. There is also the rather skimpy disc one. It could have done with a few more tracks, as it seems that it just has his classics and nothing more.
Aside from it’s drawbacks, Bruce Dickinson - The Best of Bruce Dickinson, is still a must have. Disc one serves it’s purpose well and disc two elevates it to a must have status for the fan. The album contains all the classics spanning his career, plus a wealth of bonus material, and all the makings of an excellent greatest hits album. Again, this is what all greatest hits albums should be, and for that reason, it gets a 4.5/5.