When Bruce Dickinson announced he was leaving Iron Maiden back in 1992, a number of singers tried to occupy the post which eventually was handed over to Blaze Bayley.
One of the candidates at the time was Doogie White.
There was a supposed contest and Doogie was one of the top five finalists and he even ended up auditioning for the position. "It was certainly close to Christmas because they ruined my CHristmas when they gave the post to Blaze Bayley [laughs]" [...] "and if I had stayed with the post I would never have done something with Rainbow.
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"Working with Ritchie Blackmore was really passionate for me, it was very exciting, It didn't last as long as I wished, he had other plans. If we had done another album, who knows what would have happened? Some of that stuff ended up on the Cornerstone album, stuff that I actually had written for the second album with the Rainbow."
When asked about the audition, Doogie said he sang 'Be Quick Or Be Dead', 'From Here To Eternity', 'Can I Play With Madness', 'Iron Maiden' and 'The Clairvoyant'. "And I sang each of them twice!" he added.
When asked if he had prepared for the audition he said: "It was funny, I was going to Scotland on Saturday morning and Dickie Bell, who was the tour manager at the time, knocked on my door on Friday evening with a tape and lyrics and told me: 'you are singing at midnight for Iron Maiden'. And it happened because Blaze was doing something else.
"So I went there and sang on Monday and even they found it unfair and said I would need a second chance, so I went back ten days later and I was better prepared than the first time. I knew the material, such as you should know 'Kashmir' by Led Zeppelin, but you cannot simply stand up and sing, you know?"
Doogie's case is much likely to be the most famous one whenever this discussion arises. Doogie is one of my favourite singers out there and I'm sure he would have done a fantastic job! See it for yourself:
Steve Grimmet from Grim Reaper was also another singer in the supposed top five list. He claims that he had been told by Rod Smallwood himself that he was considered for the job.
"When Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden I sent them a demo, but never got any response, then Blaze Bayley took the job. Sometime after Rod Smallwood told me that I was in their top five list."
Sometime later Steve was invited to participate on a Maiden tribute album called '666 The Number One Beast – Volume 2'. Check his work:
Ok, this article was originally thought to be about a Brazilian singer filling up Bruce's shoes on Maiden and so far I only mentioned British singers. So, who is this Brazilian dude said also to be on that top five list?
The answer is easy my friends, Andre Matos, lead singer of the most famous metal band in Brazil: Angra!
Angra were in their prime. They were huge in Japan, selling millions of albums, they were also very strong in Europe, with regular tours in the old continent selling out many venues.
A few years ago Andre had something to say about it: "I thank God for not having been 'chosen' because I would not be here today; I actually do not know where I'd be, somewhere in the world, or even nowhere. It's very important to me, honestly speaking that it has not happened. I was not psychologically prepared for something like that... I would not have had time to be ready. I'm grateful that, because of that, I can walk around today as a human being and as a musician."
André did a special participation on 'Clairvoyants - Word To The Wise' album (an Italian Maiden cover band) and you can check it here:
And as you can see here, he can do it live as well!
Some years after in 1997 Bruce joined Angra on stage in Paris and sang along with Andre Matos.
So, if this supposed top five list ever existed we would have: Blaze, Doogie, Steve and Andre. Who is the other mysterious singer? Some say it was Michael Kiske but does anybody really know for sure?
I really like Blaze (his solo stuff is amazing!), but I honestly thing he was the wrong guy in the wrong moment. I'm not sure Steve Grimmet would be the man for the job so I would have Doogie and Andre as my finalists. I would choose Doogie. I think he would blend easier.
Although Andre was fully capable of doing the job, he was too young at the time and couldn't handle the pressure.
And what about you? Out of those four/five, who would you choose?