Balls to Picasso

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Balls to Picasso
Studio album by
Bruce Dickinson
Released3 June 1994
LabelEMI (Europe)
Mercury (US)
ProducerShay Baby
Bruce Dickinson chronology
Tattooed Millionaire
Balls to Picasso
Alive in Studio A
Singles from Balls to Picasso
  1. "Tears of the Dragon"
    Released: 28 May 1994
  2. "Shoot All the Clowns"
    Released: August 1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal6/10[2]
Rock Hard9.0/10[3]

Balls to Picasso is the second solo album by Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, released in 1994. It is the first album in Dickinson's solo career that was released after he had officially left Iron Maiden (although he rejoined again in 1999).

This record marked the beginning of Dickinson's collaborations with guitarist Roy Z, who would work on many of Dickinson's later albums including Accident of Birth, The Chemical Wedding and Tyranny of Souls. Stylistically it departs from Tattooed Millionaire but is still more traditional-sounding than the follow-up album Skunkworks released in 1996. Later, Dickinson said that he and Roy Z were talked into making the album less heavy than it should have been.[4]


Dickinson started working on his second solo album while still in Iron Maiden. For the very first recording sessions he recruited the British band Skin. Not satisfied with the style of the effort, Dickinson aborted the recording. His next attempt at a second solo album was a collaboration with producer Keith Olsen.[5] "Over and Out", "Tibet", "Tears of the Dragon (First Bit, Long Bit, Last Bit)", "Cadillac Gas Mask", and "No Way Out...Continued" are all songs recorded with Olsen and set for inclusion on the second, aborted version of Balls to Picasso, also referred to by insiders as "The Peter Gabriel Album". Other songs from these sessions that have yet to surface on any Dickinson release include "Man of Sorrows" (re-recorded for Accident of Birth; an older demo version from 1990 appears on The Best of Bruce Dickinson), "Original Sin" and "Thank Heaven".

Dickinson decided to scrap this project as well and teamed up with guitarist Roy Z and his band Tribe of Gypsies to write and record Balls to Picasso.[5] The song "Change of Heart" was originally written and demoed by Roy Z and vocalist Rob Rock with their band Driver. Dickinson changed the lyrics for the version that was recorded for Balls to Picasso. Z and Rock finally recorded and released their version when Driver reunited for their 2008 debut album, Sons of Thunder. Songs from the previous recording sessions later resurfaced as b-sides on singles from Balls to Picasso and subsequently also as bonus tracks on the album's 2005 extended edition.

In the Anthology DVD, Dickinson said that he regrets not naming the album Laughing in the Hiding Bush after the song of the same name. The song itself is dedicated to his son, Austin, who penned the title.

Balls to Picasso was also released in DVD-Audio 5.1 mix and DualDisc (CD/DVD-Audio 5.1 mix) versions by Sanctuary Records.

Cover artwork[edit]

In a 1996 interview with Tom Russell of Glasgow-based Radio Clyde 1, Bruce revealed that the album was originally to be titled Laughing in the Hiding Bush. The artwork was designed by Storm Thorgerson – but they couldn't afford it. His album's title was changed and he drew two squares on a toilet wall for the cover, and Thorgerson's artwork later ended up as the cover for the Anthrax album Stomp 442.[6]

Thorgerson later did the artwork for Bruce's Skunkworks album.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Bruce Dickinson and Roy Z, except where noted.

1."Cyclops" 7:58
2."Hell No" 5:11
3."Gods of War" 5:02
4."1000 Points of Light" 4:25
5."Laughing in the Hiding Bush"B. Dickinson, Z, Austin Dickinson4:20
6."Change of Heart" 4:58
7."Shoot All the Clowns" 4:24
8."Fire"B. Dickinson, Z, Eddie Casillas4:30
9."Sacred Cowboys" 3:53
10."Tears of the Dragon"B. Dickinson6:24

All tracks are written by Bruce Dickinson, except where noted.

2005 Extended Edition bonus disc
1."Fire Child" 6:24
2."Elvis Has Left the Building" 3:23
3."The Breeding House" 5:18
4."No Way Out...To Be Continued" 7:31
5."Tears of the Dragon (Acoustic Chillout)" 4:32
6."Winds of Change"B. Dickinson, Janick Gers4:14
7."Spirit of Joy" (Arthur Brown cover)Arthur Brown, Michael Harris3:13
8."Over and Out"B. Dickinson, Jim Crichton, Richard Baker4:32
9."Shoot All the Clowns" (12" Extended Remix)B. Dickinson, Z5:39
10."Laughing in the Hiding Bush" (live)B. Dickinson, Z, A. Dickinson4:17
11."The Post Alternative Seattle Fall Out" (live)B. Dickinson, Alex Dickson, Chris Dale, Alessandro Elena5:04
12."Shoot All the Clowns" (7" Remix)B. Dickinson, Z4:17
13."Tibet" 3:02
14."Tears of the Dragon (First Bit, Long Bit, Last Bit)" 8:20
15."Cadillac Gas Mask" 4:09
16."No Way Out...Continued"B. Dickinson, Crichton, Baker5:21
Total length:78:48


Tribe of Gypsies[edit]

Additional musicians
  • Dickie Fliszar – drums on "Tears of the Dragon"
  • Richard Baker – keyboards and programming
  • Shay Baby – producer, mixing
  • Spencer May – additional engineering
  • Sean De Feo – engineer at Townhouse 3
  • Andy Baker – engineer at Westside Studios
  • Bjorn Thorsrud – engineer on "Shoot All the Clowns
  • Greg Fulginiti & Andy Van Dette – mastering at Masterdisk, New York




  1. ^ Franck, John. "Bruce Dickinson - Balls to Picasso review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  2. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 August 2007). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 3: The Nineties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-894959-62-9.
  3. ^ Kühnemund, Götz (27 May 1994). "Review Dynamit : Bruce Dickinson - Balls to Picasso". Rock Hard (in German). No. 85. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Interview". Official Bruce Dickinson Website. Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b Ling, Dave (2005). Balls to Picasso (CD booklet). Bruce Dickinson. London, UK: Sanctuary Records. pp. 2–7. SMEDD199.
  6. ^ Chantler, Chris (10 July 2016). "Anthrax: the story behind every album cover". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1961: D > Bruce Dickinson". Sisältää hitin / Timo Pennanen. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Bruce Dickinson - Balls to Picasso (Album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Bruce Dickinson Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Bruce Dickinson - Balls to Picasso". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Bruce Dickinson - Balls to Picasso". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Album – Bruce Dickinson, Balls to Picasso". (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Bruce Dickinson - Balls to Picasso". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Chart History: Bruce Dickinson". Billboard. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Chart History: Bruce Dickinson Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 7 November 2020.