Bruce Dickinson said the early period of his COVID lockdown was ruined by a musician who kept performing a bad version of Europe's signature song “The Final Countdown.”

The Iron Maiden singer told Rolling Stone that he enjoyed the experience of staying with his girlfriend in France when the pandemic began in 2020.

“The sun was out for the first part of it, and it was like a novelty at first,” Dickinson said in an interview primarily covering the new Maiden album Senjutsu. “I was stuck in Paris in my girlfriend’s apartment, and the worst thing was we have a very small balcony, and there was a guy in the apartment above us who insisted on practicing his saxophone every five o’clock in the afternoon, doing the world’s worst ‘The Final Countdown.’ It’s like waking up by a shotgun, you know?”

A reference to the fact that September 2021 marks 40 years since he auditioned for Iron Maiden led to Dickinson expressing contempt for believing details about people online. “‘According to the internet’ … well, there you go,” he said. “I looked at my net worth the other day, and I was like, 'Holy shit, I’m worth four times what Steve Harris is worth. I must have written a whole bunch of songs I never knew about.’ So, no, a lot of it’s bullshit. But they are okay on dates sometimes. So yeah, it is probably around 40 years.”

He said two auditions took place as Maiden set out to replace Paul Di’Anno. “The first one was just in a rehearsal room,” Dickinson noted. “They asked me to learn four songs, and I thought, ‘Well, they’ve only got two albums. I’ll learn them all.’ … And then they had to go off and do some gigs with the old singer in Sweden. So I thought, ‘Well, that must be kind of difficult because they just had this kind of very fun day with me.’

“And then they came back and said, ‘Okay, well, we fired him, and so now we want to give you a test in a recording studio just to make sure we’re not hearing things.’”

After singing over four live tracks, Maiden decided Dickinson was in. "So we all went down to a UFO concert, I think, at a theater somewhere, and drank a lot of beer," the singer recalled. "And then the rest is history. The hard work actually began the next day.”

Iron Maiden Albums Ranked

When ranking Iron Maiden albums, perhaps the most striking thing is that they succeeded despite changing lead singers on three separate occasions.