The colourful ex Iron Maiden singer has struggled against jail stints, ill health and addiction issues to keep delivering rock shows since rising to fame with the NOWBHM outfit in 1980.
Today he said via Facebook: “I am gonna be ‘Pulling The Plug’ next year 2013, and making it my ‘Farewell Tour’…it was good whilst it lasted.”
The news took followers by surprise, many of whom replied with expressions of astonishment and urging him to rethink his decision.
Later he added: “I can’t find the right words to tell you all how much I’ll miss you. All of you have my love and respect forever, and anyone who knows me knows that ain’t a load of bollocks. You have kept me going through difficult times, happy times and a lot of heartbreak. I thank you all with all my heart and I’m glad you’re not here right now watching me write this crying like a big Jessie (for you, mates, it means a wuss!). You will be with me always.”
It had been reported he was working on a new solo album, but it’s not known whether he’ll complete the project before bowing out. He has nearly 90 shows booked for the rest of this year, and he’s believed to be planning a series of gigs with fellow ex-Maiden singer Blaze Bayley.
It’s thought upcoming surgery on his knee is part of the reason he’s retiring.
Di’Anno, real name Paul Andrews, fronted Maiden for their first two albums before being replaced by Bruce Dickinson. Often outspoken in his attitude to the band, he fluctuated between criticising and supporting his ex-bandmates.
He went on to play with a number of outfits including Gogmagog, Praying Mantis and Battlezone. He was last jailed in 2011 after UK benefits investigators discovered he’d been performing concerts across the world while claiming he was incapable of working due to a back complaint. He’d fraudulently claimed over £45,000.
On his release he said: “Prison’s hard, but I’m harder. And I managed not to pick up the soap.”