Ronnie James Dio talks heavy-metal charity project Hear ‘n Aid in 1985

Mercury

By Steve Newton

Tomorrow (May 21) the Ride For Ronnie motorcycle ride and concert takes place in L.A., raising money for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund.

Coincidentally, exactly 31 years ago tomorrow the charity project Dio spearheaded, Hear ‘n Aid, finished recording its video/single “Stars” at A&M Studios in Tinseltown.

“Stars” was a one-time collaboration featuring an array of the biggest hard rock/heavy metal artists of the ’80s. Contributing lead vocals on the track were Dio, Eric Bloom (Blue Oyster Cult), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt), Kevin DuBrow (Quiet Riot), and Don Dokken (Dokken).

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Contributing lead-guitar solos were Vivian Campbell (Dio), Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot), Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Craig Goldy (Giuffria), George Lynch (Dokken), Yngwie Malmsteen (Yngwie Malmsteen), Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), and Neil Schon (Journey), with Iron Maiden‘s Dave Murray and Adrian Smith supplying rhythm guitar and melody lines.

A whole bunch of folks–including members of the above-mentioned bands, as well as Motley Crue, Vanilla Fudge, W.A.S.P, and Spinal Tap–provided backing vocals on the group singalong.

Don’t ask me why no female vocalists were invited. Seems pretty tacky.

Anyway, seven months after that tune was recorded I interviewed Dio in advance of his show in Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour. Near the beginning of our conversation–right after I told him that I’d been a fan of his ever since the Elf days–I asked about the Hear ‘n Aid project.

Interestingly, Dio mentions that the upcoming Hear ‘n Aid album will include “as-yet-unreleased” tracks by his band, Priest, Maiden, and others.

That never happened. You heard it here first. Maybe.

Have a listen:

 

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