During the 1980s, charity singles like “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and “We Are the World” topped the charts – but not in the metal world. So Dio members Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain decided to do something about what they felt was a slight of their genre, and spoke to lead singer Ronnie James Dio about putting together their own charity project.
The result was the song “Stars,” featuring members of Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Blue Öyster Cult and even Spinal Tap. The group – which called itself Hear N’ Aid – also enlisted Ted Nugent and Yngvie Malmsteen to record the track and put out an album, Stars, featuring live cuts by Kiss, Rush, Dio and more.
The track should be a part of Eighties lore – it features Dio and Rob Halford, among others, on lead vocals. But due to contract differences with the labels, the song and album weren’t released until New Year’s Day, 1986, well after the success of its predecessors and has since been largely forgotten.
But Ronnie’s widow Wendy Dio wants to fix that. “I’m going to rerelease [Stars] because it only ever came out on vinyl and cassette. So it’ll come out on DVD and CD,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I have loads of outtakes for the video.”
Until then, Wendy has a full slate of projects on the horizon to honor Dio’s memory and raise funds for the “Stand Up And Shout” Cancer Fund. Everything kicks off tonight at the Playboy Mansion in L.A. with an awards ceremony – with each award named after a Dio song, including the “King Of Rock And Roll” honor, being given this year to his Black Sabbath mate Geezer Butler.
“Geezer Butler was not only a band mate with Ronnie, but one of his dearest friends,” Wendy says. “He insisted on flying to Houston for Ronnie’s first chemo treatment to sit with him. Obviously I miss Ronnie every day, but I like to keep his memory alive and see if we can raise as much money as possible to get rid of this horrible disease.”
She’s also planning a bowling benefit January 31st and a guitar auction in April featuring over 100 donated guitars. Next year she wants to begin work on the tribute album, which will include artists ranging from Dave Grohl, doing “Mob Rules,” to Asia lead singer John Payne, who may tackle “Heaven And Hell.” She also tells us it will have to be a double album that will include friends like Halford and Glenn Hughes, as well as younger bands, such as Killswitch, who were influenced by Dio.