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30 Years Ago: Heavy Metal Legends Convene for ‘Hear ’n Aid’ Sessions

On May 20 and 21, 1985, one of the greatest heavy metal summits of all time took place at Los Angeles’ A&M Records Studio for the creation of a charitable single, “Stars,” later issued by the project known as Hear ’n Aid. The cause was raising money for famine relief in Africa — as it had been for recent efforts undertaken by pop musicians, in both the U.K. (Band Aid) and the U.S. (USA for Africa), but that’s where the similarities ended and Hear ’n Aid stood alone.

But it was in fact 1984’s Band Aid that sowed the general seeds for Hear ’n Aid’s existence, along with a 48-hour radio telethon hosted by L.A. radio station KLOS, specifically, which happened to be attended by Dio members Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Jimmy Bain (bass), among many other stars. Together, the duo crafted a new song and asked their boss, Ronnie James Dio, to help with some lyrics and, before anyone could count to 11, heavy metal had an answer to Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and USA for Africa’s “We Are the World.”

Its name was “Stars,” and the roll call of hard rock and metal stars eager to lend their talents to those sessions was nothing short of astonishing. In common with those pop music efforts, “Stars” witnessed a string of leather-lunged singers trading lead vocals lines — namely Dio, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, Blue Oyster Cult’s Eric Bloom, Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow, Queensryche’s Geoff Tate, Y&T’s Dave Meniketti, Rough Cutt’s Paul Shortino and Dokken’s Don Dokken, as well as dozens more providing backup, including members of Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and W.A.S.P.

Distinct among all these musical charities of the time, “Stars” did its metal heritage proud by boasting an extended jaw-dropping guitar solo that collated fireworks of shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, Dokken’s George Lynch, Craig Goldy, B.O.C.’s Buck Dharma Roeser, Twisted Sister’s Eddie Ojeda, Journey’s Neal Schon, Quiet Riot’s Carlos Cavazo, Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis and co-songwriter Campbell, who also contributed rhythm guitar parts, along with Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, who flew in from their band’s massive World Slavery Tour to do their part with harmony parts.

Even Ted Nugent came down to sing backup — as did the members of spoof-metal band Spinal Tap to lend a few laughs to the otherwise dead serious circumstances.

Unfortunately, obtaining legal clearance for so many artists signed to so many different record labels proved a daunting task that would delay the music’s release for months. The Hear ’n Aid compilation LP finally arrived in stores in January 1986, packing recordings donated by major names such as Kiss, Rush, Motorhead, Accept, Y&T, Scorpions, the Jimi Hendrix estate and Dio.

By then, “Stars” had also been made available as both 7” and 12” singles (peaking at No. 26 in the U.K., No. 39 in the U.S.), and the entire historic event was eventually celebrated by a 48-minute documentary filled with interviews, outtakes and behind-the-scenes clips. And while some of those involved feared that the legal delays had diminished Hear ’n Aid’s impact, one could likewise argue that they also extended awareness for famine relief for a few more months, well into 1986.

In any case, the nearly $1 million raised by Hear ’n Aid speak for themselves, and the still-unmatched collection of heavy metal star power that came together during those two days in the name of a good cause.


The 10 Most Important Moments in Dio History

Read More: 30 Years Ago: Heavy Metal Legends Convene for ‘Hear ’n Aid’ Sessions | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/hear-n-aid-stars/?trackback=tsmclip

RONNIE JAMES DIO’S Widow Is Resurrecting A 1980s Supergroup For Charity

Most of you reading this are probably too young to remember, but back in the 1980s rock stars loved getting together to record songs for charity. They didn’t love it as much as cocaine, but celebrity supergroups where probably a close second. The two most well-known of these were Band-Aid, a supergroup organized by Bob Geldof that raised money to fight hunger in Africa with “Do They Know It’s Christmas;” a song that portrayed the continent as a Mad Maxian hellspcape, and USA For Africa, which was led by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and also raised millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa with the (noticeably less bleak) song “We Are the World.” Each of these projects raised millions of dollars for their respective causes and had the added bonus of inspiring Vivian Campbell and Jimmie Bain of Dio to approach Ronnie James Dio with an idea for a heavy metal and hard rock version of these groups.

The three went to work writing a song that would eventually be called simply “Stars,” and on May 20th and 21st assembled a murderer’s row of heavy weight singers and guitarists to record the song at A & M Studios in Hollywood, California under the name Hear ‘n Aid. Among the participants were Dio himself, Rob Halford, Chris Holmes and Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.), Yngwie Malmsteen, Kevin DuBrow (Quiet Riot), Ted Nugent, Don Dokken (Dokken), Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe), and Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche). Dio intended for the song to be released as a single shortly after it was recorded, but some legal malarkey with the record labels involved held the release up until New Years Day of 1986 when “Stars” finally saw the light of day. Dio and company also released a making-off documentary to and a full album featuring some additional songs by artists like AcceptRush, and Motörhead to accompany the song. “Stars” peaked at #26 at the UK Singles chart in 1986, and, according to Ronnie James Dio, it raised $1 million that first year.

Now, nearly 30 years after the initial release of “Stars,” Dio’s widow Wendy has announced her intention to release the original song with loads of bonus material. On a recent interview with SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk she said, “We are in talks right now with a couple of record labels to reissue Hear ‘n Aid, with the funds going to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. She went on to say, “We have so much stuff that was never released before — behind-the-scenes stuff that was shot during the whole time. We have photos galore of everybody that was involved in it, and I think it’ll be fantastic. We just have to work on it. It may not come out this year, because I want everything to be perfect, as Ronnie would want it to be, but I am in talks about it, and that will be coming out, definitely.”

Additionally, Wendy stated that a new Hear ‘n Aid track will be recorded for charity, although she didn’t reveal the names of anyone involved. Just that the line-up would consist of current and classic artists and proceeds would go to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund and it probably wouldn’t be out this year due again to legal bullcrap with some record labels. Below you’ll find the video for the original version of “Stars.” Yeah it’s cheesy, but it’s also a lot of fun and it was for a good cause. Keep your eyes peeled for more news regarding the new incarnation of Hear ‘n Aid.

[h/t Blabbermouth]

An inspirational story involving Geoff Tate!

This morning, I was privileged to read a very touching story in a Geoff Tate group, a story that was written by Sherri Kirkwood to honor her late sister, Diana Kirkwood-Retzlaff. This story reminded me of why, despite some people’s opinions to the contrary, I still care about GT. It was nice to read about the lovely, compassionate side of GT that I’ve seen myself in person, the side that I know is still there. With her permission given, here is Sherri’s GT story:

My sister, Diana, loved Queensryche and her favorite song was “Silent Lucidity”. My only sister, she fell ill on October 1st, 2011. Back in 2006, my sister and i quit talking because of my decision to marry a guy i had just met and my sister asked me to wait at least 6 months, but i didn’t listen. I married the guy, then my sister and i quit talking. About three to four years later i was at work when i got a text from an unknown number asking if i had gone fishing lately. I replied back “who is this? ” The reply i got was ” your sister, ” now, i have many female friends that call me sister, so i asked which one. She replied Diana. We slowly got back into each others lives. I had only lived about 4 blocks away from her for a couple years when we weren’t talking. I got a text message from my sister’s husband on October 1st, 2011 saying only “ems here di dead. ” that’s it. I jumped in my car and sped out of my driveway. When i got one block over, i could see the lights at the end of her street. I sped to her house, going through the stop signs. I got there and there was only one rescue squad there, i beat the ambulance and the firetruck and they were only about 6 blocks away. I got inside her house and saw my sister laying on the floor, a rescue squad member performing cpr. I broke down. I had already lost one sibling. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing another. I lost one of my brothers on 3/27/90 to an accident. He was 16, i was 13. Now I’m watching my sister die. They had to take me out of the house when the ambulance got there. I had to call my parents, but i was crying so uncontrollably that my dad couldn’t understand me so he handed the phone to my mom. All i could get out was “Diana is dead get over here!” It only took my parents about five minutes to get there. The whole time the ems crew were trying to get her breathing started and get a pulse so they could get her to the hospital. They finally got a very weak pulse and intubated and loaded up in the ambulance. My folks took their vehicle, i rode with my sisters husband and we beat the ambulance to the hospital because he was driving on the highway in excess of 100mph. She was in a coma due to what they called an anoxic brain injury. She suffered from cardiac arrest that lead to respiratory arrest. Her husband gave my parents power of attorney over my sister. For several days, i could see that she was in there and prayed every minute i could for God not to take another sibling from me, Let alone my only sister. One night, she had another cardiac arrest, and the next day, i could no longer see my sister in her eyes. She was gone, but her body was still on life support. My folks called a family meeting after many neurologists said that IF she lived, she would be in a persistent vegetative state. I didn’t care, i told my mom i would take her home and take care of her. But after many tears and tests, it was decided to turn off life support. We decided on Sunday, October 23 at 12:22pm. Many questioned who chose the time and why. I insisted that if we had to turn it off, i get to choose the time. The time, 12:22 is the birthday of my brother that died, 12/22/73. Diana hung on due to extreme nursing incompetence who confused what the Dr ordered. She had been on heavy medications prior to her falling ill because of many medical problems, so the Dr ordered her morphine every two hours after they removed life support but the nurses didn’t give it to her per drs orders because they would come in with her meds and since she couldn’t voice any pain or any reactions to stimulus, they thought she didn’t need it. When my mom found out, she talked to the Dr, who my mom had worked with many times being a scrub tech in the OR for ten years. The Dr chewed the nursing staff a new one and ordered a morphine pump. They got the pump started on Monday. On the morning of Tuesday, October 25 at 6:06 am, i held my sisters hand as her heart took its last beat and her lungs took their final breath, then her body was finally at rest and no longer in pain. Now, before we quit talking, she had the Queensryche logo tattooed on the back of her calf. When i found out through a friend that Queensryche with Geoff Tate was coming to the Cotillion Ballroom in Wichita, i knew i had to go. I got tickets 0,1,2,3, and 4. I took two of my sister’s kids, my niece Kim, and my nephew, john. Along with my son, Drake, and johns gf Kelsey. I also took my sister. I took a bottle of my sister’s ashes. Her ashes were sitting on the table during the entire show. When my nephew and i went to the outside smoking garden, we passed the booth where they were selling the shirts, keychains, cds, etc. On the way back in, i stopped to look and that’s when i spotted the meet and greet passes. They were $50 each. I had already spent $100 on tickets and the rest of my money on drinks and food for them, so i asked my nephew if he could buy one for me so i could get pics and autographs. He didn’t bring his debit card but asked the lady running the booth if he knew his debit card number could be buy something. She had one of those apps that he could enter his card number and stuff and sign it with his finger. Much to my surprise, he bought 5 passes!! I broke down crying once again. I told him i would pay him back and he said if i hooked him up with my tattoo guy to get his tattoo in honor of his mom we would call it even. No problem!! After the concert, everyone without the passes was escorted out and then we all could start the meet and greet session. We all got our ticket stubs signed, cups signed, my shirt signed, the back of my phone signed, and the bottle of my sister’s ashes signed. I was able to spend a few extra minutes with Geoff and told him the story of my sister and why i brought the bottle of her ashes. He had tears welling up in his eyes as i told him about my sister. He did tell me that she was probably rocking along with us in paradise. It was an experience i will never forget.

Dare to Support Rockers Who Care's photo.
Dare to Support Rockers Who Care's photo.
Dare to Support Rockers Who Care's photo.
Dare to Support Rockers Who Care's photo.

Let’s support teenage radio host Miles “The Shoe” Schuman!

Here’s a link to episodes of Miles Schuman’s radio show The Shoe on iHeartRadio!. Miles has interviewed some of the most famous rock/metal musicians out there, including the fabulous Rudy Sarzo!

Listen to The Shoe with Miles Schuman on demand through iHeartRadio.
Also, full episodes are available at this blogtalk link:



Let’s give Miles Schuman some likes on his official FB page!


Rock n’ Roll!