Hear 'n Aid

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Hear 'n Aid
GenresHard rock, heavy metal
Years active1985 (1985)
Associated actsBand Aid
USA for Africa
Northern Lights

Hear 'n Aid was a one-time collaboration of various individual hard rock and heavy metal artists in 1985 to raise money for famine relief in Africa.[1] According to Ronnie James Dio's MySpace profile, the project raised $1 million within a year.


While attending a 48-hour charity Radiothon at the radio station KLOS, Dio members Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell noticed that representation from hard rock or heavy metal stars was low. In light of the success of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and USA for Africa's "We Are the World", they forwarded an idea to Ronnie James Dio, also attending the Radiothon, and together decided to create a similar project exclusively built around artists from the hard rock/heavy metal scene.[citation needed] Together the three co-wrote the song "Stars."

The song was recorded on May 20 and 21, 1985 at the A&M Records Studio in Hollywood, California. The project included contributions from Ted Nugent, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tommy Aldridge and members of Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Queensrÿche, Blue Öyster Cult, Vanilla Fudge, Y&T, Rough Cutt, Giuffria, Journey, W.A.S.P. and Night Ranger as well as the parody band Spinal Tap. Lead vocals were shared between Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Kevin DuBrow, Eric Bloom, Geoff Tate, Dave Meniketti, Don Dokken and Paul Shortino. Vivian Campbell, Carlos Cavazo, Buck Dharma, Brad Gillis, Craig Goldy, George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Ojeda, and Neal Schon all added guitar solos. Iron Maiden's Dave Murray and Adrian Smith were in the middle of their 'World Slavery Tour' at the time and flew in to attend the main session. A documentary was shot of the recording process and released simultaneously.

"Stars" was released in both 7" and 12" single versions. A video documentary, Hear 'n Aid - The Sessions, was also released in VHS and Video8 formats. The project also released a compilation album headed by "Stars", and also including live tracks by Kiss, Motörhead, Dio, Accept, Rush and Scorpions, as well as studio recordings by Y&T and Jimi Hendrix. The single peaked at #26 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1986.[2]

Dio had originally intended the song and album to be released shortly after its recording, but contractual issues with the different artists' record labels delayed the release until January 1, 1986, somewhat diminishing the impact of its release.

On 2 November 2011, Dio's widow Wendy announced that the song would be re-released. She told Rolling Stone: “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, I have loads of outtakes for the video”. In April 2015, Wendy Dio confirmed that a modern-day version of Hear 'n Aid was in the works to record a "new song" and released alongside the upcoming reissue of "Stars". She had stated that "legal stuff" was the cause of the reissue delay.[3]

Track list of Stars compilation album[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."Stars"Dio, V. Campbell, BainHear 'n Aid 
2."Up to the Limit (Live in Nagoya, Japan; 1985), from the Kaizoku-Ban EP"Hoffmann, Kaufmann, Baltes, Fischer, Dirkschneider, DeaffyAccept 
3."On the Road (Live at The Hammersmith Odeon, 1985), from The Birthday Party '85 video"Burston, Kilmister, P. Campbell, GillMotörhead 
4."Distant Early Warning (Live in Toronto, 1984), from the Grace Under Pressure Tour video"Lifeson, Lee, PeartRush 
5."Heaven's on Fire (Live in Detroit 1984), from the Animalize Live Uncensored video"Stanley, ChildKiss 
6."Can You See Me"HendrixThe Jimi Hendrix Experience 
7."Hungry for Heaven (Live in Philadelphia 1985), never released elsewhere"Dio, BainDio 
8."Go for the Throat"Meniketti, Alves, Kennemore, HazeY&T 
9."The Zoo (Live in 1984), taken from World Wide Live"Schenker, MeineScorpions 


Sequel project[edit]

There was a second planned song to benefit a charity that Dio was involved with for years (Children of the Night), that benefited runaway children. This was to be a song called "Throw Away Children". However, due to various reasons the project never materialized, and the song ended up appearing on the 2002 Dio album, Killing the Dragon.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 416. CN 5585.
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 248. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Modern-day version of Eighties Metal All-Star Project Hear n' Aid to Record new Songfor Charity". blabbermouth.com. April 5, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.

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