The one VHS tape I’m working on currently spans a period of recordings from about July 1986 to September 1987. This Hear N’ Aid special features a MuchMusic interview conducted by J.D. (John) Roberts. There’s lots of exclusive information in this valuable video, including a tidbit on bands who refused to be in the same project as Spinal Tap!
RECORD STORE TALES Part 215: Mono
Today, I was listening to some old-school Dio, and I had a thought. A sudden thought that I wanted to explore:
“My taste in music was 100% solidified by that month in 1986 that I had mono!”
Yeah! I think it’s true! I was sick at home for a month (at least) too tired to do anything except record videos on the Pepsi Power Hour! I was inundated with a steady intake of incredible songs, in many cases for the first time. And because I still have the old VHS tapes, I know exactly what’s on them. This brief but intense period of my life was rocked by this soundtrack, over and over again:
Dio – “Rock and Roll Children”
Lee Aaron – “Shake It Up”
ZZ Top – “Rough Boy”
Thor (Jon Mikl Thor) – “Keep the Dogs Away”
Triumph – “Never Surrender”
Loudness – “Let It Go”
Spinal Tap – “Hell Hole”, the theme song that my sister and I dedicated to our old Catholic grade school!
These songs were first impressed upon me during that period, the visuals always cool and intriguing to me. Especially Lee Aaron. Ahem. Anyway. I watched these videos over and over again. I recorded the audio (in mono) (…hah, I made a pun!) to a cassette so I could listen to them on my Walkman. This came in handy at the cottage. We didn’t have a VCR or cable there, so the only way to bring my songs was to tape them from the TV.
That one intense period of being stuck at home with nothing but heavy metal heroes might have made me the LeBrain I am today. I’m glad something good came out of it! I couldn’t even go swimming that entire summer!
HEAR N’ AID – Stars (1986 LP, Japanese CD)
It is hard to believe that this monumental album, a piece of rock history, was only issued on CD in Japan! Finding a domestic LP or cassette isn’t hard (I’ve owned it on all three formats including CD) so hunt your record shops. I know Wendy Dio has a CD/DVD reissue lined up, hopefully including the full album, single edit, and the video and interviews. If you’re reading this Wendy…
At the time, all funds went to starving people in Africa, hence the name Hear N’ Aid. The inspiration was something fairly obvious: No heavy metal people outside of Geddy Lee was involved in the numerous famine relief projects of the time! (Geddy sang a lead on the excellent “Tears Are Not Enough” (1985) by Northern Lights, but nobody metal could be seen in “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or “We Are the World”.)
“Oh, you knoooow that we’ll be there!”
Showing the world that heavy metal bands and fans aren’t a bunch of assholes, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell of Dio came up with the concept for Hear N’ Aid.
The main track, “Stars”, by Hear N’ Aid is a tour-de-force. Written by Bain, Campbell and Dio, this is essentially an epic extended track with a soft intro and heavy verses, and tons of guests. They assembled virtually every major metal singer who was willing and available to take part. That means you will hear Quiet Riot singers Kevin DuBrow and Paul Shortino (still with Ruff Cutt at the time) singing together for the first and only time in history! Rob Halford, Don Dokken, Eric Bloom, Geoff Tate, Dave Meniketti, and Dio himself all take lead vocal slots too.
When the guitar solo kicks in, prepared to be blown away. With Iron Maiden guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith playing backing harmonies, you will hear the monstrous talents of George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Vivian Campbell, Craig Goldy, Neal Schon, Buck Dharma, Carloz Cavazo, Brad Gillis and Eddie Ojeda all taking a few bars. No charity track had ever attempted to assemble not just singers, but guitar players, on one track before.
All this is backed by drummers, bassists and keyboard players from Dio and Quiet Riot. There are more backing singers than I can name, but most notably, Derek Smalls and David St. Hubbins from Spinal Tap. Of course.
The rest of the album is filled out by songs donated by bands who couldn’t take part in the song, but still wanted to help the starvation situation in Africa. Therefore you will get a live “Heaven’s On Fire” from Kiss, from their Animalize Live Uncensored home video. This is the only place that the audio track was released on. There is an unreleased live “Distant Early Warning” by Rush, and rare ones by Scorpions and Accept as well.
1.Hear ‘n Aid – “Stars”
2.Accept – “Up to the Limit” (live)
3.Motörhead – “On the Road” (live)
4.Rush – “Distant Early Warning” (live)
5.Kiss – “Heaven’s on Fire” (live)
6.Jimi Hendrix – “Can You See Me”
7.Dio – “Hungry for Heaven” (live)
8.Y&T – “Go for the Throat”
9.Scorpions – “The Zoo” (live)