By Hilary Gridley
On April 1, Rhino Records will release Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life, a compilation album featuring songs by heavy metal superstar Ronnie James Dio covered by his famous friends and admirers.
The compilation will benefit the Dio Cancer Fund, which was founded by Dio’s wife, Wendy, and Sandeep Kapoor, M.D after the famed rocker lost his battle with stomach cancer three years ago.
Through the charity, Dio’s fans came together to ensure his memory would continue to have a positive impact on the world by donating thousands of dollars to cancer research in his name.
Artists on the compilation include Metallica, Scorpions, Anthrax, Halestorm and Tenacious D, who perform Dio’s famed tracks including “The Temple of the King,” “Neon Knights,” “Straight Through The Heart” and “The Last In Line.”
“Dio was the master,” Jack Black of Tenacious D tells Music for Good. “He was the Pavarotti of heavy metal vocalists. [He had] soaring melodies and a lion’s roar to match. He was also one of the coolest guys I’ve ever had the honor of meeting. No one could touch his brilliance…on or off the stage.”
“It’s hard not to pick a great Dio track…but this one appealed to us,” says Kyle Gass of “The Last In Line,” the track that he and Black chose for Tenacious D to record. “Recording the track was a blast. Our electric guitarist, John Konesky, shredded a solo. I said, ‘That’s pretty good, but let’s try out my recorder.’ Lo and behold it shredded even more and added a unique element to the track.”
Gass added that Dio had a tremendous impact on his band, and that the cameo the legendary rocker made in Tenacious D’s musical comedy film The Pick of Destiny was a dream come true for the band. “Dio obviously has been a major influence and inspiration for the D,” Gass says. “His performance in The Pick of Destiny was a magical moment for us, and we’ll always miss him. Rock on, Dio.”
The Dio Cancer Fund held the first listening party for the album on March 14 at the South by Southwest music festival. The event, which took place at the Bayou in Austin, featured a Dio trivia game in which attendees could win prizes while they listened to the tribute album for the first time. Fans reportedly had tears in their eyes after “This Is Your Life,” the closing track.
The Fund also recently held its third annual Awards Gala on March 17 at the Avalon in Hollywood, where awards were presented to thank those who have played a significant role in spreading awareness of the Fund’s important work. Honorees included Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Rhino Entertainment’s Kevin Gore.
The next listening party will take place during the Monsters of Rock cruise, which sets sail from Florida March 28.
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a 501C3 charity dedicated to cancer prevention, research and education that has already raised more than $700,000. The funds will all go toward the cancer research work of the T. J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, AIDS and Leukemia Research and the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated during the last six months of his life.
Tracklisting for Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life
1. “Neon Knights” – Anthrax*
2. “The Last In Line” – Tenacious D*
3. “The Mob Rules” – Adrenaline Mob
4. “Rainbow In The Dark” – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason
5. “Straight Through The Heart” – Halestorm*
6. “Starstruck” – Motörhead with Biff Byford*
7. “The Temple Of The King” – Scorpions*
8. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” – Doro
9. “Holy Diver” – Killswitch Engage
10. “Catch The Rainbow” – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott
11. “I” – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy*
12. “Man On The Silver Mountain” – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson,
13. “Ronnie Rising Medley (Featuring A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer, Kill
The King)” – Metallica*
14. “This Is Your Life” – Dio
* Previously unreleased