RONNIE JAMES DIO is one of the most beloved figures in rock history. His gifts, both as a singer and songwriter, are instantly recognizable, whether he was with RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, or leading DIO. Sadly, Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer in 2010 but his towering voice and legacy live on.
To celebrate one of rock’s most powerful voices, an all-star group of his friends and fans recorded 13 of their favorite tracks for a tribute album that will raise funds for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (diocancerfund.org). Produced by his longtime manager and wife Wendy Dio, the album includes contributions by such metal heavyweights as METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD, SCORPIONS, ANTHRAX, and ROB HALFORD, as well as appearances by many of the musicians who performed with Dio over the years.
“This Is Your Life” will be available from Rhino on April 1st. A digital version will also be available.
Although the songs featured on the album touch on the different eras of Dio’s career, several spotlight his time with Rainbow, including Metallica’s epic, nine-minute ‘Ronnie Rising Medley’, which combines the Rainbow songs ‘A Light In The Black’, ‘Tarot Woman’, ‘Stargazer’, and ‘Kill The King’. Scorpions add a scorching take on ‘The Temple Of The King’ while Motörhead is joined by Biff Byford from SAXON on ‘Starstruck’. Rob Halford teams with frequent Dio collaborators Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, and Scott Warren for ‘The Man On The Silver Mountain’. The final lineup of Dio’s solo band – Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren – are joined by GLENN HUGHES (DEEP PURPLE, Black Sabbath) for ‘Catch The Rainbow’, a track from Rainbow’s 1975 debut.
Anthrax and ADRENALINE MOB honor Dio’s memorable stint with Black Sabbath with their takes on ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘The Mob Rules’ respectively, as does a group, led by Oni Logan on vocals along with Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, and Brian Tichy, which performs ‘I’ from Dehumanizer.
This Is Your LIfe also includes songs from Dio’s back-to-back platinum albums Holy Diver (1983) and The Last In Line (1984), with DORO’s take on ‘Egypt (The Chains Are On)’, HALESTORM tackling ‘Straight Through The Heart’, COREY TAYLOR (STONE SOUR, SLIPKNOT) covering the classic ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ and TENACIOUS D (Jack Black and Kyle Glass) putting their signature spin on ‘The Last In Line’. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE’s cover of ‘Holy Diver’, a hit in its own right when released in 2006, is also included here.
Fittingly, Ronnie James Dio provides the finale (and the album’s title) with his moving performance of ‘This Is Your Life’. Originally released on Angry Machines (1996), the song’s lyrics explore mortality and are backed by a stark and beautiful arrangement that features Dio accompanied only by his longtime keyboardist Scott Warren on piano. The song serves as a poignant reminder that we will never hear a voice like Dio’s again.
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, co-founded by Wendy Dio, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable fund dedicated to supporting cancer-prevention research, raising awareness and educating the public about the vital importance of early detection and prevention when dealing with this deadly disease.
This Is Your Life tracklisting:
‘Neon Knights’ – ANTHRAX*
‘The Last In Line’ – TENACIOUS D*
‘The Mob Rules’ – ADRENALINE MOB
‘Rainbow In The Dark’ – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher*
‘Straight Through The Heart’ – HALESTORM*
‘Starstruck’ – MOTÖRHEAD with Biff Byford*
‘The Temple Of The King’ – SCORPIONS*
‘Egypt (The Chains Are On)’ – DORO
‘Holy Diver’ – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
‘Catch The Rainbow’ – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren*
‘I’ – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy*
‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren*
Ronnie Rising Medley (Featuring ‘A Light In The Black’, ‘Tarot Woman’, ‘Stargazer’, ‘Kill The King’) – METALLICA*
‘This Is Your Life’ – DIO
* Previously unreleased
A message from Metallica states: “Throughout the years we’ve made no secret of our deep love and admiration for Ronnie James Dio. Whether it was with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell or Dio, his powerful voice was instantly recognizable and his music inspired and influenced the four of us tremendously. When we were asked to be a part of a tribute album for Ronnie, of course we immediately said “fuck yeah!” Choosing a song to record, however, was a MUCH harder decision… so we did four!”
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a privately funded 501(c)(3) charity organization which has already raised more than $600,000 in its short history. Monies raised to date have been committed to 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 for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life.