Photo from the back of the We’re Stars album

Dateline 1985. Rallied by Ronnie James Dio, some of heavy metal’s biggest names gathered to create the rock answer to “We Are The World”.

I’d been buying every magazine I could find, poring over the details of metal’s who’s-who charity song, which followed on the heels of “We Are The World.” Six months passed before it would air (the record labels reportedly argued about clearances) but when it did, on January 1, 1986, I had BOTH of my family’s VHS recorders recording The Making Of Stars and the world-premiere video.

I watched it no less than 62 times in 24 hours.

Written by Dio and then-bandmates Jimmy Bain and Viv Campbell, “We’re Stars” contained some decidedly Dio lines (“We can be strong. We are fire and stone. We all want to touch a rainbow.”). Whereas other charity songs focused on, you know, the problem at hand, this song’s hook centered around the participants. The chorus goes:

We’re Stars.
We’re Stars.
We’re Stars.
We’re Stars.

Nevertheless, it raised a million bucks and featured an all-star cast of the metal scene, including members of Judas Priest, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Queensrÿche, Blue Öyster Cult, and Spinal Tap.

Nobody knew what they’d look like over 20 years later.

The unedited version contains perhaps the sickest guitar solo in metal history, with licks by Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, Brad Gillis, Neal Schon, Vivian Campbell and Craig Goldy (among others).

Behold.

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