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Ronnie James Dio tribute song born out of COVID-19 pandemic

Ronnie James Dio performs on stage with Heaven and Hell during their Heaven and Hell 2007 tour at Rod Laver Arena on August 10, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

SYRACUSE, New York - It's been over 10 years since the passing of legendary frontman Ronnie James Dio, but his influence is still being felt.

And the COVID-19 pandemic that pretty much crippled the entertainment industry in 2020, including the cancellation of several concerts and events to honor the anniversary of his passing from stomach cancer in 2010, couldn't stop rock and roll.

Vocalist Terry LeRoi, a lifelong Dio fan, used the pandemic as the perfect time to pay tribute to his rock and roll hero in the form a a charity single featuring a lineup of some of best musicians in the business.

"This was a collaboration born out of COVID-19," LeRoi said during a recent interview. "We played a show in November for Wendy Dio at the Whiskey a Go Go (in Los Angeles) and we were going to make some appearances on some Ronnie James Dio events to commemorate the 10th year of his passing. But when COVID hit, everything shut down. Since we couldn't tour or do any of those events and I was still in Ronnie James Dio mode, I really wanted to do something for Dio's cancer foundation. So I said we should record a song."

The song in question is "Stand Up and Shout" - the lead-off track from Dio’s debut solo album, Holy Diver, from 1983.

"I got a hold of my good friend (producer) David Bendeth, who I've worked with the past couple of years, and I said we should record my favorite Dio track 'Stand Up and Shout,' he said "I wanted to donate the proceeds to the foundation and David was all for it. Then I said that we needed an all-star lineup to play on this track. The choice for the song was easy because not only is it one of my favorite songs to sing, but it is the namesake title of the charity The Ronnie James Dio ‘Stand Up and Shout’ Cancer Fund.”

That all-star lineup for the supergroup LEROI XIII features guitarists Troy McLawhorn (Evanescence) and Sammy Boller, bassist Aaron Pauley (Of Mice and Men), and drummer Will Hunt (Evanescence).

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And Terry said the single was record "COVID-style" with everyone recording in their home studios or nearby studios and sent the tracks to David to work his mastery and piece together the finished product.

"We used the power of the internet to get this song done," he said.

LeRoi is no stranger to "Stand Up and Shout." He, along with his band Granny 4 Barrell, performed the song in November 2019 in front of Dio's widow, Wendy Dio, who came in for the show.

"That was The Ultimate Jam “Spinal Tap” night," LeRoi said. “There were about 100 musicians there and my band Granny 4 Barrel was the direct support and we performed Stand Up and Shout for Wendy. She loved the song. It was a great evening."

A few days later, Wendy contacted us and asked us to perform at the Ride for Ronnie event in May 2020, but COVID-19 canceled that event, which led to LeRoi XIII’s tribute single.

And Terry said he felt some pressure to do the song justice and give Wendy and Dio's fans something to be proud of.

"Dio songs are not easy to sing I can tell you that," LeRoi said. "Ronnie is the No. 1 influence on me as a vocalist. Thankfully, the song is in my wheel house. You try to do your best to emulate Ronnie and stay true to the song. And the song has a so much meaning because of the foundation, but also the song's meaning of empowerment and to be true to yourself. This is an experience I'll remember forever."

Terry said 100% of the money raised will go to Ronnie's "Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund." CLICK HERE for more information on the foundation.