Dio – Sacred Heart (1985, Vertigo Records – West German Import)
1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:49
2. “Sacred Heart” … 6:27
3. “Another Lie” .. 3:48
4. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” … 4:32
5. “Hungry for Heaven” … 4:10
6. “Like the Beat of a Heart” … 4:24
7. “Just Another Day” … 3:23
8. “Fallen Angels” … 3:55
9. “Shoot Shoot” … 4:20
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards
Producer: Ronnie James Dio
Alright! I own a Cold War-era import! I’m guessing the U.S. pressing (where it was released on Warner Bros.) is out of print? Doesn’t matter, owning imports gives you an extra bit of credibility and cool and this is one of the last few Dio album I needed to acquire to make my collection complete.
I’ve read a lot about this album not stacking up to Holy Diver or The Last in Line and that may be true but it doesn’t make Sacred Heart anything to stick your nose up at! In fact, this is pretty good stuff. It’s Dio! How can you go wrong? Just his voice alone makes his albums worth the price of admission and sure he’s criticized for using the same themes over and over again but honestly — what’s wrong with angels, dragons, rock ‘n’ roll and evil women? I’ve listened to this album 4 or 5 times in full since buying it and I haven’t gotten tired of it.
There are a few keyboard-heavy commercial efforts here. Seems a if Dio was trying to replicate “Rainbow in the Dark” with songs like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” and “Hungry for Heaven” but that’s okay because I happen to like the songs. They’d be better though without the keyboards and that goes especially for “Hungry for Heaven” which is a catchy rocker but it totally loses its balls when the keys come in.
Dio’s first two albums went platinum and this one only went gold (500,000 copies sold). None of his albums have been certified gold or platinum since. If this is the beginning of any popularity “downfall” for Dio there’s still more than a few good notes here for him to go out on. Quality certainly isn’t the issue as far as I’m concerned. Sacred Heart is a solid release in a long history of them from Dio.
In addition to being Dio’s last flirt with mainstream success, this was guitarist Vivian Campbell’s last album in the group. Vivian joined Whitesnake in 1987 and has enjoyed a cushy job in Def Leppard since 1992.
“Shoot Shoot” is often cited as one of Dio’s worst songs but I don’t see it that way. It’s not great and the lyrics are silly but I don’t think the song is terrible. I guess I’m just not that hard to please when it comes to Dio.
Highlights: “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Another Lie”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”, “Hungry for Heaven”