“I wouldn't say we're all that clean. I mean, we're as clean as anybody, but how clean is anybody? We sort of stand for everybody's sexuality, not just freaks.”
With over thirty million albums sold worldwide, Heart is a band that has staying power. Since the seventies they have brought us several lineup changes, genres of rock and hits. Just when you think you have heard the last of them, they come back ready for more.
With their Marine Corps father, Ann and Nancy Wilson moved around. They grew up in both Taiwan and southern California before their father retired and moved into the Seattle suburbs. Ann, being the older sister, graduated high school first and quickly joined a band. Her band mate of Hocus Pocus, Roger Fisher introduced her to his brother Mike. Ann and Mike immediately fell in love and ended up moving to Canada.
While all of this was going on, younger sister Nancy continued on in high school. She graduated and went on to college where she majored in German literature and art. She did not finish college. She worked on her solo career until 1974 when she quit college and moved to Canada to join her sister’s band Heart.
Their first album, Dreamboat Annie helped them to get the attention of Mushroom Records. They were a new label based in Vancouver. From that album they released their first two singles, Crazy on You and Magic Man. Both were top forty hits and sold thirty thousand in Canada and twenty five thousand in the United States. Eventually the album went on to sell over a million copies.
In 1977, Heart came to the United States. It was around this time that they had broken their deal with Mushroom Records and went on to Portrait, a subsidiary of CBS. This caused them legal woes and caused the production of their album Magazine to go on unwanted. Little Queen was released shortly after the unwanted Magazine by Portrait. With Little Queen came Barracuda, and their second album that sold a million copies.
At the time of their success, Nancy and Roger were dating as were Ann and Mike. In 1979 Roger had a breakdown on stage and throwing his guitar at Nancy backstage. Right around this time Mike left Ann for another woman. They proved that they didn’t need Roger or Mike and continued to be successful.
Nancy picked up the slack that was left on the guitar end. She also invited her childhood friend to help them out with song collaborations. In 1980, they released Bebe le Strange, it became their second top ten hit. They were able to get two hit singles with this album. Their remake of the ballad Tell it Like it Is became their highest charted single at that time.
After two of their albums failed to go gold, they found themselves at a crossroads. In 1984, Ann and Mike Reno performed a duet, Almost Paradise that ended up on the Footloose soundtrack. This song made it to #7 on the pop charts.
In 1985, they released their first album for Capitol Records entitled Heart. With this album they found great success, they sold over five million copies and had four hit singles. At this point they had abandoned their old rock roots for a pop, radio friendly sound.
They released another album in 1987 Bad Animals gave them the huge single Alone. Ann had begun to gain wait, much to the chagrin of the record company and the band. More attention was put to Nancy during video shoots. Nevertheless, Ann and the lead singer of Cheap Trick came out with a duet entitled Surrender to Me. This song went to #6 on the charts. In 1990 Heart released their sixth multi platinum album entitled Brigade.
In the 1990s, the Wilson sisters found themselves doing their own separate things. Ann had many collaborations and had put together an informal acoustic group. They had released a full length album that included covers from Led Zeppelin.
In 1995, Nancy took a break from music to raise a family with her husband, director and screenwriter Cameron Crowe. She later scored her husband’s movies and composed produced songs for them as well. Ann continued to tour and make music during this time.
Then, in 2002, they reunited with yet another new line up. In 2003 they released their tour DVD that became critically acclaimed, entitled Alive in Seattle.
Most recently, they make public appearances and perform their classic hits such as Barracuda and Crazy on You. In the summer of 2009 they were the special guests of Journey during their tour. They played 15 dates and later headlined a series of shows with The Bangles.
Did you know that...
- ...Heart was originally an all male band named Army
- ...Mike Fisher lived in Canada because he was a draft dodger
- ...the song Barracuda was written by Ann in frustration over the allegations that she and her sister were sex partners
- ...the band Ann was originally in, Hocus Pocus eventually became Heart