When guitarist Roger Fisher’s band of five years asked the multi-talented Ann Wilson to join the group, little could he guess that romance, relocation, and world-fame were just around the corner. Roger’s brother, Mike, was set to be drafted into the Vietnam war, and he promptly moved north to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Upon visiting Roger in Washington, Mike met Ann and the two quickly formed a romantic relationship. It was at this time that Ann moved with Mike to Vancouver. Roger and fellow band member Steve Fossen quickly followed, and the musical group re-formed as the band Heart in 1973. One year later, Ann’s equally-talented sister, Nancy, moved north and joined the group, becoming involved romantically with Roger. Recognized as Canadian artists, a status which helped them to grow in popularity across the country in a relatively short amount of time, the group soon had enough momentum to record their first album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1975. The album’s two singles, “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man” charted well, and the group’s fame spread into the United States. Ultimately, Dreamboat Annie would go on to sell over 1 million copies.
In 1977, Vietnam draft-dodgers were granted amnesty and permitted to return to the US, so the group relocated to Seattle, where their second official album, Little Queen, was released. Following the tremendous success of the single “Barracuda,” Ann and Nancy Wilson were pictured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, ensuring the band’s continued success and triple-platinum album sales. When Magazine was released in 1978, its hit “Heartless” helped the album to reach the top twenty and eventually go platinum. Later that year, Magazine was followed by the band’s fourth studio album, Dog and Butterfly. The singles “Dog and Butterfly” and “Straight On” pushed Magazine into double-platinum status, and while the song “Mistral Wind” did not become an official single, it has been a favorite at live shows for over 30 years. Following Heart’s burst onto the musical scene and a tour to promote the Dog and Butterfly album, the romances kindled between Mike Fisher and Ann Wilson, as well as that of Nancy and Roger, began to fade. Following the tour, both Mike and Roger left the band. Despite the loss of two members, the Wilson sisters carried Heart strongly into the release of their fifth album Bebe le Strange in 1980. The hits “Even it Up,” as well as a remake of “Tell it Like it Is,” ushered the album into the top ten and reached gold status in sales. With five albums under their belt, a greatest hits album was in order. Greatest Hits Live was released as a double-album in 1980, reaching double-platinum status, charting at #12 in the US, and continuing to chart well into 1981.
With the release of their greatest hits came the oft-seen curse in the music industry, and Heart’s fame began to decline. Private Audition (1982) was the sixth studio album for the Wilson sisters, and unlike the first five albums, this record varied in style dramatically. While the album still had a Top 40 hit with the song “This Man is Mine,” the album did not reach gold status. Their seventh effort, Passionworks, saw a similar fate in 1983. The album’s hit “How Can I Refuse” made the Top 50, but like its predecessor, the album did not see the monumental success of the first five albums. Not to be deterred however, Ann contributed the song “Almost Paradise” for the soundtrack of the film Footloose in 1984, helping to keep the band fresh in the minds of fans around the world.
Newly signed under Capitol Records in 1985, Heart’s eighth album was self-titled, and is the band’s most successful album. The hits “What About Love,” “Never,” “Nothin’ At All,” and “If Looks Could Kill” all charted, but it was the song “These Dreams” which charted at #1 in 1986. With such a staggering list of charting hits, it can be of little wonder that the Heart album reached platinum 5 times in the US, and 6 times in Canada. Riding the wave of success, Heart then released Bad Animals in 1987. The hit “Alone” charted at #1, while “Who Will You Run To,” “There’s the Girl,” and “I Want You So Bad” also did well, ensuring multi-platinum sales for the band once more. With the release of their tenth studio album, Brigade (1990), Heart rounded out a five-year success streak, selling multi-platinum once again. The album produced more chart-topping singles with “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You,” “Stranded,” and “I Didn’t Want to Need You.” Following such a long run together, a break was in order, allowing the Wilson sisters to pursue other dreams, both musically and personally.
Taking a break from Heart, the Wilsons formed The Lovemongers in the early 1990s, releasing a remake of “Crazy on You,” as well as a remake of Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore.” The group eventually released an album titled Whirlygig in 1997. Once again under the name Heart, the Wilson sisters ushered in the release of Desire Walks On in 1993, complete with two hits: “Black on Black II” and “Will You Be There (In the Morning).” Two years later, Nancy decided to take a break from the band in order to focus on raising a family with her husband, Cameron Crowe. During this time, Ann toured with a group under the name The Ann Wilson Band, however Nancy would join her sister for shows on occasion, at which time the group was once again billed as Heart. This trend continued through 1998, with Ann touring as Ann Wilson and Heart, while Nancy continued to focus on life with her husband, involved musically in creating songs for his films Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Elizabethtown and Vanilla Sky.
After touring off and on as Heart during the early parts of the new millennium, the Wilson sisters released their 12th studio album, Jupiter’s Darling, in 2004—their first studio album in over a decade. While many of the songs borrow from the original sounds made famous by the band, several songs have a more modern pop-music vibe which has helped the band to remain popular with old and new fans alike. In addition to receiving numerous recognitions and honors within the rock world, Heart has continued to stay current by releasing songs such as “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda” through the Guitar Hero video game series, as well as through guest appearances on programs such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and American Idol’s Idol Gives Back. 2010 brought the release of Heart’s 13th album, Red Velvet Car, which debuted at #10 on the Billboard charts—the highest debut ever for the band. The album’s singles “WTF” and “Hey You” both charted well. With the release of the band’s 14th studio album, Fanatic, in October 2012, Heart has proved that even after 37 years, a good band still knows how to rock.
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