Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Heart

Album:The Essential Heart

After success in the late 70s, Heart faded due to personnel changes but a label switch and a new producer reinvigorated them in the late 80s. Alone was one of their two number one hits. Heart is led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. They grew up in California while their dad was in the Marine Corps. The family moved to Seattle when he retired. Meanwhile guitarist Roger Fisher and bassist Steve Fossen had a band in Seattle known as White Heart in 1970. When Ann Wilson joined in 1972, they were called Hocus Pocus. Roger's brother Mike Fisher moved to Vancouver, BC to avoid the draft. Ann had fallen in love with him and went with him. The rest of the band followed and they changed their name to Heart. Nancy Wilson joined in 1974 and fell in love with Roger Fisher. Other members were John Hannah on keyboards and Brian Johnstone on drums. After playing around Vancouver, Hannah left and was replaced by Howard Leese. A demo got Heart a record deal with the small Canadian label Mushroom. Their 1977 debut album Dreamboat Annie did well in Canada with the hit singles Crazy On You and Magic Man. At the time, Heart was considered to be Canadian content though none of them were Canadian citizens. Heart left Mushroom for the Columbia label Portrait. Mushroom sued them but it doesn't look like anything came from that. They also returned to the US. They had a big hit with Barracuda in 1977. Then the Wilson sisters split up with the Fisher brothers in 1979. So by the early 80s, Heart were in trouble and Portrait dropped them. They regrouped and brought in former Spirit bassist Mark Andes and Montrose drummer Danny Carmassi. They signed with Capitol and Ron Nevison was brought in to produce. Nevison is a recording engineer who in the 80s was known for reviving dying bands. He did that for Starship, Chicago and he also did it for Heart. Heart had four top ten hits from their 1985 Capitol debut album. These Dreams was their first number one hit. The 1987 album Bad Animals was just as successful. Alone topped the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by the team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg who wrote several hits together including True Colors for Cyndi Lauper and So Emotional for Whitney Houston. They recorded alone as i-Ten in 1983 and then John Stamos performed it in the 1984 sitcom Dreams. Heart continued to have success through the 80s. But they were burned out in the early 90s and the Wilson sisters formed the side project The Lovemongers. Heart didn't do much in the 90s. Nancy took a break to raise her family and compose music for the films of her husband Cameron Crowe. Heart toured without her in the late 90s. The group has returned in recent years and the 2010 CD Red Velvet Car did very well on the Billboard Hot 200. This 2CD Sony comp covers Heart's Mushroom, Portrait and Capitol recordings. Sony just released an elaborate box set and Heart is on tour to promote it. They have been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and they should get in next year or the year after. The Wilson sisters have earned that honour. Here's the video for Alone by Heart.

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