Two sisters from Seattle, Washington wanted to make a profound musical statement that would change the perception of how women had been viewed when it came to the Rock N’ Roll genre forever. This sister duo we’re discussing are none other than Ann and Nancy Wilson who along with other musicians formed what would be considered one of the greatest bands ever, they called themselves “Heart.” The band formed back in 1970, but actually they had been a band starting back in the late 1960’s. Just from my own personal perspective, people had not witnessed such passionate, vocals combined with rhythmic creativity note for note where you could hear guitars driving these intense melodic sounds that engaged your spirit and made you believe they were in fact taking you on a journey somewhere. I always came under the impression these ladies did not just sing plain ole love songs, you could feel both Ann and Nancy using their voices and music as a vehicle to prove women had the ability to rock too.
Heart found commercial and mainstream success in the mid to late 1970’s. A song that blew me away had to be “Barracuda” from their third studio album in 1977 titled Little Queen. The song made it to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. I remember those driving guitar chords along with Ann Wilson’s impressive high voice belting out those notes with such confidence. Her vocal power when she sang the lyrics in a tone commanded your attention. A real gift to all who listened and heard both Ann and Nancy’s beautiful harmonies. Nancy is still an extremely talented guitar player and vocalist and she also plays piano too. Ann is still moving everyone with her iconic signature voice.
“Magic Man” was from the band’s debut studio album called Dreamboat Annie in 1975. It went on to become the band’s first top 10 hit reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 6th, 1976. It featured such phenomenal lead guitar playing. Let me explain why you know a song is going to be not only good but great. It’s based a lot on the first note of the song being played perfectly. Ann’s voice was in perfect sync with what Heart’s guitar player was playing. Keyboards were a huge part of the song’s success adding a different element to its rhythmic formula.
“Crazy on You” is another memorable tune which was from Dreamboat Annie and the song was released in March of 1976. It made it to the top 25 in Canada and top 35 in the U.S. This heavily showcased Nancy Wilson’s gifted hands on the guitar which gave both listeners and viewers of the live performance an example of how skilled of a guitar player/musician she was in every sense of the word. Those chords on the intro where she played the acoustic guitar were nothing short then sensational. Nancy started it out incredibly. I would describe it as a great display of creativity in how she approached playing that song.
Ann and Nancy Wilson solidified themselves by showing the public that Heart was not your average one-dimensional type of band. They were a force to be reckoned with. These ladies could bring a versatile yet deeper component to their musical presentation. The Wilson sisters became trailblazers and true pioneers who influenced and inspired future generations of women and men artists alike. Ann and Nancy set out with a very clear message – Women can rock as good as the men can and even do it better. Heart recreated a sound for many found so refreshing with a musical style the band had made its own.
Heart continued to generate other incredible masterpieces of music during the 1980’s up until the early 1990’s. The band would continue to release music throughout the rest of the 90’s into the 2000’s and finished up with a reunion tour called the Love Alive Tour in 2019. Heart earned four Grammy nominations and then they were officially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Heart will always be one of my all-time favorite bands.
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