Heart — what happened?
I don’t mean what happened to Ann Wilson. She spent her whole life battling a weight problem and fat jokes are totally fourth grade. At any size, she’s still a better singer than Whitney Celine Carey.
No, I mean what happened to one of the great pure rock acts of the ’70s?
With tracks like “Sing Child,” “Crazy On You,” “Kick It Out,” and “Little Queen,” (that’s tonight’s pick) Ann and Nancy Wilson played straight-to-the-bone, balls-out rock and roll. Hell, most bands would be happy to produce in their entire careers, just as many knock-out tracks as Heart put on Dreamboat Annie alone. It’s that good.
“Barracuda” all by itself is worth more than seventeen Whitesnakes, with or without Tawny Kitaen in the videos.* And no offense to Liz Phair, but Heart was singing about blow jobs before Liz was even in middle school.
But that was the mid-to-late ’70s.
In 1982, after some personnel changes and firing their producer, Heart released Private Audition to absolutely no acclaim whatsoever. I remember there was a minor hit off the album, but looking at the track list I can’t for the life of me remember which song it might have been.
From there, things got really bad. I know Heart sold a jillion copies in 1985, but the music was dreck. Most great rock bands would have reached their creative nadir with “What About Love” and then mercifully called it quits. But then the Wilsons had to go and record “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” in 1990. I was working mornings at KXGO when that stinker hit the airwaves, and we had to play the hell out of it. I’ll never forgive Heart for that.
Maybe what happened was, they learned how to make radio hits but forgot how to make rock’n'roll.
I understand Ann & Nancy made second and third comebacks in the ’90s and the Naughts, but I haven’t bothered to pick up any of the new stuff. Instead, when I need a fix of the Wilson sisters, I find some concert footage like this YouTube clip and headbang in my office where nobody can see.
*I’m kidding, Tawny. Please come back.