Their hard-rocking history goes all the way back to 1963, formed by Steve Fosson and brothers Roger and Mike Fisher. They called themselves “Army,” then “White Heart,” before finally changing their name permanently to “Heart” in 1974. Anne became the girlfriend of lead guitarist Mike Fisher after joining the group, then Nancy joined and became involved with Fisher’s brother Roger.
In 1975, the group released the album Deamboat Annie, which sold 30,000 copies in Canada, 25,000 in the United States. At this time, Heart was doing most of their one-nighters in the Vancouver area. The two smash singles from this album, Crazy on You and Magic Man helped the album to eventually sell more than a million copies. Their second album release,and million seller in 1977, Little Queen, brought the hit Barracuda.
They continued to be a driving force in rock music on into 1978 with the double-platinum albums Magazine and Dog & Butterfly. During the sessions of Bebe Le Strange, the Fisher brothers left the group, and Roger Fisher formed his own band in the Seattle area. At this time, Nancy and Howard Lesse beefed up the guitar strength, and Nancy’s childhood friend, Sue Ennis helped out on song collaborations. The group then embarked on a 77-city tour to promote Bebe Le Strange before returning to the studio to begin work on Private Edition in 1982.
In 1985, their self-titled album Heart sold 5 million copies, much from the success of the singles What about love? These Dreams, which went to #1 in 1986, Never, and Nothin’ At All. Heart was more pop than hard-rock by this stage of their career. Nancy married journalist, and screenwriter Cameron Crowe in 1986, and made an appearence in his movie Fast TImes at Ridgemont High.
The 1987 album Bad Animals brought the hits Alone, and Who will you run to? Brigade in 1990 was Heart’s 6th double-platinum album and brought 3 more top 25 hits to their credit. I grew up with their 80’s stuff, which lead me to listen to their early albums like Dreamboat Annie, and Bebe Le Strange. I have always been a fan of many music types, hard rock, metal, country, easy listening, classical, etc. But, Heart at last combined two elements you don’t often hear: hard rock and great voices that could be angelic and smooth, or raw and powerful, depending on the song type. It was just refreshing to hear some pounding rock with a voice of an angel. But as sweet as Ann’s voice was on soft ballads like Dreamboat Annie and Dog & Butterfly, she could also belt out and rock with the best of them on tunes like Barracuda. Her voice is just an amazing gift.
Saving the best for last, here is my top 10 favorites of one of the greatest bands of all time:
The 4th release off the Heart LP, Nothin’ at all was one of the most popular of all the high-school songs I remember. It peaked at number 10 on the charts in 1985.
Dreamboat Annie is simply a beautiful ballad which originally appeared on the B-side to Crazy on You. It peaked at number 42 on the charts in 1976. Great arrangements of vocals and the music.
Cited by music critics as one of their greatest songs ever, Dog & Butterfly was the 2nd single off the album of the same name. Although it was a major favorite, it would only reach 34 on Billboards Top 100. Again, I like this one for the unusual musical arrangements and great vocals, it’s just a great song.
Who will you run to became the band’s eighth U.S. top-ten single, peaking at number seven. It also climbed to number thirty in the UK Singles Chart. It brings back many “big hair” memories. This one takes me back to high school days.
Crazy on You is a true classic with its incredible guitar intro, beginning softly then bursting into a hard-rock delight. “Despite its relatively low chart placing in 1976, “Crazy on You” remains as one of Heart’s signature tunes and is still a staple on U.S. classic rock radio stations. A part of the song was sampled by Eminem on his song Crazy in Love ; The song is also featured in the films The Virgin Suicides and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and will also be featured on the upcoming Playstation 2 title, Guitar Hero II. ” (Wikipedia)
Magic Man was written by Ann and Nancy, and was their first top-10 hit in the United States. It is another great Heart classic that continues to get a great deal of airplay too. Although I remember hearing this one a lot when I was a child, when I hear it now, I think of scenes from the Kirsten Dunst movie Virgin Suicides.
Love Alive is one of my favorites, although it was never released, and it was a product of the Wilson/Fisher Liasion off the Little Queen LP. It is a great example of their early hard rock work, combinations of awesome guitar riffs, and first-rate harmonies.
Even It Up, a great up-beat tune released in 1980, “was the only charting single released from Bebe Le Strange, peaking at number thirty-three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.” (Wikipedia)
Barracuda is one I love for the hard, fast guitar and Ann’s voice. She can sing a ballad and she can scream out powerful hard-rocking favorites like this one. I never get tired of hearing it, and I usually do hear it played at least once a week.
Straight On, is my favorite for the amazing harmony blend of their two great voices. Ann’s voice is so beautifully powerful, complimented so prefectly by Nancy’s. What can I say, except, I sure wish I could sing like that!
Last year, Heart appeared on the CMT Music Awards as Gretchen Wilson’s (no relation) special guest. She and Ann sung the classic Crazy on You. Heart continues to tour and make public appearences, you can catch them next in New Orleans, LA., on October 15, 2006, at the newly opened House of Blues. For more information, log on to: www.heart-music.com.