It’s time for the next installment in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame series, wherein I look back at each year’s class of inductees. The next seven posts will cover the Rock Hall Class of 2013.
Our first performer, alphabetically, is Heart. The band, fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, first became eligible for Hall of Fame consideration in 2002 but weren’t nominated until 2012. They missed the cut on that ballot but made it a year later.
Though they are by far the best-known members of Heart, the Wilson sisters actually didn’t join the band until the early 70s, several years after the band’s formation. Heart also wasn’t always called Heart, having started as The Army and spending time as Hocus Pocus and White Heart before settling on its final moniker.
Incidentally, whenever I read about former band names, I always think about the scene in This is Spinal Tap when the band reveals that they were first called The Originals until they realized there was another English band with that name.
Heart released a series of platinum and multi-platinum albums in the 70s, buoyed by hits ‘Magic Man,’ ‘Barracuda’ and ”Straight On.’ They then hit a lull in the early 80s and ended up kicking a couple of members out of the band. That would become something of a trend — Heart has had 39 members over the course of its 55-year lifespan, with only Ann and Nancy still around from the group’s early days.
Heart found its biggest success in 1985, when their first effort on a new contract with Capitol Records became their only #1 album. The self-titled release featured four top ten hits (‘What About Love,’ ‘Never,’ ‘Nothin’ at All’ and #1 smash ‘These Dreams’). They scored another #1 with ‘Alone’ on follow-up Bad Animals.
That arena rock style didn’t have much of a shelf life, however, and the band saw declining success for albums released in the 90s, 00s and 2010s.
I’d say Heart is a worthy inclusion in the Rock Hall due to their perseverance and popularity across multiple decades and the groundbreaking nature of a hard rock band fronted by two women.
So this ain’t the end, I saw you again today
I had to turn my heart away
Smile like the sun, kisses for everyone
And tales, it never fails
You lying so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me
You’d have me down, down, down, down on my knees
Now wouldn’t you, Barracuda? Oh
Back over time, we were all trying for free
You met the porpoise and me, uh-huh
No right, no wrong, selling a song, a name
And if the real thing don’t do the trick
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn to the wick
Ooh, Barracuda, oh, yeah
“Sell me, sell you,” the porpoise said
Dive down deep now to save my head
You, I think that you got the blues, too
All that night and all the next
Swam without looking back
Made for the western pools, silly, silly fools
The real thing don’t do the trick, no?
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn it to the wick
Oh, Barra-Barracuda, yeah
There are very few women, let alone woman led bands, that populated the classic rock airwaves. Heart absolutely belongs in the Rock Hall, and I would argue they belong there even if they had not found commercial success in the 80s.
I’m fascinated to learn that Ann and Nancy aren’t the originators of Heart! If memory serves, one of them was in a relationship with Cameron Crowe and that provided additional inspiration for his film Almost Famous. Or was that some fever dream I had?
Listening to “These Dreams” and “What About Love” during my high school years was empowering. I hear those songs and immediately back there. Thanks for the history lesson and the trip down memory lane.
Indeed, Cameron Crowe was married to Nancy Wilson for 24 years (they divorced in 2010).