Long before their era of lousy, stone washed power balladry, the sisterly duo of Ann and Nancy Wilson–A/K/A Heart–were nothing short of majestic in their heaviness.
At least to my older brother and me.
Cassette copies of Little Queen and Dreamboat Annie in all their newfangled, j-card cased glory were brought on the annual family vacation to Wildwood, NJ, in the summer of ’77 by my brother and jammed from his crapola boom box nightly. The thunder of “Sing Child” and “Kick it Out” shot out into the dense black ocean night from the porch of our bungalow. My brother swung from the porch swing and stared into oblivion. I merely nodded along to the tunes feeling elated just to be a part of the harmless proceedings.
The impact Heart had on me in my toddler years more or less evaporated until somewhere in my late 20s when I found myself in complete shitsville. I was living a Chris Peterson-esque lifestyle above some old bag’s garage in my hometown after traipsing back and forth around the country like some stinking hobo. Dollar vinyl copies of the above mentioned titles were found and initially purchased for a giggle. Although I was way beyond poor, I felt I could still afford such luxuries.
– The Year of the Woman
– VH1’s Rock Honors: A Running Diary
While I puffed on low grade weed and planned absolutely no moves to get out of the rut I had gladly and clumsily dug myself into, these records managed to be both nostalgic and revelatory. As just a young snot, I didn’t have the ears to comprehend the desperation in the song cycle of Dreamboat Annie nor the brain power to fathom the sheer audacity it took to propel such guttural femininity in the world of the cock rock ’70s.
Like many rockers of the era unsure of their future, the Wilson sisters were sadly swayed into the realm of ’80 schlock, forever tarnishing their reputation. But it seems 2012 might be the year Heart gets remembered for being the groundbreakers they are rather than the cheese balls they’re known as to anyone born after Reagan took office.
Earlier this year we saw the release of the Strange Euphoria box set which lays out their entire career from the demos of their monster hits of the ’70s to the present day and the recently released memoirs of the sisters entitled Kicking and Dreaming is yet another volley to their validity as pioneers in the dude driven rock world. And yesterday saw the release of Fanatic, the group’s fourteenth studio album which contains a fistful of tracks just as heavy and emotional as any of the tracks found on those classic full lengths. Hopefully the set list for the show tonight at the Beacon will follow the trajectory of the clips below and give some rest to the stuff like These Dreams and Alone. One can only hope.
The title track from Heart’s newest is heavy ‘n’ slinky, no?
Possibly the greatest track in their repertoire. Why some DJ asshole hasn’t used the flute breakdown in this song for a break is lost on me. I guess it’s for the best.
At first, you’d just take this is as Heart’s attempt at re-writing ‘When the Levee Breaks,” but halfway through it begins to float like a marshmallow in a cup full of codeine. Very ‘nod’ worthy.
“White Lightening and Wine”
That classic sly Heart groove permeates throughout this whole track. Feathered earrings are optional whilst listening to it. Bonus: Cowbell
“Kick it Out”
A short ‘n’ potent rager.
“I’ve got the Music in Me”
A kick ass take on a very lame ass song.