Still Cooking with Fire After All These Years

 

Happy Birthday to Ann Wilson of Heart, born 19 June 1950. She and her younger sister, Nancy, are the heart of Heart, a band that burst onto the world stage from the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1970s. They were part of the soundtrack of my youth. Wait a minute. 2019-1950= . . . 69. That just can’t be right.

Ann Wilson was the distinctive lead vocalist, while Nancy provided great harmony and kicking guitar licks. Their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, was released in America our bicentennial year, with “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” propelling them up the radio play charts. They struck while the iron was hot, releasing Little Queen in 1977 and Dog & Butterfly in 1978. These women did their own thing, playing neither the tough girl nor the pop tart. They did not need an image manager, as they actually had musical and songwriting talent.

Here is the title track from their first album, performed live on BBC’s music television series The Old Grey Whistle Test:

Here are the Wilson sisters, acoustic, no backup, singing their third album’s title song “Dog & Butterfly” live to a Seattle hometown crowd.

Just to make clear that this was a band with actual vocal chops, watch the back stage banter and harmonizing on two 1960s songs, followed by them live on stage, with Nancy’s long acoustic intro winding up the audience to launch into “Crazy on You.”

All of which brings us back around to “hot.” A hot band, led by hot chicks, was naturally “Cooking with Fire:”

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There are 25 comments.

  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Well, we’re back to “hot” themed music, playing off the June group writing theme, “Hot Stuff!” I was writing about Ann Wilson and Heart, when I realized I had a retro-opening on our monthly dance card, so I put a little extra spin onto the post. We still have plenty of open days as the summer season starts. Please stop by and sign up to share your own angle on the topic, however loosely construed.

    • #1
    • June 19, 2019, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. E. Kent Golding Member

    Barracuda is a really great song.

    • #2
    • June 19, 2019, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Barracuda is a really great song.

    • #3
    • June 19, 2019, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Scott Wilmot Member

    Clifford A. Brown: They were part of the soundtrack of my youth.

    Me too. The years here, 76-78 cover my senior year of high school and first years of college. Heart – hot indeed. Good stuff Clifford. Thanks.

    • #4
    • June 19, 2019, at 3:55 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. USAhafan Member

    It’s great to listen to the good stuff! I grew up listening to Heart. Still do!

    • #5
    • June 19, 2019, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. dnewlander Member

    The first concert I went to without adult supervision was Heart, when they were supporting their self-titled album. I think it was 1985. Y&T (Summertime Girls) and Autograph (Turn up the Radio) opened for them, but Heart was definitely the reason people were there.

    Four encores, the last being, of course, Magic Man.

    I had a poster very similar to this in my bedroom in high school.

    • #6
    • June 19, 2019, at 4:43 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Franco Member

    Great big voices and good songwriting. Real rockers!

    • #7
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:06 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. dnewlander Member

    • #8
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. JustmeinAZ Member

    I just can’t listen to them. My first husband loved them during the time I was beginning to hate him. Brings back bad memories.

    • #9
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Jimmy Carter Member

    dnewlander (View Comment):

     

    Me and dude were just talking about Heart yesterday. He asked if I had seen that video of Them performing Stairway. I had not. Pretty damn good.

    Thanks. 

    • #10
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:43 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. AchillesLastand Inactive

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Barracuda is a really great song.

    The first time I heard this song (ie, the instrumental intro), my first thought was, “Led Zeppelin?! I didn’t know they had a new album.”

    Many years later, I heard Anne talking about how Manny (of Nazareth) accused them of ripping them (ie, Nazareth) off, to which Anne replied: “Manny, we ripped of Zeppelin, you know, Achilles Last Stand, not you!”

    There you go.

    I saw Heart in Baton Rouge in summer 1978. I saw Anne with Todd Rundgren, John Entwhistle, Alan Parsons, and David Pack (Ambrosia) in 2001, I think, shortly before Entwhistle’s untimely death. Awesome show.

    EDIT: I should have added, at the 2001 show, the musicians were each doing one of their own songs. Entwhistle completely tore down the house with a masterful version of “Can you see the real me.” I mean he was on fire. When the number was over, everyone, I mean EVERY ONE in the arena spontaneously leapt to their feet and roared. Then, after several minutes, waiting for the crowd to calm down, Anne walked to the front, or maybe I should say, the edge of the stage (it was a rotating round stage) with her flute in hand, and said something like, “Now, we will demonstrate our commitment to diversity by following THAT with “Dog and Butterfly”…”

    It was a moment of meekness and humility in the face of a monster performance by JW. You can’t help loving her for it.

    • #11
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. AchillesLastand Inactive

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: They were part of the soundtrack of my youth.

    Me too. The years here, 76-78 cover my senior year of high school and first years of college. Heart – hot indeed. Good stuff Clifford. Thanks.

    Ditto :o)

    • #12
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. OldPhil Coolidge

    Their rendition of Stairway to Heaven at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors:

    https://youtu.be/LFxOaDeJmXk

    • #13
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Front Seat Cat Member

    Franco (View Comment):

    Great big voices and good songwriting. Real rockers!

    You forgot the big hair – ! Great duo the Nancy and Ann – so talented!! I think a good friend of theirs wrote most the their lyrics.

    • #14
    • June 19, 2019, at 5:52 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. AchillesLastand Inactive

    Nancy has her charms, not to mention excellent guitar!

    But my Heart has always belonged to Anne (Dreamboat Annie)…

    • #15
    • June 19, 2019, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Front Seat Cat Member

    I always like this song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41P8UxneDJE

    or maybe I just wanted her hair….

    • #16
    • June 19, 2019, at 6:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    dnewlander (View Comment):

     

    Chile, 1994, “Battle of Evermore.”

    Hat tip to Mark Davis, who sparked my post both by celebrating Ann Wilson’s birthday and by dredging up this particular deep cut.

    • #17
    • June 19, 2019, at 8:13 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Randy Webster Member

    Dreamboat Annie was my Heart Saturday Night Classic.

    • #18
    • June 19, 2019, at 10:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. dnewlander Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Dreamboat Annie was my Heart Saturday Night Classic.

    Great, great album.

    • #19
    • June 19, 2019, at 10:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. The Great Adventure! Member

    I got to see them live twice. The first time was in a small town in Canada as the opening act for Canadian band April Wine. Came away from that thinking they should have been the main act. The second time was in college. Extremely talented and they also put on a great show.

    • #20
    • June 20, 2019, at 4:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Steven Seward Member

    I bought Heart’s debut record album back in 1976, shortly after it came out. It was probably the best technically engineered vinyl record that I have ever listened to. You can hear all the nuances of every instrument, even the breaths that Ann Wilson took while singing. It sounds as if they are in the same room with me as I listen. I still have the record and I have kept it in pristine shape with nary a scratch or speck of dust on it. Still sounds superb. Dreamboat Annie is dreamy.

    • #21
    • June 20, 2019, at 7:25 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  22. AchillesLastand Inactive

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Dreamboat Annie is dreamy.

    Oh, Annie, Dreamboat Annie, little ship of dreams…

    • #22
    • June 20, 2019, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I always like this song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41P8UxneDJE

    or maybe I just wanted her hair….

    Same song, live, a quarter century later:

    • #23
    • June 20, 2019, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Steven Seward Member

    AchillesLastand (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Dreamboat Annie is dreamy.

    Oh, Annie, Dreamboat Annie, little ship of dreams…

    Per your earlier comment, I was surprised to learn that Heart did versions of some Zeppelin songs (my favorite group next to Zappa), including your own namesake song. I haven’t kept up with rock music for the last few decades. I also see that you graduated high school the same year I did, old man!

    • #24
    • June 20, 2019, at 2:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Chris Member

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    I got to see them live twice. The first time was in a small town in Canada as the opening act for Canadian band April Wine. Came away from that thinking they should have been the main act. The second time was in college. Extremely talented and they also put on a great show.

    Heart and April Wine – that is a double bill!

    • #25
    • June 20, 2019, at 4:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes