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Your opinion on Eighties Heart


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Heart was massively successful in the late Seventies, thanks to their endless comparisons to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, as well as some of their biggest selling albums in those days, namely Dreamboat AnnieLittle Queen, and Dog & Butterfly (which is a must own for any collection. You will not be disappointed.)

 

However, tensions occurred with the Wilson sisters and guitarist Roger Fisher (who was dating Nancy at the time), and he was kicked out in 1979 during the recording sessions for Bebe le Strange (which Fisher had a hand in cowriting the title track before he left.)

 

Bebe le Strange is a very good album. Among my favorite songs on there include the title cut, Down On Me, Silver Wheels, Even It Up, Pilot and Raised On You. I also own their greatest hits live album on CD (which I'll admit, I mostly bought for the hits and for their great cover of Tell It Like It Is.)

 

Private Audition is where their Eighties sound began, and whilst the acoustic rocker City's Burning gets the album off to a good start (as does the track Bright Light Girl), much of Side 1 is a clunker. The only other track I could salvage was This Man Is Mine (which briefly made the Top 40). I also liked the songs Fast Times and America, but I felt it was a contractual obligation record. Either that or Nancy was too busy with Cameron Crowe to actually take care of the band.

Steve Fossen and Michael DeRosier left the band because of arguments over creative input? Honestly I don't blame them.

Passionworks was a little better, as it was produced by Keith Olsen (who also produced Fleetwood Mac and the Grateful Dead, among other greats), and was the first Heart album to feature members Mark Andes on bass (who supposedly played on early recordings by psychedelic rock band Jo Jo Gunne), and drummer Denny Carmassi (who also played with Sammy Hagar and Whitesnake).

Passionworks also featured Toto members David Paich and Steve Porcaro, and some songwriting from Journey guy Jonathan Cain. Some more memorable tracks are on here, such as How Can I Refuse (which stalled at #44), Blue Guitar, and the intriguing Johnny Moon (which was originally titled Feels and was originally recorded for their 1978 album Dog & Butterfly but left off the original track listing, it later resurfaced on their 2004 remaster CD of Dog & Butterfly). Side 2 also had Allies and Beat By Jealousy, but that's all you're gonna find on Side 2 worth listening to.

 

Better than Private Audition, but again, this album resulted in Heart getting dropped from Epic. During this time, Ann collaborated with Loverboy frontman Mike Reno on the hit Almost Paradise from the Footloose soundtrack.

By 1984, Heart had signed to Capitol Records, and began work on a new album at Studio 55 in Los Angeles with producer Richard Perry (who had been a hitmaker in the Seventies with acts like Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr), but due to arguments over the creative input, Richard Perry was fired, and replaced by Ron Nevison (who also produced for Jefferson Starship during this time).

Now I'm sure everyone remembers having Heart's self titled 1985 album in their record collection. Almost every song off of this album was a hit. If Looks Could Kill, Never, These Dreams, What About Love, Nothin At All...if you needed to own only one Heart album back in the day, it had to be this one! It was Heart's only chart topping album, and has gone on to sell over 5 million copies in America. Talk about mainstream success! But again, the only songs off that album I do like are Never, These Dreams and Nothin At All. Maybe if it were an EP, I would have appreciated it better.

 

They topped that with the #2 album Bad Animals, which I own on LP, Cassette and CD, but this is probably Heart's last great album and the last one I would spend good money on. The album also gave us Who Will You Run To, the corny ballad Alone, There's The Girl, Bad Animals, Easy Target, RSVP...which feature hundreds of sorely misplaced AOR guitar solos.

 

Brigade gave us All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You, but I had lost interest in Heart after that.

Desire Walks On (this album was released in 1993, when grunge was at their peak, and unsurprisingly, Layne Staley of Alice In Chains sings with Ann and Nancy on a cover of Bob Dylan's Ring Them Bells).

 

I own every Heart album (save for Fanatic, Jupiters Darling, Red Velvet Car, Beautiful Broken, Brigade, and Magazine, which I used to own, but wound up selling at a yard sale).

 

Some of Heart worked in the Eighties and some of it didn't. I'd like to know what you guys REALLY think of Heart.

 

I think the next time I go to a karaoke party, I'm gonna sing Alone at the top of my lungs just to prove how much I love that song.

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I always liked Heart. I never really paid attention to the different versions of the band. Of course the original lineup was awesome, and lesser so after they changed things here and there, but they were always were impressive to me.  Nancy is a very good guitarist, I respected her stuff always, Ann was/is a killer singer. The rest of the band were all excellent in every lineup. (but for me the Dreamboat Annie era stuff was my favorite).

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The sisters are very talented and were going to have an audience no matter if they stayed a local duo or fleshed out a band and  went national, global.  They played the game well and kicked ass even when musical trends were leaving other acts at the side of the road.  Survivors.  

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On 2/25/2022 at 8:35 AM, Scott Fraser said:

I liked the band well enough, but as to any comparisons to the Beatles or Zeppelin? Not in a million years. I don't mean quality-wise, but musical stylistic-wise. 

 

:yeahthat:

 

I quite like them, actually - I've seen them several times and covered their ballad Alone a few years back.  

 

Don't worry - I didn't try to sing it... 😬🤣

 

 

Heart/Nancy Wilson's current keyboard player Dan Walker is a member of the Keyboard Corner forum.

 

dB

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I saw Heart back in September 1985.  I was out at Pine Knob here in Michigan, selling some of my Heart tickets, and another ticket seller had one fifth row main floor seat left, so I bought it.  What an excellent show!  Plus, I fell in in love/lust with Nancy, since she was right in front of me less that twenty feet away the whole show.  That band has had more than their fair share of squabbles between members, but overall, they were and still are a great rock band.

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Loved them in the Dreamboat Annie & Dog and Butterfly days, and from what I understand, the producer pushed them 

hard on Bad Animals-crying fits between recordings, that sort of thing. Frankly I thought they had gotten too big for their own good,

I think Anne said something to that effect. Bad Animals got them down to Earth and focused.By the time Brigade was out, 

not only didn`t the songs catch my ear-Anne even had issues with `All I Wanna Do...`-but unfair as it sounds, her weight gain issues 

were hard to ignore since they were always a video-heavy band. I still would have lent an ear if the songs were there but, I wasn`t hearing it.

Side note-the Wilson sisters have always been huge Zeppelin fans, I love their cover of `Rock and Roll` and they did a show with Jimmy Page

in the audience, which is on youtube. Excellent cover of `Stairway to Heaven`.

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Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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Overall, I've long felt that many of the songs from their albums up to (and including) 1980's Bébé le Strange were their best; some of their classic hits from that '70s period strike me as very impressive, creatively inventive and innovative, almost 'Prog' while firmly remaining Rockers, not going full-on wizard suits and symphonic aspirations. They were definitely inspired and influenced by the likes of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Rush, yet always sounding like themselves, never entirely derivative. I really enjoy many of their classic songs from that period to this day- especially the guitar and rhythm-section work.

My attention waned after that, but to be fair, that was most likely due to their singles that got airplay on radio and TV- I perceived a slide into more typical, almost generic melodramatic balladry that, frankly, bored me; I did not bother to dig deeper into their albums during that period, where I might have found songs more to my liking if I had.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/25/2022 at 10:35 AM, Scott Fraser said:

I liked the band well enough, but as to any comparisons to the Beatles or Zeppelin? Not in a million years. I don't mean quality-wise, but musical stylistic-wise. 

 

Heart was actually a Led Zeppelin cover band in clubs for years... that's how they built a big following in Vancouver in the early 70s that led to record company interest. I definitely hear that influence in their '70s records... the songwriting is a bit different, which is why it's good instead of lame, but it is all the elements of Led Zeppelin reassembled into something new, especially the acoustic + electric guitar work.

When I was a kid the big Led Zeppelin cover band in New Orleans kind of went the same route... Zebra. One day we were still hearing commercials on the radio for their shows in local clubs boasting that they were "the best Led Zeppelin tribute in the South!" and the next they were on MTV with videos for original songs.

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On 3/1/2022 at 12:36 PM, Caevan OShite said:

Overall, I've long felt that many of the songs from their albums up to (and including) 1980's Bébé le Strange were their best; some of their classic hits from that '70s period strike me as very impressive, creatively inventive and innovative, almost 'Prog' while firmly remaining Rockers, not going full-on wizard suits and symphonic aspirations. They were definitely inspired and influenced by the likes of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Rush, yet always sounding like themselves, never entirely derivative. I really enjoy many of their classic songs from that period to this day- especially the guitar and rhythm-section work.

My attention waned after that, but to be fair, that was most likely due to their singles that got airplay on radio and TV- I perceived a slide into more typical, almost generic melodramatic balladry that, frankly, bored me; I did not bother to dig deeper into their albums during that period, where I might have found songs more to my liking if I had.


There were some wizard suits in play with them in the 70s... or at least medieval archery suits... one thing I thought was cheesy about them as a kid.

They were an early 70s band that got big a little too late in the late 70s, I think... and around 1980 things started changing in music and they had to readjust... 

If an act could/can remain big sellers for 5 years it's a miracle... that's usually a generational turnover and a change in tastes. Especially in the 60s/70s/80s and even the 90s when styles and fashion changed so rapidly and drastically.

I loved "How Can I Refuse" but really don't like the 80s Heart stuff after that... but it wasn't aimed at me... it was scientifically designed to sell records to middle-class females aged 12-35 of the time-period. 

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6 hours ago, p90jr said:

I loved "How Can I Refuse" but really don't like the 80s Heart stuff after that... but it wasn't aimed at me... it was scientifically designed to sell records to middle-class females aged 12-35 of the time-period.


Indeed. Well put. 😎👍

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Their box set Strange Euphoria has a few gems.  There's an excellent live version of Barracuda with the original band.  Not a stellar recording but holy smoke what a drive and energy that version has.  More than once I had that playing in the car and I was rocking my seat as if on a galloping steed.

 

My favorite was the 70s era of Heart.  The box set has demos of some of their hits - the demo of Magic Man is so sedate compared to the release we all know.  That revealed the great songwriting and arranging between demo and release.  Roger, Ann, and Nancy were a great songwriting team, and Steve Fossen and Mike Derosier were a rhythm section to be reckoned with.  Frankly the arranging and 70s drive was lost after Roger was given his walking papers when Mike Derosier started dating Nancy and Roger smashed his LP guitar on stage in anger.

Heart really lost their 70s rhythm drive when Steve Fossen and Mike Derosier left the band.  With their rhythm section and core songwriting team history, Heart was a different band that no longer appealed to me.  Even less after Howard Leese left the band.  I didn't like anything after Even It Up.  No dispute that Nancy is a gifted player and Ann has pipes yet to be equalled, but without good song arrangements and rhythm section they lost it.  I agree that their later work is aimed at middle-class females.

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I saw a version of post-Fisher Heart in concert. Howard Leese was still with them but certainly not up to the level set by the original player on their best songs. 

I do like some of their later singles, besides Ann's great lead vocals, Nancy is no slouch - that's her lead vocal on These Dreams and she did a great job. 

Sister harmonies are simply above and beyond. Family harmonies in general really are something. 

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I thought it was cool when Mark Andes joined the band. The first Spirit album is one of my all-time favorites and his bass playing is great on that record. After Spirit Andes formed Jo Jo Gunne who had one big hit "Run, Run, Run" but had a song or two, in particular "Take Me Down Easy" that was big with cover bands on the SoCal club scene. He was also in Firefall who had many hits in the country rock style that was so prevalent in the 70s. My favorite 80s Heart song is "How Can I Refuse". I saw the Royal Albert Hall concert on AXS a few days ago and was impressed that they did "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin.

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On 3/12/2022 at 11:37 PM, p90jr said:

Zebra-is this the "Who's Behind the Door" Zebra? I thought they were from L.I., maybe not.



When I was a kid the big Led Zeppelin cover band in New Orleans kind of went the same route... Zebra. One day we were still hearing commercials on the radio for their shows in local clubs boasting that they were "the best Led Zeppelin tribute in the South!" and the next they were on MTV with videos for original songs.

 

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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10 hours ago, skipclone 1 said:

 

Yep, that Zebra... they were formed in New Orleans though one of more of them might be from Long Island, originally... I dunno, but believe me, they were based in NOLA, and that was a HUGE deal to people.

Randy Jackson (American Idol, producer, Journey/Narada Michael Walden/etc. bassist) was one of my mom's Music students while he was in college here and the Randy Jackson in Zebra was "the other Randy Jackson" to people here...

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