Heart – Dave DiPaolo’s Deep Dive

One of my personal favorite groups of all time, Heart, was formed in 1970, featuring sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.

The Wilson sisters have plenty of success with the band that they formed out of the ashes of “White Heart,” the original group’s name from Seattle. In 1973, the band began their most famous lineup of superstars, pushing out hits like Crazy on You, Magic Man, and Barracuda.

But the Wilson sisters have also had interesting and tumultuous personal lives. Ann Wilson had quite an affair with their sound manager, Mike Fisher. At the same time, Nancy was dating Fisher’s brother Roger, who just so happened to be the lead guitarist for Heart. In 1979, Ann was the one to fire Roger from the band.

In the 80s, Nancy made an appearance in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and ended up marrying screenwriter Cameron Crowe in 1986, and then separated in 2008.

Like most band members in the US, you get your start in music having worked in fast food. Ann once worked in a KFC restaurant, and was fired before the band hit it big. But if she hadn’t been fired, the band wouldn’t have materialized and turned into a success. Ann says at one time, she considered sending a Platinum record to Colonel Sanders to thank him for receiving that pink slip.

At some point of the height of the band’s success, Heart’s manager and male bandmates implored Nancy to talk Ann into losing weight, arguing that the extra pounds were affecting the band’s record sales. Nancy refused and instead helped her sister – who was picked on for her weight in high school – overcome stage fright and body-shaming-related panic attacks. According to the 2018 book Women Who Rock by Evelyn McDonnell, Nancy would stand nose-to-nose with Ann, saying, “Hello, hello, come back come back, come here come here, I’m with you, look at me, keep looking at me,” and Ann would.

And, if you can believe it, one of the Wilson sisters had quite the stuttering problem as a child. Ann Wilson says her childhood stutter disappeared when she started singing more often.