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Heart Biography

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Heart In-depth Biography

Sisters Ann} and Nancy Wilson} were the creative spark behind Heart}, a hard rock} group who initially found success in the mid-'70s, only to reach greater heights after engineering a major comeback a decade later. The daughters of a Marine Corps captain, Ann} (born June 19, 1950) and Nancy} (born March 16, 1954) grew up in both Southern California and Taiwan before the Wilson} family settled in Seattle, WA. Throughout their formative years, both were interested in folk} and pop} music; while Ann} never took any formal music lessons as a child (she later learned to play several instruments), Nancy} took up guitar and flute. After both sisters spent some time at college, they decided to try their hand as professional musicians, and while Nancy} began performing as a folksinger, Ann} joined the all-male vocal group Heart}. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Heart} was actually formed in 1963 by bassist Steve Fossen} and brothers Roger Fisher} and Mike Fisher}; initially dubbed the Army}, they later became White Heart} before settling on simply Heart} at the beginning of the '70s. After her arrival in the group, Ann} became romantically involved with guitarist Mike Fisher}; when Nancy} joined in 1974, she in turn began a relationship with guitarist Roger Fisher}. Soon after Nancy}'s arrival, Mike Fisher} retired from active performing to become the band's sound engineer. After gaining a following in Vancouver, Heart} was approached by Shelly Siegel}, the owner of the Canadian label Mushroom}; augmented by keyboardist Howard Leese} and drummer Michael Derosier}, they recorded their debut album, Dreamboat Annie}, in 1975.

After selling more than 30,000 copies north of the border, Mushroom} issued the LP in the U.S. where it quickly achieved platinum status on the strength of the hit singles "Crazy on You"} and "Magic Man."} In 1977, Heart} jumped ship to the CBS} affiliate Portrait}, resulting in a protracted legal battle with Siegel}, who in 1978 released the unfinished LP Magazine} on Mushroom} shortly after the band issued its true follow-up Little Queen} on Portrait}. The single "Barracuda"} was another massive hit, and like its predecessor, Little Queen} sold over a million copies.

After 1978's Dog & Butterfly}, both of the Wilson}/Fisher} romances ended and Roger Fisher} left the group. In 1980, Heart} issued Bebe Le Strange}; following a lengthy U.S. tour, both Fossen} and Derosier} exited and were replaced by ex-Spirit} and Firefall} bassist Mark Andes} and former Gamma} drummer Denny Carmassi}. After 1982's Private Audition} and 1983's Passionworks} slumped, the group was largely written off by industry watchers, and moved to Capitol Records}.

In 1985, however, Heart} emerged with a self-titled effort that ultimately sold more than five million copies on its way to launching four Top Ten hits -- "What About Love?,"} "Never,"} the chart-topping "These Dreams,"} and "Nothin' at All."} 1987's Bad Animals} continued their comeback success; "Alone"} was another number one hit, and both "Who Will You Run To"} and "There's the Girl"} achieved considerable airplay as well. Brigade}, issued in 1990, featured the number two smash "All I Want to Do Is Make Love to You,"} as well as the Top 25 hits "I Didn't Want to Need You"} and "Stranded."} In the early '90s, the Wilson} sisters took a brief hiatus from Heart} to form the Lovemongers}, an acoustic quartet fleshed out by Sue Ennis} and Frank Cox}; in 1992, they issued a four-song EP that included a cover of Led Zeppelin}'s "The Battle of Evermore."} Heart} returned in 1993 with Desire Walks On}, on which Andes} and Carmassi} were replaced with bassist Fernando Saunders} and drummer Denny Fongheiser}. With 1995's The Road Home}, Heart} enlisted onetime Zeppelin} bassist John Paul Jones} to produce a live, acoustic set reprising hits like "Dreamboat Annie,"} "Crazy on You,"} and "Barracuda."}

Heart} went on hiatus by the late '90s, as the Wilson} sisters concentrated on the Lovemongers}, issuing a pair of albums -- 1997's Whirlygig} and 1998's Here Is Christmas}. But Heart} wasn't completely silent -- they were the subject of one of the better episodes of VH1}'s Behind the Music}, a pair of best-of sets were issued (1998's Greatest Hits} covered their early classics, while their later years were spotlighted on 2000's Greatest Hits: 1985-1995}), and their music continued to pop up in movie soundtracks (2000's The Virgin Suicides}, among others). In 1999, Nancy Wilson} released her first solo album, Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop}, and a year later penned the score to her husband Cameron Crowe}'s hit motion picture, Almost Famous}, while Ann Wilson} continued to play with others -- in the summer of 2001, she participated in the A Walk Down Abbey Road: A Tribute to the Beatles} tour, which also featured Todd Rundgren}, John Entwistle} (The Who}), and Alan Parsons} (The Alan Parsons Project}). Heart} returned to active recording for Jupiters Darling}, released on Sovereign Artists} in 2004. ~ Jason Ankeny & Greg Prato, All Music Guide

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