“Come on home girl, he said with a smile
You don’t have to love me yet, let’s get high for a while
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, he’s a magic man”
It was 1976 and FM ruled. Everybody had a dual-band radio in their car, with maybe an 8-track under the dash. Lee Abrams had codified FM and the entire nation was listening, radio was truly the heartbeat of America. There were English bands, like Led Zeppelin, and American bands, like the Eagles, and acts that straddled both, like Gary Wright. But female-fronted rock bands?
That was a shallow pool.
Fanny had gotten a big push five years before, but had never broken through.
But when you heard the above lyrics blast out of the speaker…
You were immediately closed. It was truly a magic sound.
Heart went from zero to hero overnight, at least that’s what it seemed like to us, the listeners. On an unknown label, Mushroom, with an unknown producer, Mike Flicker, they were an instant hit.
Although Nancy Wilson had been making music nearly from birth.
That’s the one thing that struck me so much in our conversation, that she’s a MUSICIAN! Not only can she play, but she has that sensibility, a like-mindedness with other players.
Also, Nancy is fully conscious of Heart’s career. The Capitol days with outside songwriters, the videos wherein she played the femme fatale as Ann was shuffled into the background. It was a long hard slog…
And she loved every minute of it.
What’s it like to be a woman on the road?
Well, at first she was involved with the brother of the Magic Man.
What’s it like to be a woman in a rock band?
Well, in many ways it’s no different from being a man, except you have to send that negative signal to keep the guys at bay.
We go deep here. Through not only the early days in Washington, going to college and dropping out to join Heart, but also to the Lovemongers, having her twins, taking two years off and then going back on the road, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT SHE DOES, THAT’S HER JOB!
And speaking of jobs, her latest gig is with Roadcase Royale, opening for Bob Seger.
But if you want to know what one of the progenitors felt, someone who was infected by the Beatles and took it all the way to the limit…