It’s time for the Wilson sisters to join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
By Phill Marder
In this week’s offering, we’re going to start off with opinions…opinions that – like most opinions – cannot possibly be supported by any means of fact or logic. But since they’re my opinions, I’m going to express them as I always do “’cause it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.'” If you’d like to express yours, head to the bottom of this article and fill out the box where it tells you to “leave a reply” and don’t forget to hit the “submit” button. Remember, it’s your blog, too, and you can write what you want. We’ll print them all (that agree with me).
Ok, here we go…
Opinion No. 1 – Ann Wilson is the greatest female singer in the history of Rock & Roll. She can belt out the heaviest of rock and she’s equally adept at carressing the softest of ballads. Not only does she have an incredible voice, she knows how to sing. She avoids the temptation to try to cram every note she can hit onto every word of the song. There are other great female vocalists in the Rock Era, but none even approaches Ann Wilson.
That folks is just my opinion. But it’s just my No. 1 opinion. Let’s move on to opinion No. 2…Nancy Wilson is the foxiest guitar player in the history of Rock & Roll and her playing ability matches her looks. Of course, if you’re a straight female, I would expect a different outlook on the appearance factor.
Personal view No. 3…The Wilsons set the bar for bands led by females. Fans of the Pretenders may have a strong argument as will followers of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the Bangles, the Go Gos and others. But I’ll put my money on Heart.
And finally, opinion No. 4…It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female, the Wilson sisters belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as sure as most current inductees or anyone being considered.
With the opinions out of the way, let’s look at some facts.
Together, the Wilsons wrote and recorded some of the best records of the last 35 years. Still, like almost everyone else championed by this blog, they haven’t even received a nomination for the Hall of Fame.
The original band’s albums – “Dreamboat Annie,” No. 7 in 1976, and “Little Queen,” No. 9 the following year – emulated Led Zeppelin’s approach, including heavy rockers such as “Crazy On You, “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Little Queen,” “Kick It Out,” “Heartless,” “Straight On” and “Even It Up,” alongside acoustic-flavored gems such as “Dreamboat Annie.” Between 1976 and 1980, they placed eight singles in the top 40, peaking with a No. 8 remake of the 1966 Aaron Neville hit “Tell It Like It Is.”
After a brief slump, a revamped and almost forgotten Heart achieved its greatest success, beginning with 1985’s eponymous LP which produced four top 10 singles and gave Heart its first No. 1 album. Ironically, the third single from the LP, “These Dreams,” featuring Nancy on a rare lead vocal, became the group’s first No. 1 single. The song, written by Martin Page and Bernie Taupin, reportedly had been rejected by Stevie Nicks.
The follow-up LP, “Bad Animals,” reached No. 2 powered by the No. 1 single “Alone,” and the next LP, “Brigade,” got to No. 3 led by the single “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You,” which hit No. 2.
Strangely, “Alone” was the band’s first hit in the United Kingdom though both the “Dreamboat Annie” and “Little Queen” albums reached the UK top 40. Once “Alone” clicked, Heart ran off 10 more British hit singles.
The recently released “Red Velvet Car,” coming 34 years after “Dreamboat Annie” first graced the charts, should improve the Wilson’s case for induction. For those who haven’t heard it, the effort hearkens back to the sound of the original version of Heart and the girls had a hand in the writing of all the material as they did early in their career. Ann’s magnificent voice may have lost a tad on the upper end, but 90 percent of Ann Wilson’s voice still far surpasses most female vocalists.
But, of course, that’s just my opinion. As is this…Heart belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.