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In celebration of her smartly titled recent solo album, Fierce Bliss, Goldmine asked classic rock icon Ann Wilson to divulge the meaning behind the titles of a few albums by her old band Heart.

  

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heart-magazine

Magazine (1977)

Magazine was my idea. There was a whole theme behind it, where all the songs were going to be like articles in a magazine all tied together. There was going to be a booklet that was shot like a really cool artistic fashion magazine. And not just fashion, but news and stuff like that that we would make up. It was a whole project, but then the legal thing happened and we never got to make good on it. But that was a really good idea. The Magazine album did end up coming out but it was kind of piecemeal.”

  

Heart-bebe

Bébé le Strange (1980)

“Nancy (Wilson) and Sue Ennis and I had written a song called ‘Bebe Le Strange’ and it was about this sort of new female persona that was not just all girly-girly and not masculine but something else, something new. She could go out in the world and she could stand up there as an equal and she could rock and be original and how she didn’t fit in anywhere. She didn’t fit in with the girls, she didn’t fit in with the guys, but she was able to stretch. That song informed the album in that manner because a lot of the songs were sort of about transition. There’s a song on there called ‘Break,’ which is about wanting to break from convention, from a traditional type or state of being.”

  

HEart-Passionworks

Passionworks (1983)

“It felt like a factory; it felt like we went in there every day, like we worked during the day and went home at night, you know, like people who had jobs. We liked all the songs and everything, but they didn’t necessarily correspond to each other. It was like a portfolio of work—they didn’t really speak to each other that much. Tough times, because we were between labels, moving from CBS to EMI. We were still on Epic and they’d had the thing happen where the guy that signed us didn’t work there anymore and they didn’t really believe in us. We were just kind of fading into the background over there. And nobody really got on it and pushed the album.”

 

Heart 1985

Heart (1985)

“That was mainly because we couldn’t think of a title. We came right up to the last minute, as I recall, and we were making lists of what we'd call this record. We didn’t write a whole lot of the songs on there, so that aspect of closeness with the work was gone and it was much harder for us to come up with a title that was real. So at the last minute we were being pressured and pressured and they said, ‘What’s it going to be?’ And we said, ‘Just call it Heart.’”

   

Heart-bad animals

Bad Animals (1987)

Bad Animals was the second '80s album and we were out on the road with Denny Carmassi, Mark Andes, Howard Leese, me and Nancy, and it was a tight fighting unit. We had a private plane but we did so many shows that we were constantly exhausted. And so we would stumble into these hotel lobbies just all like tired and wearing sunglasses and with weird spiky hair and all this kind of stuff. And so we took to calling ourselves the bad animals and it just transferred onto the album title. The whole ‘80s thing with the formulaic songs, wrapped in a glassy Vaseline bag full of synthesizers and portrayed on MTV, was something that I think bands wanted to get out of. It was rich, rich food and you just want to fast after that (laughs). Eventually we just kind of went, ‘No, no, no, this isn’t us.’ What was it about this band that we loved so much? That got us off so much? And it was the big warm analog sound and not so much artifice.”

  

heart-red velvet car

Red Velvet Car (2010)

“We’d written a song called ‘Red Velvet Car.’ That was at the point where I decided to become sober. And we wrote the song about the person who will come and pick you up and take you home. Okay, when? Who is that friend? Who’s that real friend? Who will do that no matter what time of day it is? You can come get in my red velvet car and I’ll take you home. You can go to sleep in the backseat.”

  

heart fanatic

Fanatic (2012)

“On that record we were back with a vengeance. Within ourselves we felt energized. We’d been on the road a lot and so we felt current within ourselves and fired up, fanatical about our work. And also there’s a couple of songs that were just so full of intention. We were back to writing our own songs again and that made us really, really happy and fired up.”

  

Ann Wilson Fierce bliss

And for extra measure: Ann’s latest solo album, Fierce Bliss (2022)

“Well, that one just describes how I felt when we were making it because it was after a year-and-a-half of being in quarantine and lockdown. And I’d had enough—I got vaccinated early, I put on a mask and went to Muscle Shoals and hired Tom Bukovac, who brought these musicians along with him, who are now in my band, The Amazing Dogs, and we just hit it off instantaneously. It doesn’t often happen that way, but they were there to support me. And then pretty soon they started offering their ideas and I really liked them. We soon realized that we had an amazing, imaginative creative unit going. And so it was blissful—it was powerful, energized and blissful.”

  

Go to Ann Wilson's website for touring information

  

Listen to Ann Wilson interviewed on the Goldmine Podcast