Things didn’t always go well for Heart, though. They had a couple of albums that I thought were great but didn’t sell like the first two, Bebe LeStrange and Dog and Butterfly (which, while it may not have been a huge hit, may be their best). Then after a couple of really weak albums they reinvented the band in 1985 with a new rhythm section, a new glamorous look, a new record label and a self-titled album. (I should mention that the album just before they got big again, Passionworks, was a particularly strong album even though no one seemed to notice.) Soon Heart were hot again and the album spawned a number of hit songs. One of their hits even featured guitar playing sister Nancy on lead vocals. Their sound was smoothed out a bit, keyboards played a bigger role in their songs and they were a hot 80’s band (complete with 80’s hair). And lets face it, these sisters were made for video and the new MTV loved them. But this didn’t last long either. Each successive album sold less than it’s predecessors, Ann gained weight and became less of an MTV hottie and the audience drifted away. She could still sing up a storm though but eventually Heart finally packed it in. (Recently they reformed and put out a new album but I haven’t heard it yet.)
Nonetheless, I stayed with them for a long time, even in the lean years (typified by their worst album, Private Audition.) Every once in a while I have the urge to hear the old stuff and I get out a couple of albums and crank it up. While on vacation in the car I heard a couple of Heart tunes on the radio and realized that the time had come to pull out the old CDs again. (I like them enough to have repurchased those first few albums on CD even though I had them on vinyl.) As I write this I have their 1985 self-titled comeback album playing and I find myself knowing an awful lot of the words. Listening to this album brings me back to when I lived in Denver. I remember walking on Evans Avenue with a tape of this album on in my Walkman. I also remember that when I saw them on the Bad Animals tour they were fabulous and put on a great show. (If my memory serves me correctly a new singer named Michael Bolton was the ignored opener.)
So because I so often find myself listening to this stuff it is time to come clean – My name is Bob and I actually listen to Heart. And I enjoy it.If you want to try to figure out why I like this band so much a great place to start is Dog and Butterfly. It shows that Heart could be a rockin' electric band but also had an interesting acoustic side to them too.
So, what's your musical guilty pleasure?