Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kicking And Dreaming--The Story Of Heart

I first heard the group Heart when the song "Crazy On You" was played on the local rock radio station on the night of my high school graduation in Walla Walla.  Although it was on just a silly AM car radio, something really came through, a special kind of charisma that is heard to put into words.   That summer (1976),  I saw them again on the WSU public TV channel, the show was called Second Ending and the true talent of the group came across including Ann Wilson's ability to connect with the audience, I don't think the Second Ending was ever again able to live up to that episode. Ironically, I saw Heart perform live in concert at the University Of Idaho down the road from WSU in 1978.  Bottom picture is Heart's first album, autographed by it's bass player Steve Fossen, who I met at a Seattle after hours party.
"Kicking And Dreaming" is the latest book from Charles Cross, who has written about almost every iconic Rock act to come out of the Seattle area.  The story is actually told by  Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sisters who fronted the group.
Without giving away too much of the book before you read it, the Wilson sister were raised in a military family and moved many times, finding it difficult to make friends, the sister stuck together as a family, perhaps it was a positive for the act that they were unable to assimilate, that they would be able to carve out a niche of their own. 
The family finally settled in Bellevue and Ann was a high school outcast because of her weight issues. The girls were inspired by the Beatles.  They started performing as teenagers, when they played at their family's church, they played a rock song that emptied the congregation, much like John Lennon's famous spoken faux pas.
 The book chronicles the band's meteoric rise, their sudden fall, and how they were able to pick themselves back up and still today, be an act to be reckoned with.  Not always a happy story, they speak about gender discrimination by groups like the Marshal Tucker Band who pulled the plug on them while they were performing as a warm up band and heartache from broken love affairs and school rejection.  Nancy also speaks candidly about hear divorce from Cameron Crowe.
My cousin Burl Barer was listed in the acknowledgements as a contributor to the book as was my old boss Pat O'Day.

No comments: