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Hearts of Heart: Ann and Nancy Wilson

Friday, August 26: 4:07 p.m.
(l-r) Ann and Nancy Wilson / Photo by Norman Seeff

When we discussed potential artists to include in the Women Who Rock exhibit, everyone wanted Heart included. Breaking out in the mid-1970s, Heart mixed hard rock riffs with intensely rhythmic acoustic songs and powerful harmonies, crashing onto FM radio like they owned it. Since then, they’ve managed to navigate changing trends and definitions of rock in the MTV and grunge eras with both hits and critical acclaim, and their most recent album, Red Velvet Car (2010), ranks with their best.

Ann and Nancy Wilson visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week for a terrific Legends series. They sat down with me for an interview, and then performed acoustic versions of “Dog and Butterfly,” “WTF,” “Sand” and “Crazy on You.” It was a great night. They shared their thoughts on the history of women in rock and roll, their influences and heroes, and their songwriting craft. They were funny and insightful, and obviously big time rock and roll fans.

Heart came out of the gates strong with their first album, Dreamboat Annie, which was released in the U.S. in February of 1976 and quickly climbed the charts behind the “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man” singles ...


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A Woman Who Rocks: Ann Wilson of Heart (guest blog)

Friday, February 4: 2:09 p.m.
Ann Wilson (left) and Nancy Wilson (right) of Heart.

Over the last four decades, Seattle rock band Heart has released 13 studio albums selling more than 30,000,000 copies, and earned spots on the Top 40 charts more than 20 different times. The span of their career and consistent success has made them among the most commercially enduring hard rock acts of all time. Heart first emerged in the center of the feminist movement of the ‘70s mainstream alongside Joan Jett and the Runaways, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and Donna Summer. The gains of the movement through the decade enabled women working in all areas of the music industry to assume more control over their careers. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will highlight Heart as a significant group during this point in music history in the upcoming exhibit Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power opening May 13, 2011. Ann Wilson, lead singer and co-songwriter for Heart, shares some of her influences and what it means to be a woman who rocks -exclusively here on our blog!

Rock Hall: Who are some of the artists that have influenced you the most and why?
Ann Wilson: My  influences have always been artists who have great ...


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Girls on Film: 40 Years of Women in Rock (and the challenges overcome)

Wednesday, January 19: 11:37 a.m.
Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, Grant Park, Chicago: May 1969 (photo by Anastasia Pantsios)

I’m excited to be opening my photo show, Girls on Film: 40 Years of Women in Rock, at the Rock Hall on February 14. Going over my negatives, and picking and printing the images, gave me the chance to reflect on my own trajectory as a photographer and a music fan. I’ve also been mulling over why, after a couple of years of thinking about such a show and vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs Jim Henke saying “Anytime you’re ready, let’s talk,” this particular theme and selection of work is important to me.

The earliest image in the show was taken at a free daytime concert in Grant Park in Chicago (where I grew up) in 1969. I was new to both photography and rock music. I borrowed a camera from my father — he was a serious amateur photographer whose taste in subjects ran to scenery and flowers — and brought it with me to take pictures of Jefferson Airplane, the band that had recently sparked my interest in rock and roll, largely due to its distinctive singer, Grace Slick, who was neither the ethereal Joni Mitchell-style folk girl or the bad-ass blues mama ...


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