Heart: “Work to Perfect What You Want to Say in Universal Words”
Rock & roll’s sister duo, Ann and Nancy Wilson, recently released a new album, “Beautiful Broken,” filled with re-recorded demos. We had the chance to ask the women about their history in rock, inspirations and what they would want to be remembered for.
You both write almost all of Heart’s songs – something uncommon in today’s music industry. How important is it for you to retain control of your music – turning your poetry into lyrics?
It’s very important. The songs we create are our own expressions, and it is worth the extra care to keep them pure.
Advice to young artists who also want to “plant a flag for poetry” but are maybe battling within the industry to be more mainstream and commercial pop?
The main advice I would have here is work and work to perfect what you want to say in universal words.
Do you consider yourselves to be vulnerable writers?
Where did you get the idea to re-record some of these older songs on “Beautiful Broken?” Was it something you had been thinking about for some time, or was there some sort of catalyst that made you decide to try this approach now?
Concorde, a record company, offered to fund the undertaking and we jumped at the chance. The old songs that were re-recorded finally got their day in the sun. A good feeling.
You’re the first sister duo to succeed and become pioneers in rock – a traditionally male territory. What kept you from giving up?
We simply loved playing music.
The industry has changed a lot over the span of your careers. What’s one old thing you miss, and what’s one new thing that you think is promising?
I miss rock radio. I feel that women breaking out into rock as complete equals is promising.
What have been the greatest moments in rock history for you?
The release of Sgt Pepper’s “Lonely Heart Club Band” changed rock forever.
Your Led Zeppelin covers — particularly, your cover of “Stairway to Heaven” — have become fan favorites, partly because they’re just so good and it’s so refreshing to see women taking on these masculine songs, but also because of very evident level of respect and admiration you have for the band. As artists, what do you think about the recent lawsuit over “Stairway to Heaven” and the media spectacle it created? Do you think it may have opened doors for more trials like it, or created a reason for artists to be concerned about work they produced decades ago?
I think if it took the ex-Spirit members 50 years to bring suit, it was a very thin case. Many artists before Led Zeppelin used that progression.
You were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Sadly, there is a lack of women in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Why do you think that is?
It is a mystery to me.
If you could tell your 25-year-old selves one thing, what would it be?
What do you want to be remembered for?