PORTLAND, Ore. – If you’re a fan of 1970’s or 1980’s rock music, Heart continues to remain one of the biggest rock bands from that era thanks to the work of Nancy Wilson, who along with her sister Ann, have been the faces of Heart that fans have come to know and love over the years.
Nancy Wilson in the early 1970’s.
About Nancy Wilson
Born in San Francisco in 1954, Nancy Wilson and her sister Ann both knew that they wanted to become musicians after watching the Beatles perform on television.
During their early years, the sisters formed several bands including one called “The Viewpoints”, a four-part harmony group, and they had their first concert at Seattle’s Center Coliseum.
As they grew older, the sisters briefly went their separate ways as Ann started a band called “Hocus Pocus”, but would later change the band’s name to Heart.
In the fall of 1972, Nancy moved to Forest Grove, Oregon to attend Pacific University. The next year she transferred to Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, hoping the bigger city would invigorate her more.
After some convincing from Ann, Nancy left college and joined her sister and the band in West Vancouver Canada where they began writing some of the band’s early hits including Magic Man and Crazy on You.
Following the launch of their first album (Dreamboat Annie), and their tour with ZZ Top, Heart quickly became a rock powerhouse and it wasn’t uncommon to find their music being played on radio stations across the United States during any time of the day.
Over the next 20 years, Heart continued to remain one of the most well-known rock bands even as the industry changed (thanks to MTV) and musical tastes also began to shift from well-known bands like Heart, Fleetwood Max and Aerosmith to flavor of the month acts that only had one hit song or album before breaking up.
By the mid-1990’s the music industry continued changing as alternative music and wrap were now what the fans wanted compared to the rock ballads that acts like Heart had produced in the 70’s and 80’s. By this time, Nancy Wilson had been with Heart for over 20 years and decided to go on hiatus from the band, to start a family with her husband at the time, Cameron Crowe.
Although she stayed away from the band for a while, she continued on in music, performing with various side bands, acting and producing music for films.
Nancy Wilson’s hiatus from Heart lasted for 10 years; by 2002 she rejoined the band and along with her sister they resumed touring plus recorded new music: 2009’s Red Velvet Car, which also did well commercially, and by 2013 Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.