Go to any jukebox in any bar in America and there’s guaranteed to be some Heart song in rotation. But surprisingly, the band didn’t start its meteoric rise at home.
Heart first started seeing success in Canada after leader singer Ann Wilson followed her boyfriend Mike Fisher -- who was trying to escape the Vietnam War draft -- across the border.
According to Wilson, with whom I spoke over the phone last week, “One thing led to another and we got someone to record us up there. It was good, because there was an indie label who took a chance on us.”
It really was good, because they would soon produce classic rock hits like “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You,” “Alone” and “What About Love,” which would all permeate the American pop rock consciousness for decades to come.
If Eddie Vedder’s life story is any indication, there’s just something about the San Diego to Seattle migration that leaves an indelible mark on musicians and their place in music history. Wilson was born a San Diego Navy brat, but her family resettled in Seattle in the 1960s. Canada was just a short leap from there.
“I lived there [in San Diego] for about two years, and I don’t go back there that often except when we come to play. The weather’s just about perfect, and culturally it’s far superior to Los Angeles,” Wilson said of America’s Finest City.
While Heart may be on hiatus for the time being, that hasn’t slowed Wilson down any, who told me, “I’m probably more inspired now, because during the heydey all you have time to do is do press and ride around and do concerts. There’s not much time to write something original.”
So, though she has a soft spot for covers because “a good song is a good song,” she’s continuing to write, record and perform her own songs under her own name -- whether that be the Ann Wilson Thing or Ann Wilson of Heart.
When she comes to the Belly Up on Sunday, May 21, it will be like “the Ann Wilson Thing on super steroids with a full video program for every song. It’s a two hour show with four re-envisioned Heart songs, some new originals and some really fantastic covers,” Wilson revealed.
This is a chance to witness not only a slice of rock & roll history but also a slice of San Diego history. Get tickets here.
Rutger Rosenborg was almost a Stanford neuroscientist before he formed Ed Ghost Tucker. He now plays in the Lulls and makes music on his own when he's not writing. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.