(Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song

This gives me nostalgia pangs. Not because I’m anywhere near old enough to remember Heart in their heyday. Just because I remember loving Dreamboat Annie when I was a young teen, and being very excited about owning it on cassette tape. Ann and Nancy Wilson deservedly earned their reputation as the hardest rocking ladies of their time. Heart worked hard to be taken seriously as a female fronted rock band in the sexist seventies. So, yes, absolutely their guitar hero status is well earned. I’m glad they chose to kick down all those boundaries, but if they hadn’t they’d still be remembered, if less admired, for the other side of their talent. The beauty of their quiet moments and their melodic love songs would be enough to build a career, though if that’s all they’d focused on, they’d still be stuck in the same ‘girly music’ ghetto where Joni Mitchell is kept. I think that Heart really walked a very tricky tightrope with their sound and their image. They played balls-out rock music that earned them comparisons to Led Zeppelin, but they didn’t pretend to be ‘bad girls’ or tough cookies, or pass themselves off as ‘just one of the boys’. They maintained a feminine sensibility in their work; their songs were intimate, emotional, and always felt personal and sincere. Ann and Nancy were pretty girlish girls – they named their band Heart for gawd’s sake! But they were so great at what they did that they managed to succeed in a particularly aggressively male dominated corner of the already male dominated music industry without wiping out their femininity or compromising their point of view. Although they did eventually succumb to patriarchal industry standards in pretty embarrassing ways, such as when they attempted to hide Ann Wilson’s weight gain in the 80’s, overall they really did a lot to establish a place for themselves (and for others who came after) without being molded into some kind of sexy novelty item.


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