Ann Wilson Recalls Leaving The Driver’s Seat To Revive Heart

Ann Wilson recently opened up about the struggles and triumphs of Heart in an interview with Classic Rock. The candid conversation shed light on how the band reinvented themselves after a low point in their career by leaving the driver’s seat.

Following the release of their 1983 album, ‘Passionworks,’ Heart found themselves at a crossroads. The album’s underwhelming performance led to the band being dropped from their label, Epic Records. Wilson sisters were then forced to reevaluate their approach to music and their overall direction.

In 1985, Heart bounced back with the release of their self-titled album, which proved to be a game-changer. Nancy and Ann Wilson had to step out of their comfort zone and work with outside songwriters to create a hit album. Although it was initially difficult for the sisters to relinquish control, the decision ultimately paid off.

According to Ann, giving up the creative driver’s seat was a challenging process. She stated that they had to make ‘a devil’s bargain‘ to revive Heart after the disappointing success of ‘Passionworks.’ Following the success of ‘Heart,’ it was still hard for the sisters to accept that other people’s songs got the band to the top of the charts.

Here is what Ann Wilson said about the makings of ‘Heart’:

“It took Nancy and I a couple of bangs over the head with a sledgehammer to really understand that using outside songwriters was a good thing for us because we had previously written everything. The type of stuff we were writing was not the type of stuff that was being accepted by the radio.

So, we kept giving our songs to the pile that were under consideration for the ‘Heart’ record. Maybe, sixty percent of them were songs that Nancy and I wrote, but the forty percent were the ones that were getting used. That sounds funny because you’d think Nancy and I would be in the driver’s seat on that, but at that time, we were not.

She continued:

“It was hard because we really liked the success that it brought – a lot. But we really felt uncomfortable about the fact that we’d worked all those years and written all those songs, and it took other people’s songs to get us Number Ones. So it was sort of a devil’s bargain. But I’m not going to lie to you and say that someone else tied our hands and made us do it. We did it of our own free will. It’s just that later on, when it became expected of us, that’s when we really went, okay, this is enough.”

Despite the initial discomfort of not writing their own hit songs, the Wilson sisters found that embracing change and collaboration could lead to great things. The story of Heart’s reinvention is a perfect example that sometimes, stepping out of our comfort zone can lead to incredible results.