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Heart Nominated For Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Heart Nominated For Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

After 35 years of rocking stages around the world and selling millions of albums and charting scads of songs spanning four decades, Heart—led by sisters Ann & Nancy Wilson—have finally gotten a nod from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and are on this year’s list of nominees for 2012 induction.

The general reaction to Heart’s inclusion on this year’s list has been a mix of “Hurray!” and “It’s about friggin’ time!”. It’s been generally thought of as an ongoing snub by the RRHOF powers that be that have left Heart off the nom list year after year. As a matter of fact, it got so galling to fans of the band (and even rock industry insiders), that petitions have been going around for a number of years demanding they be inducted. Hey, if Madonna can be inducted, why not Heart?

I emailed their camp this morning after the announcement for a comment from Ann and Nancy Wilson, and here is what they had to say:

“We are honored to be included among these greats. They have all rocked our lives, and sometimes saved them. We’re very happy!”

-Ann and Nancy Wilson

And happy they should be! This band has produced rock classics like Magic Man, Crazy On You, Barracuda, Straight On, Little Queen, Kick It Out that have become mainstays on radio decade after decade. And those are just a few of their ‘70s gems. Heart engineered a mega-comeback in the mid ‘80s with chart-toppers Alone and These Dreams, plus big hits including What About Love, Never, Who Will You Run To and more.

Heart toured decade after decade and rode waves of popularity that sometimes saw them at the very apex and other times below the radar. Nevertheless, Heart maintained their vision and road warrior rocker attitude and kept on making music. Their tenacity paid off.

Ann and Nancy Wilson should also be celebrated for being on the vanguard of women in rock

After 35 years in the biz, Heart actually achieved a career first with Red Velvet Car. That album debuted in Billboard Hot 200 Album at Number 10. Their highest album debut, ever. The album was a critical and commercial success and fueled a huge North American tour that saw them playing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans.

These achievements aside, Ann and Nancy Wilson should also be celebrated for being on the vanguard of women in rock. Back in the early 1970s, female musicians were typically the backup singers or the ones playing minor instruments. There were women peppered in folk and soft rock, but aside from Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, there were no women who rocked. Then along came Heart.

Powered by Ann’s stunning voice and Nancy’s nimble-yet-aggressive guitar playing (not to mention the rest of the band who were all top drawer musicians in their own right), Heart stood alone as a musical anomaly. For the first time, two women fronted and were the primary writers for a hard rock band. This distinction helped drive their success, but it was a double-edged sword. As women, they faced a tremendous amount of sexism in a male-dominated industry. Yet, they persevered and prevailed.

35 years later, Ann and Nancy Wilson are still an anomaly in a music world filled with auto tuning and lip-syncing. They stand out front, voices raised, guitars blazing and can still rock just about anyone—of any gender—right off the stage.

It’s for all those reasons that Ann and Nancy Wilson (and Heart) deserve this nomination and their place in the pantheon of trailblazers in a genre that continues to grow, change, rock and roll.

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