Heart: In the Studio
Jake Brown
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Buy *Heart: In the Studio* by Jake Brown online

Heart: In the Studio
Jake Brown
ECW Press
252 pages
June 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Note: This reviewer had/has a very unique relationship with Heart. Back in the days just before they were really starting to hit, I had an opportunity to see the band. I had an opportunity to fly to Vancouver from Los Angeles to interview Nazareth. After interviewing the band, they told me about this great Zeppelin cover band that were playing in town. We all went to see them and, indeed, they had the Zeppelin thing nailed. Ann Wilson sounded exactly like Robert Plant, and guitarist/sister Nancy had all of Jimmy Page's licks down cold.

Following their set, guitarist Roger Fisher came over to our table to say hello. He recognized the Nazareth guys, of course, and they introduced me as a writer from Guitar Player Magazine. Roger knew about the publication and was asking me some questions.

What did I think of the band, he inquired.

"Well, you sound exactly like Zeppelin. Very cool. The only thing though..."

"What?" Fisher asked.

"Well," I said, absolutely serious, "the band is great but you need to lose the girls. You'll never make it with two girls in the band."

Roger smiled. Shortly thereafter, Heart released "Magic Man" on the Dreamboat Annie album and went on to to massive fame, including having this book written about them.

When they were on the road, Fisher would send me letters and and gently joke, "What do you think? Should we still get rid of the girls?"
Anyway, that is only meant to illustrate how stupid I was - and how narrow-minded most rock fans were - back in the day. Women in rock were pretty rare things, and having two females in one band was almost unheard of.

But this book explains why they were able to do what they did. The Wilson sisters were extraordinarily talented musicians. Beyond all of it, though, was the sheer musicality of Heart: they had great songs. The author looks at the band from this angle, analyzing songs and albums. Extensive interviews with the members, producers, and co-writers paint a really complete picture of this creative process.

End note: I am still in contact with Roger Fisher. He is no longer in the band (and has not been for many years). Author Brown talks about that as well, the sort of incestuous relations that existed between the guitarist and the Wilsons. He emails me from time to time, and with every message I cringe - hoping he won't bring up three of the stupidest words I've ever uttered: "Lose the girls!"

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2008

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