As a hot blooded teenager in the seventies, I was “Crazy On” Ann and Nancy Wilson – the dynamic sibling duo who made the white-hot band, Heart. Radios on my high school campus as well as from the cars of me and my friends blared out the hauntingly beautiful sounds of these equally hauntingly beautiful ladies. Who can forget Magic Man, Crazy On You or Barracuda from those glory days of the seventies?
Well, the Wilson sisters have lived a lot of life, cranked out a lot more music and still perform on stages across the fruited plain and have now written their story for us die-hard fans to read. The book is entitled Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, And Rock & Roll and what an incredible book it is.
With the help of critically acclaimed and bestselling music biographer Charles R. Cross, the Wilson sisters retell the stories – both known and unknown – of their journey from childhood to super-stardom.
Each fan-reader will have their favorites in the book – whether it’s the stories, relationships and inspirations behind hits like Magic Man and Crazy On You; the stories of the inner-band and relationship turmoil; or even the stories of partying and performing with the likes of Stevie Nicks, the Van Halen boys, and the Rolling Stones.
What Boomerocity took away from this book is more of a personal nature: the unique and loving relationship of their parents; the pains and insecurities of the nomadic life as kids of a Marine; the demons that their father wrestled with from the horrors of war; the agony of being different whether because of dress, musical tastes or weight; the insight given into the inter-family dynamic of the Wilson family; the opening of the emotional kimono regarding the sisters loves and loss. Things like these are what make the real person and create the foundation of the personas that are on stage and album. These are the things that make hearts both tick and stop. The Wilson ladies shared a lot of these “warts and all” stories and fans will love them even more as a result of it.
The most interesting thing uncovered is the chauvinistic (do we still use that word? Eh, it worked in the seventies so I’ll use it now) mentality of a left of center music industry. I really didn’t think that existed (tongue firmly planted in cheek, folks). The Wilson sisters entered into the world of rock and roll never dreaming that their gender would be an issue. They were just singers and musicians wanting to rock and roll but they quickly found out just how sexist the industry was and is.
The whole gender issue is summarized by Nancy Wilson in the first sentence in the first paragraph of the first chapter. She talks of the oft-repeated question they get in nearly every interview: “What is it like to be a woman in rock and roll?”
Kicking and Dreaming answers that question clearly, thoroughly and once and for all. Heart fans MUST read this book if they really want to know what makes these iconic women of rock and roll really tick. It’s well worth the price.