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American rock band : Heart, first came to my attention back in 1987 when their massive power ballad 'Alone' was released in the UK and had great chart success. I instantly loved the song and to this day it remains one of my favourite all time songs.
'Alone' was their second single release, (their first struggled to make the Top 70) yet I was surprised to learn that Heart had been around for quite some time and the 80's was in fact their comeback, which saw them go on to achieve greater success than first time around.
Heart had been very successful in America, charting up top ten hits and playing to sell-out crowds from their beginning in the 70's.
Most people would probably think of Heart as sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and indeed they are the only constant members of the band, as well as being the focal point, with the rest of the line up changing over the years.
In 1984, the Wilson sisters decided it was time for a change, after taking time to think and decide if they really wanted to go on and why. Despite their success in their homeland, they felt they needed a new challenge and new direction. Their love of playing being the factor which drove them on. So they changed record labels and worked on a new direction which took them on to achieve more success than they could have imagined.
This greatest hits album was released in 2000.
The tracks :-
1. What About Love?
2. If Looks Could Kill
4. These Dreams
5. Nothin' At All
7. Who Will You Run To
8. There's The Girl
9. Surrender To Me
10. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You
11. I Didn't Want To Need You
12. Tall, Dark Handsome Stranger
14. You're The Voice
15. Back To Avalon
16. Black On Black II
17. Will You Be There (In The Morning)
18. The Road Home
Heart have released studio albums over the years, some of which I have purchased. However, I have my favourite tracks, so when I found a few of them on this greatest hits compliation, I bought it. Ideally, to play some of my favourite Heart tracks in the car on one album. I didn't know at the time of purchasing this that Heart have more than one hits compilation available, but having looked at the tracklists, I feel this one is the best.
Heart have always been described as 'stadium rock'. Their powerful ballads belted out from the amazing voice of Ann Wilson are probably what they will always be remembered for, although they have been capable of producing quite a few harder rock tracks over the years.
Ann Wilson has what has been described as a 'sternum-shattering upper register' but she also can produce a more subtle sound when needed, often blending the two together to provide enough emotion to leave you feeling physically moved by what you have just heard.
Look no further than their massive hit 'Alone' to experience this. Ann delivers a vulnerable vocal as she sings : "I hear the ticking of the clock, I'm lying here, the room's pitch dark" . The verse sets the song up brilliantly for the massive chorus, where she powerfully delivers the lyrics ending with the question : " How do I get you alone?"
I have always loved this track and Ann's final cry of "Alone!" at the end sends shivers down my spine.
More of these vocals are delivered with ease on 'Never' and 'These Dreams', the latter track featuring Nancy on lead vocals which show that it is not just Ann who can deliver an emotive vocal. The tracks are another two powerful ballads in the same vein as 'Alone'. The lyrics often telling a story, of heartache, wanting and loneliness :
"These dreams go on when I close my eyes. Every second of the night, I live another life."
The storytelling lyrics are most apparent on the track "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You", where Ann sings of a one-night stand with a man, where her intent all along was to use the encounter as a way to become pregnant. She later meets the man again, having had a child and explains she did it only because the man she really loves is not able to give her children. It was said that Ann and Nancy did not personally like the lyrics of this song as it went against everything they stood for. Nonetheless it is still a good track.
Whilst Nancy and Ann did write a lot of their own songs. A few were also written for them by popular songwriters such as Diane Warren and Richard Marx.
Heart also demonstrate their ability to 'rock out' here with the inclusion of "Tall, Dark, Handsome Stranger" and "If Looks Could Kill". Whilst it is a treat to have a song included which is not a Heart track, but a collaberation of Ann Wilson with Cheap Trick singer, Robin Zander. "Surrender To Me" is a smooth ballad performed by the pair for the film, "Tequila Sunrise."
Another treat comes in the form of "You're The Voice". Previously only available on a rare radio promo, this heartfelt song was the Wilson sister's response to America's involvement in the 1990 Gulf War.
"Back To Avalon" and "Black On Black II" highlight Heart's musical diversity. The former being largely acoustic driven, whilst the latter is one of those songs that the fans love to hear performed live. Another out and out belter which no doubt contributed to Heart being dubbed as 'Little Led Zeppelin' by Led Zeppelin themselves!
This collection ends with the Wilson sisters self-penned track "The Road Home." Here the story of Heart is brought full circle. The song was recorded during a successful five night run at Seattle's Backstage club in 1994 and it became the title of the band's subsequent live album.
The only thing with a greatest hits collection is that other stand out tracks which weren't released as singles are ignored. Here, however, one or two little gems are included to make it a little bit special. Overall I feel there are quite enough great tracks here to make you happy, but I can also think of another one or two I wish had been included.
If you don't own any studio albums by Heart, all I can say is that if you enjoy their greatest hits, I can guarantee that after listening to this collection you will be seeking out their brilliant studio albums.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 What About Love
2 If Looks Could Kill
4 These Dreams
5 Nothin' At All
7 Who Will You Run To
8 There's The Girl
9 Surrender To Me
10 All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You
11 I Didn't Want To Need You
12 Tall Dark Handsome Stranger
14 You're The Voice
15 Back To Avalon
16 Black On Black
17 Will You Be There (In The Morning)
18 Road Home