I know Heart had their biggest success in the ’80s, but I will alway like their stuff from the ’70s more. It rocked a little harder, but could still be just as soft and touching. Nancy Wilson’s vocals seemed more emotional and Ann Wilson’s guitar more inspired.
Heart made some great music during both eras, but on “Magazine” and their other earlier records, the songs seemed more personal. There’s more feeling, more raw emotion, more…Heart.
Well then…Enough said.
One of the finer debut albums by any band, “Dreamboat Annie” spawned three hit singles for Heart: “Magic Man”, “Crazy On You”, and the title track. In addition to those songs, the album contained a wonderful combination of acoustic delicacies, hard rock riffs, and vocal intricacies. The song writing and arrangements on “Dreamboat Annie” are so impressive here that its hard to believe this was a first outing for Heart and not an album by a seasoned rock band.
Heart originally formed in Seattle, Washington but later relocated to Vancouver British Columbia in Canada. “Dreamboat Annie” was originally released in Canada in 1975 on Mushroom Records which had no distribution in the United States. The album sold extremely well in Canada and Mushroom decided to expand into the U.S, releasing “Dreamboat Annie” initially in Heart’s former hometown in 1976. The album did equally impressive there. That success subsequently spread across the U.S. and the success of “Dreamboat Annie” formed a strong foundation for the group’s future popularity.
The success of the “Dreamboat Annie” led to an eventual legal dispute over royalties and a subsequent split between Heart and Mushroom Records. Following the split Heart signed with Epic Records and went on to even greater success, and Mushroom Records went bankrupt. It’s kind of easy to see who got the best end of that deal.
Don’t let the name fool you. Even though, this 1980 double album by Heart, includes a great collection of their most popular songs from the 1970s along with live concert performances, it also contained three brand new tracks from the Seattle rockers as well as a somewhat obscure non-hit from their fifth album. One of the new songs, “Tell It Like It Is” became a new hit for the band, but the other new tracks were strange non-typical offerings from Ann and Nancy Wilson and crew.
“Strange Euphoria” was a somewhat lo-fi funk/dance track that sounds like it could have been recorded live in the studio. “Hit Single” was a collage of voices and odd studio outtakes, that I’m not even sure qualifies as a song, although it is interesting to listen to. It is definitely the most bizarre track Heart ever recorded.
Side four closes out the album with live covers of hits from other bands including a fierce and thundering version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”.
European record buyers kind of got ripped off with this record. Heart wasn’t as popular overseas as they were in the United States, so “Greatest Hits/Live” was released there as a single album with their five biggest hits on one side and five live tracks on the other. They didn’t know what they were missing.