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Music Review: Heart – Dreamboat Annie

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Heart was officially formed in 1973 when guitarist Roger Fisher, bassist Steve Fossen and vocalist Ann Wilson joined together after being members of various bands during the late sixties and early seventies. Wilson’s sister, guitarist Nancy Wilson, joined in 1974. By the time their first album was released a few years later, Howard Leese came aboard as the keyboardist and future full-time drummer Mike DeRosier was featured on several of its tracks.

Their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, was first released in Canada and then in the United States on February 14, 1976. It was an immediate hit, reaching number seven on the United States album charts, and achieved a platinum award for sales.

At this point in its career, Heart was still a band, but the Wilson sisters had already begun to exert control. They co-wrote wrote nine of the 10 tracks on the record and wrote the remaining track with the rest of the band. In addition, Ann, as the lead vocalist, was the centerpiece and main focus of the band.

It was an auspicious first album. The music had a rawer feel than their later polished sound that would propel them to further stardom. It was hard rock with a bluesy sound mixed in. It all added up to one of the better debut albums of the seventies

The album’s first track was the Top 10 hit single “Magic Man.” Ann Wilson’s vocal immediately grabs you. It was instantly recognized that she possessed one of those rare voices that was a gift. The other Top 40 single, “Crazy On You,” was an anxious and urgent rocker. The acoustic intro led to a building electric guitar sound with a repeated riff that continued throughout the song.

There is a lot to like about the album. “Soul Of The Sea” is a nice guitar ballad with strings. “White Lightning and Wine” is a bluesy rocker and a forgotten gem in their large catalog of material. “Sing Child,” which is the only group composition on the album, has a guitar jam in the middle that presents early Heart as a true band. “How Deep It Goes” is another rock/blues outing.

When this debut effort was first released, it seemed as if Heart just appeared on the music scene out of nowhere. Thirty-four years later, the Wilson sisters are now recognized as lasting rock superstars. If you want to explore the music of Heart, Dreamboat Annie is the place to start.

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