You’ll have to wait a couple more weeks (May 18 at 9 p.m. on HBO, to be exact) to see the big ceremony for the class of 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, which includes Public Enemy, Rush, Donna Summer, Albert King, Randy Newman, and Heart, amongst others. Though Public Enemy got in in its first year of eligibility, mysteriously, the likes of Rush and Heart had to wait over a decade of being eligible to finally get in.
For Heart’s leaders and sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, it is a triumph well deserved, but to be frank, should have been a no-brainer to get this honor a long time ago. Heart wasn’t even nominated until 2011 and when the band got word in late 2012 that it would be inducted, it was officially just their second time on the ballot as a nominee—11 years after first being eligible in 2001, given that 25 years earlier their debut (classic) record Dreamboat Annie came out.
In a male-dominated market, Heart became the first female-fronted hard rock band ever to hit the big time, coming out of the Pacific Northwest in 1976 with Dreamboat, which contained such influential classics such as the sassy hard rocker “Magic Man,” and “Crazy On You,” which, more than any other album track, showcased Ann Wilson’s gifted, soaring vocal chops. Little Queen followed in 1977 and produced the badass hit “Barracuda,” the song with perhaps the most memorable and metal-ish guitar riffs and melodies Nancy Wilson and lead guitarist/song co-writer Roger Fisher ever came up with.
In the early ’80s, albums like Bebe le Strange and its tracks like “Even It Up” didn’t have the impact the band’s ’70s output had but it still won over a new slew of hard rock fans, including rock/metal historian and talk show host Eddie Trunk, while the close of the decade and early ’90s saw the Wilson sisters put out more pop-rock material (including Bad Animals and Brigade) that got a lot of airplay, especially on MTV. Even with a slight decline in popularity in the early ’80s and parts of the ensuing decades, Heart never lost its relevance or mass appeal for good, and their live shows, even in recent years, are still raved about. With Top 10 albums in every decade of its existence (the ’70s through the 2010s), their influence and relevance in rock speaks for itself.
Heart is one of the most enduring hard rock bands of all-time, still playing out – you can find Heart tickets for their tour with Jason Bonham that starts in mid-June – and still putting out records, including its most recent and 14th studio album, 2012’s Fanatic, which gets back to the band’s hard rock and folk rock roots.
Come Saturday night, May 18, you can see for yourself Heart get inducted at the 2013 Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony (which actually took place live in Los Angeles on April 18). Longtime admirers and fans like Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam will be seen jamming with the band, and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell will be seen officially inducting them. In other words, it’s must-see TV, especially for those who appreciate one of the pioneers of female hard rock. It may have taken a long time to get enshrined in the Hall, and the wait to see the broadcast may be ridiculously long (a full month!), but with the likes of prog rock warriors Rush and hip-hop innovators Public Enemy also joining Heart as fellow inductees, it sure looks like it it will be well worth the wait.