NANCY WILSON On HEART's Mid-80s Reinvention - "I Still Feel A Little Disappointed That We Had To Sacrifice Artistry For The Sake Of Sales, But That Was Our Choice... We Knew What We Were Doing"
April 5, 2018, a year ago
In Issue #7 of the UK-based Rock Candy Magazine, guitarist Nancy Wilson gives a searing appraisal of her band Heart’s decision to embrace the MTV-era in a brand new interview.
Speaking exclusively to Rock Candy writer Malcolm Dome, Nancy explained how Heart had reached a very difficult career moment after two albums, 1982’s Private Audition and Passionworks from a year later, had failed to match the band’s earlier successes.
“We were so full of egotism at that time that we lost sight of where we needed to go musically,” admits Nancy candidly. “All of us should have been a little more willing to realize we were getting some good advice from people on the business side of things. Yet we really believed we knew best and so could ignore anything we were being told. It was a stupid mistake on our part, and suddenly it looked like things were disappearing.”
With the band’s contract with Epic Records at an end, Nancy acknowledges that, “there was no enthusiasm from the company to renew it. I can understand why there were a lot of people wanting to write us off.”
Signing a new deal with Capitol Records, Nancy has no qualms in revealing that Heart, “made a conscious decision to redefine ourselves, to reinvent ourselves and to do whatever we were asked to do by the record company or management. ‘You want us in high heels? OK.’ ‘You want me to wear a corset? No problem.’ ‘The hair has to be bigger? Sure, we'll do that.’"
Heart may have given up artistic control and bowed to record company demands to bring in outside writers like Holly Knight and Jim Vallance, the hit makers of the day. But the changes certainly worked, as the ‘Heart’ album made it to #1 on the Billboard album charts and sold in excess of five million copies in the US alone.
“It could have gone so wrong for us,” says Nancy today. “But we did whatever was asked of us and everything came out in our favour. I still feel a little disappointed that we had to sacrifice artistry for the sake of sales, but that was our choice. We knew what we were doing.”
Read the whole of this revealing article, and many more fascinating features, in Issue #7 of Rock Candy Mag, available in shops worldwide and direct online here.