As I have been reading Ann & Nancy Wilson’s “Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll”, which the sisters co-wrote with journalist and biographer Charles Cross, I find that not only did they live up to my recently-written expectations that they were going to write the book on Heart, they also went beyond that to write a lot about themselves, as well.
It’s no surprise that Ann & Nancy offer their side of the story on how the sisters struggled to be accepted as women fronting a rock band, as well as what inspired such classics as “Magic Man” and “Barracuda” to be written; not to mention Ann dealing with issues concerning her weight, and how she and Nancy became mothers.
But the sisters also write about a few things you might not have ordinarily known–like how they were descended from a 17th-century “axe slayer”, as well as how their father, a commissioned Marine officer, helped resolve an issue that would’ve kept Heart from their first big US tour in the mid-1970’s. No sense spoiling the latter excerpt here; you’ll want to read the book and find out.
The sisters also write about how growing up with a Marine for a father meant lots of moving around, even to Taiwan, before they settled in the Seattle area during the 1960’s, as well as how watching the Beatles’ first appearance on TV in 1964 inspired them to become rock stars, particularly in ’66 when they and a couple of their friends decided to form an all-female rock band.
Among many of the other stories in “Kicking and Dreaming”, Nancy writes about the time in 1971 when, during her senior year of high school, she applied to work part-time at a Seattle restaurant, but when that establishment wouldn’t let her bus tables, work in the kitchen or even seat the customers, she ended up getting booked for a few live gigs as a solo guitarist. And as we approach the US elections this November, Nancy also reminds readers of what happened when “Barracuda” was being used as theme music for Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign.
If you’ve enjoyed Heart all these years, like I have, then “Kicking and Dreaming” is definitely worth reading and full of those great, and not-so-great, moments that Ann & Nancy have experienced. And if you’ve become a Heart fan in just the last decade or so, or, at the very least, don’t know much about Heart, or the Wilson sisters, then you’ll enjoy reading about what made them famous, and the trouble they had to go through on that proverbial road to stardom.
You can find “Kicking and Dreaming” online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other online and brick-and-mortar places where books are sold.