Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson in "What About Love?"
Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.
"What About Love?"
After having penned '70s rock gems such as "Crazy On You," "Barracuda" and "Magic Man," Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson found themselves at a career crossroads in 1984. Their last two albums, 1982's Private Audition and 1983's Passionworks, failed to light up the charts. Subsequently, Heart were dropped by their label, Epic Records. While some artists might have packed it in and called it a career, rock's reigning sister duo took a sabbatical and charted a course for Heart 2.0.
First, Heart — which at this point consisted of the Wilsons, guitarist Howard Leese, drummer Denny Carmassi, and bassist Mark Andes — scored a new deal with Capitol Records. Musically, the band teamed with master producer Ron Nevison to record a new album. Nevison would prove instrumental in helping the band refine an updated, polished pop/rock sound and sought contributions from some of the hottest songwriters, including Jim Vallance, Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, and Holly Knight. With MTV in full bloom, the band also received a full makeover, with stylists and makeup artists transforming their image into a glossy '80s style.
With no detail overlooked, Heart 2.0 was set into full motion with the release of Heart in June 1985. The ever-important lead single launching the revamped Heart was "What About Love?" A true product of its era, the glitzy video starts with a modest plot: the band finishing a gig and heading for the tour bus. While Nancy catches some z's with her axe, a lonesome Ann makes her way to the back of the bus to contemplate how love has eluded her. The plot thickens (or gets more confusing depending on your viewpoint) as Ann dons a welder's mask and the ravishing Nancy emerges from a gold-encrusted mold. Throw in big hair, big outfits, big makeup, big sets, big pyrotechnics, and a Gone With The Wind paperback, the video's not only fun, it's bemusing.
One lesser-known fact about "What About Love?" — it was originally released by pop/rock band Toronto in 1983, featuring vocals by Holly Woods. The song was written by Toronto's Brian Allen and Sharon Alton with Vallance. (More trivia: Heart's version features background vocals by Starship's Mickey Thomas and Grace Slick. And for you Gen Y'ers, you know the song from those Swiffer Wet Jet commercials.)
In collecting songs for the Heart album, Nevison thought the power of Ann Wilson's voice could take "What About Love?" to a new level. That proved prophetic as the song raced to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Heart 2.0 was not only a success, it was an explosion. The 1985 self-titled album became Heart's first No. 1 album and spawned additional Top 10 hits with "Never," "Nothin' At All" and "These Dreams" — with all videos garnering heavy rotation on MTV. The latter song, sung by Nancy and written by Page and Taupin, netted Heart their first No. 1 single.
While the band would go on to enjoy further success with Bad Animals (1987), Brigade (1990) and Desire Walks On (1993), Heart 2.0 ran its course by the mid-'90s. The Wilsons retreated once again, only to re-emerge at the dawn of the new millennium. With a new lineup and the sisters back in creative control, Heart released a live album, Alive In Seattle, in 2003 and their first studio album in more than a decade, Jupiter's Darling, in 2004. Red Velvet Car, their latest studio album, was released in 2010 and debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, Heart's highest chart debut ever. The Wilson sisters have kept Heart active on the concert trail, and have both a new album and memoir in the works for 2012.
With Heart's position nestled comfortably as one of the top female-led rock bands of all time, the Wilsons can now reflect on the '80s with a bit of a wink. But when asked about the grandiose videos and lavish costumes, the sisters are also reminded of the pain they went through for Heart 2.0. "It actually makes my feet hurt to think about it," joked Nancy in a 2007 interview.
Have you found yourself in the back of a bus asking, "What about love?" Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.