The Austin Chronicle

The Ties That Bind

Rock & Roll books, bound but ungagged

Reviewed by Greg Beets, December 7, 2012, Music

Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll

by Ann and Nancy Wilson, with Charles R. Cross; It Books, 288 pp., $27.99

Growing up on the move in a military family, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson weren't like other girls. When the Beatles arrived, they didn't want to be their girlfriends. They wanted to be the band. "It's not that Ann and I didn't imagine romance as part of our future – because we did – but music was more important," writes Nancy. The trailblazing bandleaders didn't go looking for gender battles with their powerful mix of "blood harmony" and coliseum rock swagger, but their inner barracudas emerged nonetheless. Ann heartbreakingly recounts getting called fat by a junior high school boy she had a crush on, but instead of getting the last laugh, she continues getting dogged about weight by record company execs. Nancy, meanwhile, joined Heart at age 19, just as the band became successful in Vancouver. Her first two serious relationships were with bandmates. As those went south, Heart got upended. An unlikely second act as MTV mainstays followed, the windfall coming at the expense of Heart's original vision, but that carried the Wilsons into yet another role – as elder stateswomen of Seattle music. Although there's plenty of evidence here for a strident polemic about sexism in rock, the sisters make a case simply by telling their story in a relatable way.

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