Before chart-topping success, Heart was a local band playing Seattle-area clubs

LB’S NOTE: The following Seattle Times article appeals to me for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’m a long time Heart Fan, and so, it fortuitously turned out, is Gwen the Beautiful
  2. Even now, the Greater Seattle Population Area has a first class local music scene
  3. Seattle’s degree of sophistication and is increasing as its overall population continues to boom
  4. This could very well be the last year that moving from wherever you may be to Seattle and environs is affordable for any but, yep, the 1%
  5. I really love living here!

Okay, so that’s five reasons. But now it’s time for you to read what’s inspired me to carry on here sans sarcasm or snark.

by Jeff Albertson

Long before Heart was a chart-topping, platinum-selling band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and their bandmates were just one of many local bands kicking around the clubs and taverns of the Pacific Northwest.

Heart recorded a slew of Top 10 hits, including “Magic Man,” “These Dreams” and “Alone,” but the band’s early success was forged in dingy taverns and nightclubs — one of which was located on Highway 99 in Shoreline.

In the early 1970s, the band moved from the Seattle area to Vancouver, B.C., where it recorded its breakout hits and found its first commercial success with “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man.”

In the summer of 1976, the band was gigging at the Aquarius Tavern in Shoreline, playing a set that consisted of songs from its debut LP, “Dreamboat Annie,” along with covers by Willie Dixon, Badfinger and Led Zeppelin.

Earlier that year, word-of-mouth buzz about the band was spreading when it caught the ear of Seattle Times music critic Patrick MacDonald. “We play hard, hard rock,” Nancy Wilson told MacDonald in an interview with the Times in February 1976. “But we’re a happy group, never negative. That’s one of our appeals,” Nancy Wilson said.

MacDonald also wrote that by then Heart was one of the biggest groups in Canada, with hit singles and an album that had sold 45,000 copies. Heart toured Canada with big-name acts such as Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart and the Faces, ZZ Top and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

When MacDonald asked the band if they were going to be big stars, Wilson jokingly said: “We’re going to be big, Big, BIG!”

Turns out, she was right.

Heart’s first big show in Seattle was opening for English rock band Supertramp on Friday, March. 19, 1976. In a review of that show, MacDonald, wrote: “… they must have been disappointed because their set was plagued by light and sound problems (because of Supertramp’s elaborate setup, Heart didn’t get a light or sound check before the show) which ruined their momentum.”

Luckily for Heart, the audience didn’t seem to care and responded with a whistling, stomping five-minute ovation calling the band back for an encore — a demand not usually afforded to local openers….

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