odi et amo – Alone by Heart

Listen to Roxy Music’s Same Old Scene. It’s Roxy years after Eno left and just before the puke-worthy Avalon. I hated that garbage, but I loved that song. As Catullus says, Odi et amo.

Since writing that post, other songs keep cropping up that fall into the same category. I have a list and at the top is Alone by Heart.

Wedged in Seattle’s music history somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana lies Heart. In the Star Wars end of the Seventies they rocked out with songs like Barracuda and Crazy on You. It is well worth looking at that Crazy on You video to notice a few things:

  1. Ann Wilson is an amazing singer.
  2. Nancy Wilson is a kick-ass guitar player.
  3. Luke Skywalker used to sneak out from Aunt Beru’s place to play guitar in Heart.
  4. Ann Wilson is hot.



In the late Eighties we forgot punk and were punished with power ballads, lycra and huge hair. This was a bad era of music that ended only when Seattle brought forth Nirvana and saved us all. But before the Eighties died, they gave us Alone by Heart.


How bad is this? It ticks all the boxes – piano intro, permed hair, leopard skin, slow verse, chorus dramatics. It is an American Idol favorite. I’d never get to the second minute except for point 1 above – Ann Wilson is an amazing singer.

The video has Ann either in headshot or off in the distance, because the producer must have thought that fat chicks can’t sell records. So Nancy, the quiet frump of the Crazy for You video, is now the prancing, high kicking star and Ann the babe is now the fat Goth chick singing from the balcony. There’s a sense of injustice you feel when watching the video.

How did this affect their relationship? Ten years earlier Ann was the star and here in ‘87 she is pushed off into the background while all attention is on Nancy. It must have been tough for them but they made it through the wilderness. I’ve seen several interviews with them and their sisterly affection is obvious. They still perform together.

The song is written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the team that also gave us Like a Virgin, True Colors and Eternal Flame. But for all the talents of Madonna, Cyndi and Susanna, they don’t have anything to compare to the voice of Ann Wilson.


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