This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #208: Crazy On You by Heart.
Ann and Nancy Wilson, have been making music together for almost a half-century now. They originally began their careers in the state of Washington and lived, for awhile, very close to the Canadian border. This comes into play because, after being involved with a variety of local bands in their home town in the 1970s, the sisters met two musicians; one of whom ended up being drafted by the US Army for combat at the tail end of the Vietnam War. Not wanting to serve, he fled across the border into Canada and was declared an official “draft dodger”. Because young love was at stake, the Wilson Sisters followed their beau across the border and ended up living in Vancouver. It was in Vancouver that the girls ended up being “discovered”, signed to a recording contract and releasing an album. That album became known as “Dreamboat Annie” and contained songs such as “Magic Man”, “Crazy on You” and the title track, “Dreamboat Annie”. Not a bad debut at all!
Although both sisters are multi-talented, Ann is mostly known as the singer and Nancy is mostly known as the guitar player. One of the things that has made Heart so appealing to so many fans is the strength of Ann’s voice and the power of Nancy’s guitar style. When they first toured in support of “Dreamboat Annie”, many fans and critics were blown away that two young women could rock so hard. In many ways, the Wilson Sisters helped blaze a trail for many other female rockers to follow. Heart have sold over thirty million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
The song, “Crazy on You” is noteworthy for several reasons: first of all, there is an introductory, acoustic guitar part played by Nancy Wilson that is, somewhat, slow and intricate and is a good showcase for her guitar virtuosity. That introductory segment is called, “Silver Wheels” which then, gives way to a quick change in tempo and the song really kicks into high gear. The song structure was inspired by a Moody Blues song that was popular at the time called, “Question”. The content of the lyrics revolves around the quest to evade the Vietnam War and the Wilson Sisters belief that Love trumps War.
Overall, “Heart” have much to be proud of as they look back over the course of their career. They have sold millions of records. They have had #1 chart-topping records in tunes like “Alone”, “What About Love”, “Never” and “These Dreams”. They are the darlings of Classic Rock Radio with such early work as “Barracuda”, “Heartless” and the afore-mentioned songs from their debut, “Dreamboat Annie”. They are skilled performers and broke through glass ceilings for female musicians; be they singers (who wrote their own songs) or as lead guitarists. Through it all, those stuck by their principles and opted for Love over the siren song of fake patriotism that fuels the War Machine in the US. While they are no longer actively releasing albums, Heart are still performing to sold out crowds.
For now, let’s go back to where it all began. From their induction ceremony at “The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame”, here is one of the first big hits that helped establish Heart as a musical force: “Crazy on You” from their debut album, “Dreamboat Annie”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Crazy On You” by Heart, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Heart, can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.