November 8, 2012
Anyone wanting the full story on the lives of Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson can find pretty much all of it within the pages of their recently-released book, Kicking & Dreaming. The format of the book is a bit different since each of the sisters took turns authoring their own passages throughout the book with a few sections authored by guests such as their sister Lynn and close friend Sue Ennis. In addition, former Heart managers, producers and band members also got a chance to make their contributions.
This is the story of the Wilson sisters and their journey with Heart from the very beginning. Ann and Nancy seem to hold very little back in this book as they reveal difficult childhood experiences in school and the many relocations they endured as children of a military man. With their decades-long reputation as two of music’s hardest-rocking women, who would have imagined Ann Wilson as a shy, stammering schoolgirl? A far cry from the legendary rock icon she eventually became.
It’s difficult to overestimate the influence The Beatles had on Ann and Nancy Wilson. In the book, the Nancy Wilson describes it this way: “The Ninth day of February of 1964, a lightning bolt came out of the heavens and struck us. We had our life before February 9, and we had our life after.”
Like so many others caught up in the frenzy over the arrival of these long-haired British rockers, Ann and Nancy Wilson first saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. The difference between the Wilson sisters and most other adoring female fans is that they were not interested in being married to one of The Beatles – they were more interested in being The Beatles. The rest, as they say, is history.
As bona fide rock stars, Ann and Nancy Wilson has occasion to rub elbows with some of the music industries most iconic personalities. In some instances they sound as if they were just as star-struck as a fan on the street, driving home the fact that rock stars, movie stars and other celebrities are just human beings just like the rest of us.
Kicking & Dreaming isn’t without what some might consider indiscrete revelations. Ann and Nancy Wilson talk openly about some of their personal relationships. At times Kicking & Dreaming reads like a tell-all book that doesn’t hold back a whole lot. I admit to being a bit surprised by some of their revelations but at the same time, I admire the honesty and courage it must have taken to tell it like it is.
As two of rock’s most-recognized figures, Ann and Nancy Wilson have enjoyed tremendous success and the rewards that come with it. What’s lesser known is the story of their humble beginnings, their ups and downs with Heart through the decades and the challenges they met head on and overcame.
For dedicated Heart fans, Kicking & Dreaming is a must-read. Not only does it chronicle the creation and evolution of Heart but it also tells the story of Ann and Nancy Wilson in great detail. As someone who does not know either of them personally, it’s not possible for me to know what may have been left out of the book, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say very little.