Wilson Sisters Talk Heart to Heart

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Ann and Nancy are still at KSAN, talking about sexuality for a Population Institute tape that will be sent to radio stations as public-service messages.

"I learned about sex on my own," says Ann. "I think most people do. My first experience was just hideous, but it had to be that way 'cause I had to do it on the sly, so it couldn't be this beautiful, open thing. I wasn't exactly straight, either. I remember feeling that sex was this great shrouded mystery that I wasn't supposed to even look at, not until I was married."

The Wilsons are asked about the effect on their audience of sexual rock. "Porno rock, as we call it, is really dangerous to young people's minds. Just in the last few years since disco came in, we've seen people become less interested in each other and more interested in each other's bodies. Sex has become this real surface game.

"It's really maddening to us," continues Ann, "as women, to see young girls just lay themselves at the feet of any male who happens to be involved with rock & roll. It's really a sad sight, like sheep to the slaughter. It's so rare now when a girl actually says no. I wonder how many rock & roll babies there are around the world."

After the taping, I ask the Wilsons if they have trouble with groupies. "Us?" says Ann. "We're not really into it, and men, generally, are too proud for that. I don't think they're quite as quick to lay themselves at a girl's feet.

"In a lot of ways," she continues, "it's easier to be a woman in rock. So many doors are open since we're new and different. I think I'll really like it when people stop thinking of it as a novelty" – she does a Steve Martin imitation – " 'Hey, that's freaky, that's weird, they got women in their group.' It'll be neat when it's more commonplace."

The next day, in their dressing room backstage at the Oakland Stadium, the six members of Heart are sitting around after their performance.

Ann is now, as usual, the most vocal. Though there's no sense of tension, the group's founding members, à la Fleetwood Mac, are conscious of the changes wrought by Ann and Nancy. "By being so creative, and coming up with such good ideas," says Roger, wearing only a pair of jogging shorts, "they've challenged us males to do the same."

Both Nancy and Ann are sitting next to Roger, holding his hands. They look like a classically protective nuclear family.

I ask Ann one last question about the particularly bitter lyrics on" White Lightning & Wine," from Dreamboat Annie. The words are about the cannibalistic nature of rock & roll sex:

Sweet little one let me love you some
Take me or leave me alone
The gooder they come, the harder they fall
Turn around you are a nasty joke.

How do the very beautiful, very seductive singing sisters avoid being caught up in all this misery?

"That song was written in anger," Ann replies. "We just try to laugh at it . . . if you fight it, it will drive you crazy. I mean, what can you do?"

This story appeared in the July 28, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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