Just when it seemed like Ann and Nancy Wilson had finally put their differences aside for the good of their fans, their legacy, and their family, news erupted this week that the Heart civil war is back on. The situation is so dire that a new group called Nancy Wilson’s Heart has been formed where the the guitarist will perform the group’s classic catalog with vocalist Kimberly Nichole.
“I can telegraph to the people coming to the show that they’re gonna hear Heart songs in a whole different way than ever expected,” Nancy Wilson told New York DJ Joe Rock on 102.3 WBAB. “No comparison to Ann singing or Kimberly singing those same songs, just because it’s apples and oranges; you can’t compare that stuff. So I figure [the new band name is] a way to let them know that it’s not just Nancy Wilson of Heart doing whatever, but it’s Nancy Wilson’s Heart where you’re gonna hear more Heart stuff.”
According to Nancy Wilson, Heart had a “big offer” to tour last year. The only reason it didn’t happen was because the sisters couldn’t agree on which members to bring along as their backing band. “Ann wasn’t interested in going out with my lineup of guys that we were out with before,” she said. “She has a new lineup of guys that she wanted me to join up with. And I sort of [thought] I don’t really know them and don’t have loyalty yet for anybody like that. So I just kind of shined it on and decided [to] go out with my new singer Kimberly.”
Heart previously broke down in 2016 when Ann’s husband Dean Wetter was arrested after a violent incident involving Nancy’s 16-year-old twin sons. They reassembled in 2019 for a successful summer tour with Sheryl Crow, Joan Jett, and Brandi Carlile. It’ll be very sad if that progress is reversed simply because they can’t agree on who should play in their backing band. With all due respect to those fine musicians, none of them were around during the glory days of Heart in the Seventies and Eighties. Fans come to Heart gigs to see Ann and Nancy Wilson. Very few of them care who is on bass, drums, or keyboards.
For a look at Heart in happier days, here’s a video of them playing “Crazy on You” on The Midnight Special in 1977. This was Heart at their Seventies peak. In the aftermath, the non-Wilson members left one at a time. Keyboardist Howard Leese was the last to depart when he left in 1998. They were way past their hitmaking period at this point, but their live show remained stellar.
Kimberly Nichole is a fantastic singer, and she hopefully has a long and bright future in the industry, but Ann is the vocalist Heart fans want to see delivering the classics next to Nancy. Those two have gotten over some pretty bad situations in the past. Let’s hope they find a way to resolve this one soon.