3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs by Heart

Where would classic rock be without Heart? The powerful sister-led band was singular in the 1970s. Fronted by not one but two women—siblings Ann and Nancy Wilson—the group burst onto the scene in 1975 with their debut LP Dreamboat Annie. And from then on, with Nancy on the six-string and Ann providing the lightning-bolt vocals, the band created an undying legacy.

Videos by American Songwriter

At the time, there were few outfits that could match the power of the British-born band Led Zeppelin. But Heart could. They still can. The band, which is thankfully back on tour these days, had a largesse that rivaled the “Stairway to Heaven” boys. And along the way, Heart created some indelible songs that continue to stand the test of time. Here below, we wanted to dive into a trio of their eternal hits.

[RELATED: Nancy Wilson Tells The Story Behind Heart Epic “Crazy On You”]

“Magic Man” from Dreamboat Annie (1975)

This song is about a young, impressionable girl interacting with an older, more experienced man. Meanwhile, the girl’s mother is dubious and worried. Mom even calls her daughter and begs her to return home. Written by the sisters, lead singer Ann Wilson has said the track is about her then-boyfriend, Heart’s manager Michael Fisher. Ann, who later sung the song with Dolly Parton on Parton’s 2023 rock LP Rockstar, told American Songwriter the track is her “leaving home song.” On it, she sings,

Cold, late night so long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A pretty man came to me
I never seen eyes so blue
You know, I could not run away it seemed
We’d seen each other in a dream
Seemed like he knew me, he looked right through me, yeah

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“You don’t have to love me yet, let’s get high awhile
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, I’m a magic man”

“Barracuda” from Little Queen (1977)

Another song about a man with dubious intentions, this track is a bit more sinister in that it was written about a conniving person. Nancy Wilson told American Songwriter the song is about a “sleazy guy” who insinuated the sisters were lovers. Nancy adds, “We were just young enough, just idealistic enough, to take it pretty badly and have a lot of anger around it, insult around it. So Ann went and fired off those words and we finished it maybe that night or the next day.” On the explosive track, Ann sings,

Back over time, we were all tryin’ for free
You met the porpoise and me, oh, oh, oh
No right, no wrong, selling a song
A name, whisper game

And if the real thing don’t do the trick
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn to the wick
Ooh, barracuda, oh, yeah

“Crazy on You” from Dreamboat Annie (1975)

A song about love and passion during wartime, this track has to do with all the pent-up energy that comes during fearful moments. Nancy told American Songwriter, “When Ann was writing the lyrics, I know that she was—the times were very troubled, kind of like today. Very much like today. And, you know, it was kind of a call to your partner to be like, ‘I know the world is just insanely crazy here right now. But I just want us to go crazy together. To let it all just fall away so it’s only just you and me here!’ So, I think that’s a really cool thing that she did in those words for sure.” On the dynamic song, Ann sings,

If we still have time, we might still get by
Every time I think about it, I wanna cry
With bombs and the Devil, and the kids keep comin’
No way to breathe easy, no time to be young

But I tell myself that I was doin’ all right
There’s nothin’ left to do at night
But go crazy on you
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you, oh

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo by Pamela Corey/WireImage

Leave a Reply

Post-Millennial Masterpiece: The Story and Meaning Behind “Tiny Vessels” by Death Cab for Cutie

The Story Behind “Rocks Off” by The Rolling Stones and How a Band in Exile Recorded a Rock Classic