The Cross-Country Origins of Heart

Heart’s roots can be traced back to a high school not far from Seattle, Washington. Like many great rock bands, the origins of Heart stem from several other band lineups and name changes that ultimately led to the iconic band we know today.

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It all started when classmates Steven Fossen and Roger Fisher met at Inglemoor High School in Washington State, 30 minutes south of Seattle. With Fossen on bass and Fisher on guitar, they soon joined forces with lead vocalist Don Wilhelm and drummer Ray Schaefer to form The Army. They frequently performed gigs at local high schools in the Seattle area, in addition to taverns and live music venues.

“I, along with my schoolmate Roger Fisher started the group that would become Heart in October of 1967,” Fossen explained to VW Music. “We were called The Army for the first year; then, we changed the name to Whiteheart in 1968, and in October of 1969, we became Heart. We were a popular band during these years, and members came and went.”

The voice that defines Heart is that of Ann Wilson, who got the gig as the band’s lead singer after responding to an ad Heart posted in the newspaper looking for a singer, drummer and guitarist. “Ann Wilson answered the ad, and she passed the audition. We found Ann to be as driven and ambitious as we were,” Fossen praised.

Heart then emigrated to Canada in 1972 after Wilson fell in love with Fisher’s brother, Mike Fisher, who had fled to Vancouver, Canada, to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, and convinced her bandmates to relocate there. This launched the official Heart lineup of Wilson, Fossen, Fisher, Brian Johnstone on drums, and John Hannah on keyboard. Wilson’s sister Nancy Wilson joined as a fellow vocalist in 1974.

In 1975, the band released their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, the band consisting of members Wilson, Fossen, Fisher, guitarist Howard Leese and drummer Mike Derosier. The album contained two of their biggest hits, “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You,” which were both co-written by the Wilson sisters. The former reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 while the latter peaked inside the Top 40. The album itself hit No. 7 on the Billboard 200.

Heart had another platinum-selling album on their hands with Little Queen in 1977, which spawned the Top 10 hit, “Barracuda.” Other career hits include “Alone,” “What About Love” and “These Dreams.” Fisher was fired from the band after the release of Private Audition in 1982, with Fossen following suit shortly after. Heart’s current lineup consists of Ann and Nancy Wilson, drummer Denny Fongheiser, guitarists Craig Bartock and Ryan Waters, bass guitarist Andy Stoller and keyboardist Dan Walker. Heart was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

“Heart was the culmination of my young man’s dreams and aspirations,” Fossen professed. “The songs I played on are listened to, bought, downloaded, and streamed all over the planet every day. At any given second during the day somewhere, our music is being appreciated.”

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for God’s Love we Deliver

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