Today on our Off the Road series, HPR All Things Considered Host Dave Lawrence welcomes back Nancy Wilson of Heart for the conclusion of her interview. The talented guitarist, vocalist and songwriter returned to the show ahead of being honored next week at the She Rocks Awards. Nancy joined us from her home in northern California.
Nancy Wilson, along with her sister and lead singer Ann, broke through into the often male-dominated world of rock music to lead Heart to international success, releasing their debut album in 1975. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Friday January 22nd Nancy will be honored at the 9th Annual She Rocks Awards in what will be an online ceremony due to the pandemic, complete with a virtual red carpet introduction and Zoom VIP after-show party. It’ll stream live at parade.com/sherocks and believeinmusic.tv.
Nancy spent more than an hour sharing her positive energy and great storytelling. We’ve posted the complete interview below. In part one, which we aired Thursday, explained how the pandemic had heavily impacted her life, from an experience just as the crisis began aboard a cruise ship with her side-project Roadcase Royale, to the recording of her upcoming debut solo album, with all the musicians remotely contributing their parts, including special guests Sammy Hagar, Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses. Below we've included one of the songs from the album, a cover of Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. She also shared how one track is a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, and shared some fun stories relating to when Heart toured with Van Halen.
She also talked about the She Rocks Awards line-up of honorees and how she’ll be participating in their event remotely, even filming some material in advance at her home. Nancy shared personal experiences of meeting some of her ‘super fans’, too, though perhaps the highlight of the conversation was hearing stories of Nancy’s times getting close to her own musical heroes, including Paul McCartney, and how The Beatles were the band that ignited the musical spark in the Wilson sisters.
Today we'll hear the conclusion of our feature, which is based around Heart’s long connection to Led Zeppelin. Nancy explains first seeing the band in concert, the first time meeting Robert Plant in the late 1970's at Knebworth, and eventually getting to honor the band at the Kennedy Center in 2012, performing Stairway to Heaven with the late John Bonham’s son, Jason, while the other three surviving members of the band watched in surprise, all in the company of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Off the Road is a series of interviews with musicians remotely sharing how they’ve been touched by the pandemic and other crises, including hours of conversation and many exclusive musical performances, speaking to artists across the musical spectrum.
Hear the complete interview:
Nancy's cover of Bruce Springsteen's The Rising:
Ann and Nancy, with Jason Bonham, at the Kennedy Center honoring Led Zeppelin:
Heart performing at the massive Cal Jam II, in 1978, in front of an audience of more than 350,000: