Ann Wilson has looked back on the demise of Heart’s original lineup, noting the group was doomed by “emotional hardship.”

“It's hard to describe what it was like when that lineup disbanded,” Wilson explained during an appearance on the Broken Record podcast. “We couldn't get along anymore and things got really difficult between us.”

Though the band had cycled through several musicians in its early years, they settled on a lineup in 1973 around the same time they adopted the name Heart. In addition to Ann Wilson and her sister, Nancy, the band featured guitarist Roger Fisher, bassist Steve Fossen, drummer Michael Derosier and keyboardist Howard Leese. Heart achieved multi-platinum success in the ‘70s with their first four albums, but things within the band began falling apart.

“It seemed like the thing that made Heart unusual, which was men and women working together as equals, was breaking down. And that very thing was the thing that was driving us apart from each other,” Wilson recalled. “We would just squabble, right down gender lines. It would just be really difficult, the men gossiping about the girls and the girls gossiping about the men.”

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The singer also noted jealousy as a factor, acknowledging that the overwhelming attention that was heaped on the Wilson sisters “really hurt the men's feelings and made them angry.” There was also the matter of extracurricular activities on the road.

“It didn't help that Nancy and I never looked that fondly on the whole world of groupies,” Ann confessed. “Having to explain to the band wives, ‘No, nothing goes on out there,’ you know, lie to them all the time, it just got to be weird.”

Heart Has Endured Many Lineup Changes

Heart underwent a major lineup change in 1979 and again in 1982. With the exception of the Wilson sisters, the band’s personnel has routinely been in flux ever since.

“I always go into every new iteration of the band totally optimistic, because the world is full of good people and just because you play out your relationship with some people doesn't mean you don't have one with others,” Wilson explained, noting that Heart has been “really fortunate to play with some great musicians over the years.”

Still, no lineup change has been as difficult as the first one.

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“We never again encountered the same kind of emotional hardship we did with that first lineup," the singer admitted. “I think it was because we all started out, we were poor and destitute, and then we had all the success and there was all this money that came in, and money changes everything and everybody gets kind of different.”

On a positive note, Heart’s original members are on good terms now, decades after their breakup. Not only did the musicians reunite for Heart's 2013 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but Wilson confirmed that her former bandmates "all showed up" at the group's concert in Seattle at the start of 2024.

Heart Albums Ranked

This list of Heart Albums, Ranked Worst To Best, wasn't an easy one to compile, because unlike many long-running groups, the band has never made a bad record.

Gallery Credit: Annie Zaleski

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