July 1985: Heart Makes Dramatic Comeback with "Heart"

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart performing at the Holiday Star Theater in Merrillville, Indiana, February 7, 1984. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
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(Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

By the summer of 1985, Heart was on life support. After soaring to the top of the rock world in the 1970s, the band led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson had fallen on hard times in the early '80s. The group's final two albums for Epic Records, Private Audition and Passionworks, both underperformed, resulting in Heart getting dropped from the label.

RELATED: May 1977: Heart Releases "Little Queen"

It was Capitol Records to the rescue, signing Heart to give them a new start in the rock and roll rat race. The group was hardly dead in the water, with Passionworks single "How Can I Refuse" rising to the top of the Mainstream Rock charts, and singer Ann Wilson scoring a hit with Mike Reno of Loverboy on the Footloose duet, "Almost Paradise."

"It was the newly MTV era at that point. We put on the costumes and had fun," Nancy Wilson said about the 1985 self-titled release on In the Studio with Redbeard. "We got out the flashpots, got the record company, got the budgets, got the videos going, and made sort of like a comeback when Heart's career was really flagging."

The comeback came at a price. The label exerted extreme control over the making of the record and the videos that promoted the release. Connecting with new producer Ron Nevison, the Wilson sisters poured over his collection of demo tunes as well as their own new songs to start making the record. Once they'd gotten down to what seemed like the final tracklist for the LP, Nevison pulled out one more song. While he claimed it wasn't exactly a "Heart" song, it featured lyrics by Elton John's legendary lyricist, Bernie Taupin. The song was "These Dreams."

"I had one of those moments were I knew I that I could sing that song," Nancy Wilson remembered. "I just really fell for it. I basically begged them to let us try it. I kind of got pushy about it." The song went on to be the third single from the record, and Heart's first #1 on the Hot 100 in March 1986.


It was June 1, 1985, when Heart released "What About Love," the first single from Heart. The tune shot up the charts to peak at #10 on the Hot 100 for the week of August 24, 1985. The #1 song in America that week: Huey Lewis and the News' "The Power of Love."

The second single from Heart, "Never," arrived in September 1985. An even bigger hit than "What About Love," "Never" would make it all the way to #4 on the Hot 100 for the week of December 7, 1985. The #1 song in the country that week: Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings."

After "These Dreams" topped the charts, the fourth single from the LP, "Nothin' at All," rocked up the charts to peak at #10 in June 1986.

Heart would squeeze one more single out of the album with "If Looks Could Kill," which ran out of gas on the Hot 100 at #54.

Released on July 6, 1985, Heart was exactly the comeback album the group needed. It became the band's first #1 album on the Billboard 200 over the week of December 21, 1985.

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