Before we proceed with this evening’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantheon (RNRP) induction ceremony–not to be confused with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHOF)–we have an important announcement.
A few inductions ago it was revealed, unfortunately, that the secret location of the cavernous RNRP facility is in fact somewhere in the vicinity of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. For some reason, some fan(s) of the RNRP have wrongly figured the secret location to be Del Floria’s Tailor Shop, and have been coming to the shop—without bringing any garments for tailoring—and have even tried to enter what they presume to be the cavernous RNRP facility, preposterously via the dressing room!
Where they got this idea, we’ll never know. But our friends at Del Floria’s have thereby asked us to state that the RNRP is not located at Del Floria’s. So we repeat: The RNRP is not located at Del Floria’s! And they would like us to further announce that the dressing room is for customers only, which we hereby do.
And now for an induction that needs no introduction: Ann and Nancy Wilson–Heart.
Before Heart, how many heavy rock girl groups–or mixed gender groups fronted by girls–were there? Some would say none, and if by that they mean none with a vocalist who could hold her own with a Robert Plant or Roger Daltry or even Rob Halford, they would be right.
Indeed, Heart covered Led Zepp’s “The Battle Of Evermore” and even got John Paul Jones to produce their 1995 acoustic live hits album The Road Home. But Ann Wilson’s awesome vocal power never got in the way of a song, as evidenced by any of the great Heart hit singles–“Magic Man,” “Crazy On You,” “Barracuda,” etc.–that always seemed to demand attention, thanks to her operatic vocal intensity.
And what about sister Nancy’s guitar work? Let’s bring one great guitarist in to induct another great guitarist–and her stellar vocalist sister.
Thank you, Sharon Isbin!
Sharon, of course, is the renowned Grammy-winning classical guitarist whom critics have acclaimed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time” and “the Monet of the classical guitar.” We’re thrilled to have you here, Sharon, but please explain how you, a great classical guitarist, are such a fan of Heart.
“It’s the rock group I listened to all the time in college! And one of my favorite Heart songs is ‘Dreamboat Annie,’ which I recorded last year on my Sharon Isbin & Friends album. Nancy Wilson is a wonderful guitarist and would have to be included among my heroes—and she played on our version!”
That’s wonderful! But we still don’t understand why you like Heart so much….
“What drew me to them was their extraordinary energy and lyricism—and there’s the immediacy and compelling message that you feel listening to their music, that’s very visceral and exciting–and about life.”
For sure! How would you characterize Nancy as a guitar player?
“She’s a brilliant guitarist! That’s what attracted me in particular in inviting her to play on Friends, because it was a guitar tribute album also featuring guitarists like Steve Vai, Stanley Jordan and Steve Morse. As a guitar player, she has a real sensitivity for color, which is one of my hallmarks as a guitar player. And she captures the broadest possible spectrum of timbres and colors, and when we went into the studio I was amazed at all the kinds of sounds she was able to produce and create in our arrangement of ‘Dreamboat Annie’ when we combined our two guitars together: It’s most definitely reflected in her work in Heart, and because it’s such an intimate ballad, its even more transparent in showing her ability in expressing details and nuances.”
And she also sang on the track?
“Yes! She ended up displaying her vocal prowess as well by singing the lines that her sister usually does. So It was amazing for me to hear the song performed with the artist that I idolized many years ago–who I was actually in the studio with and recording with!”
And what about Ann?
“She’s just a powerhouse, and so riveting as a performer! Her voice just carries such tremendous stength and depth and immediacy. And Heart’s songs have such variety: That’s one of the real measures of brilliance! But both Ann and Nancy are songwriters and extraordinary collaborators, and are able to create such wide horizons of music that appeal to many different emotions and contexts.”
Thank you, Sharon! Hey! Isn’t there a documentary about you coming out?
“Yes! That’s so nice of you to ask! It’s called Rocket Girl: Have Guitar Will Travel–The Sharon Isbin Story. It’s an hour long and was filmed over the last four years in HD. It shows a lot of my collaborations and features artists and composers including Nancy, along with Joan Baez, Santana, Tan Dun, Steve Vai, Leslie Gore, Stanley Jordan and Mark O’Connor.”
Lesley Gore? You know she’s a RNRR inductee!
“Yes, of course!”
Well, we can’t wait to see the documentary when it’s finished! And we can’t thank you enough,for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us tonight and induct Heart into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantheon! If there’s ever a Classical Music Pantheon, we’re nominating you!
And as for Ann and Nancy Wilson, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantheon now has a Heart.
Previously inducted into The Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantheon:
David Johansen and the New York Dolls
Joan Jett and The Runaways
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