HEART's ANN WILSON On Battling Sexism In 1980s: 'People Used To Misinterpret Us A Lot'

September 29, 2023

In a new interview with Audacy Check In, HEART's Ann Wilson spoke about how she and her sister Nancy Wilson battled sexism during the 1970s and 1980s.

"I think that people used to misinterpret us a lot," she said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "The only real image for rock women that people understood at that time was like the Lita Ford-type, real, real sexy kind of porn girl image. And Nancy and I have never been that. We've always been more down-to-earth gals that you can go camping with. So I think in the early days, there was a lot of misinterpretation going on. Especially in the '80s, they really wanted Nancy to be the front and center, wearing almost no clothes, jumping off the cliff with a guitar. So she had to go through a lot of that."

She added: "I don't know whether the woman thing in rock was the chicken or the egg, because for a long time, women didn't even attempt to enter the rock scene because it was just too hard. I mean, nobody took you seriously. Nobody gave you any credibility. So you didn't even try. But once a few of us kicked the door open enough to squeeze through, more and more women started to come in and see that it was okay and you could do it. But it's a struggle because you're always gonna be misinterpreted."

Two years ago, Nancy told People magazine that HEART's commercial success stalled as the '80s rolled in and sexism towards the sisters took on a new life.

"It was a harder time to feel taken seriously because of the objectification in the videos and the corsets and the stilettos," Nancy said. "It was the ego-driven style of the cocaine era that we were in, which was not quite as hippie as where we had come from."

Ann has just released a new album with her band TRIPSITTER, "Another Door". A record of all-original material, the LP marks the first time since the 1970s that Ann has written a full-length album collectively with a band. TRIPSITTER features Tony Lucido (bass),Ryan Wariner (guitars),Sean T Lane (drums),and Paul Moak (guitars and keyboards). Tom Bukovac (guitars) was also a primary contributor.

Widely praised as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock, Ann's extraordinarily powerful voice has been sending chills down her audience's collective spine for over five decades, earning record sales of more than 35 million, an induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. "Barracuda", "Crazy On You" and "Magic Man" are among the many songs she's written that now reside in the pantheon of rock's greatest hits.

Last year Ann sang with DISTURBED frontman David Draiman on the duet "Don't Tell Me" from the band's "Divisive" album, and lent her voice to Dolly Parton's rock record "Rock Star" ("Magic Man").

Photo credit: Criss Cain

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