Posts Tagged ‘Howard Leese’


Cover of Bebe Le Strange (Exp)

Heart is one of the greatest and most enduring hard rock acts to ever come out of the influence of Led Zepplin. They prove they have learned well from the hard rock masters on their 1980 release Bebe Le Strange.

With Bebe Le Strange, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, drummer Mike DeRosier, Howard Leese and Steve Fossen decide to abandon the occasional soft rock that made the “butterfly” portion of their previous album, 1979’s Dog and Butterfly. Instead, they crank up both guitarists Steve Fossen’s and Nancy Wilson’s amps, distort them, and let them go to town. They do this well on such songs as Bebe Le Strange & Rockin’ Heaven Down.

However, the Wilson sisters kick things into overdrive with the hit single Even It Up – which could quite easily be showing the already bare cracks within the band – romantic ones at that. According to VH1’s Behind the Music Remastered, both Ann and Nancy Wilson were romantically involved with manager Mike Fisher and guitarist Roger Fisher – Mike’s brother. Mike started cheating on Ann and Nancy started falling in love with drummer Mike DeRosier while still dating Fisher. Needless to say, shortly after the release of 1984’s Private Audition, these men left the band because nobody messes with the Wilson sisters. Needless to say, all of the drama leading up to that seems to be channeled very nicely into that track.

Overall, I would 100% recommend this album for any Heart fan.

Additionally, if you happen to live in the Houston area, Heart will be performing with british rockers Def Leppard at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion on Friday night at 7pm. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster. I highly recommend you attend this because it is a show that is not to be missed.

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Heart is one of those bands that has had many incarnations but still has the constant two frontrunners in the form of sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. They are the female counterparts of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. However, their reasons for the original lineup change is because of their original romantic entanglements with former drummer Mike DeRosier and Roger Fisher.

Heart’s 1985 self-titled album is proof that that the lineup change that occurred with the previous album, Passionworks, and signing on with record label powerhouse Capitol Records, worked.

Heart’s self titled album is nothing short of great. While it stays true to Heart’s somewhat angry hard-rockin’ musical roots with songs such as The Wolf and If Looks Could Kill, one of the best changes is that there are some hard-rockin’ love songs. On Never, Ann cries “We can’t go on just running away/ If we wait any longer we will surely never get away/ Anything you want – we can make it happen/ Stand up and turn around – never let them shoot us down.” She continues with this passion on All Eyes.

One surprise is that, for a change, guitarist Nancy Wilson gets to sing lead vocals for the first time ever on a Heart album. She has a beautiful voice on the smash single These Dreams. The lyrics of the song describe the fantasy world a person enters when faced with a real-life difficult issue. This song was dedicated to a close friend of Nancy Wilson, Sharon Hess, who died of leukemia shortly before the song was made.

One track though, falls flat. Nobody Home sounds like it wants to be a hybrid power-pop ballad meets the signature sound of Heart. It doesn’t work for the band. Shell Shock sounds like an overdone hard-rock song. It even has corny and cliche love song lyrics that do not fit into the repertoire of Heart.

Caveats aside, the album is a welcomed return to both great music and the radio for Heart.