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Nancy Wilson

On 16/03/1954: Nancy Wilson was born in San Francisco, California. Her full birth name was Nancy Lamoureaux Wilson. She was the youngest of three sisters, her older sisters were Lynn and Ann. In 1964, Ann and Nancy saw the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show and they were both inspired to be part of a band. Two of their friends joined them to form their first group called The Viewpoints, which was a four-part harmony vocal group. Later in the year, Ann bought herself her first guitar with money given to her by her grandmother. It was a Kent acoustic. In 1966, The Viewpoints went to see the Beatles play at the Seattle Center Coliseum.
In 1967, The Viewpoints played their first show at a folk festival on Vashon Island. The group would go on to play at drive-ins, auto shows and church socials. Nancy and Ann performed as a duo on Mother's Day at their church.
Ann joined a band during high school. The band played as a backing band for a country songwriter on his demo recordings. During the session, the engineer allowed them to record a song written by Nancy and Ann called "Through Eyes and Glass". The engineer had his own label and made up five hundred copies for a few bucks. Nancy and Ann's first single appeared on the B-side of the country track "I'm Gonna Drunk My Hurt Away" and was credited to Ann Wilson and the Daybreaks. Ann would go on to join guitarist Roger Fisher and bassist Steve Fossen in a band which they called Hocus Pocus. Roger's brother Michael and Ann started a relationship and Ann left the band to live with him in Canada. In late 1972 or early 1973, Steve and Roger also moved to Canada and reunited the band, this time under the name Heart. Michael became the band's manager.
In 1972, Nancy moved to Forest Grove, Oregon to attend Pacific University. The next year she transferred to Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Nancy would visit Ann in Canada, where Ann would try to convince her to join the band. Nancy considered transferring again to the University of Washington in Seattle.
In mid-1974, Nancy left school and joined Ann and Heart in West Vancouver. She had been convinced by Ann's assertion that the band would play more acoustic songs, which Ann wanted to do as well. At the time there were very few female rock guitarists. Nancy would be met with scepticism by some people and she would even be asked if her guitar was really plugged in. The band recorded a demo with Mushroom Records and had impressed producer Mike Flicker. Flicker signed Nancy, Ann and Roger to a contract which would later become highly disputed.
In 1975, Heart released the single "How Deep It Goes" written by Ann and with Howard Leese brought in to arrange string parts. It was recorded to test the market before recording an entire album. Nancy and Ann would disguise their voice and call radio stations requesting it. Their mum continued to call and request their songs after their first album went platinum. Flicker was impressed with the songs Nancy and Ann had written. Their second single "Magic Man" backed by "How Deep It Goes" was picked up for radio play by CJFM in Montreal. Flicker went ahead with making the album. Howard Lesse would become a full member during the recording sessions. Later in 1975, the debut album "Dreamboat Annie" was released by Mushroom Records. The album along with the single "Crazy on You" both got airplay. It became a hit in Canada. Whilst at a club in October 1975, the group was fired after Ann said the food tasted like disinfectant on stage. Their promoter Shelley Siegel called them to ask them to get out of the contract, just as they were considering setting the dressing room on fire. They had been asked to open for Rod Stewart in Montreal. They would then go on tour with ZZ Top.
In 1976, the album was released in the US. A complete US tour was hampered due to Fisher's draft status, so he turned himself into the authorities. His case was settled without jail time after he uncovered corruption at his local draft board.
Nancy would become romantically involved with guitarist Roger Fisher. Michael Fisher realised that the band was getting too big for him to manage, so the band hired Ken Kinnear as their new manager. The band had a dispute with Mushroom Records as they felt they should be earning more from their royalties to match the success of their debut album. Flicker sided with the band and quit his job with Mushroom. He would continue to produce for the band. The band made reference to a clause in their contract with Mushroom that required Mushroom to provide Flicker as a producer and signed with Portrait. Mushroom took the unfinished material that Heart had been working on for their follow up album "Magazine" along with studio outtakes and live material to release the album. Heart sought an injunction that recalled "Magazine", but not before fifty thousand copies had already been sold. Mushroom tried to stop the release of a new Heart album with Portrait. The dispute went on for two years and ended in a court decision that the band was free to sign with Portrait, but they owed Mushroom the second album. Heart went back to Mushroom studios with a court-ordered guard to record.
In 1977, Portrait released the Heart album "Little Queen". It included the hit song "Barracuda" which had been written about Mushroom's attempted publicity stunt insinuating an incestuous affair between Nancy and Ann and a radio promoter asking Ann how her lover was, whilst referring to Nancy.
In 1978, Mushroom released the new version of "Magazine", which sold a million copies in less than a month. It would not outsell "Little Queen" though. Shelley Siegel died a few months later after its release and Mushroom records went bankrupt a year later.
Ann and Nancy recruited lifelong friend Sue Ennis as a writing partner. They would write their next album "Dog & Butterfly" together. In October 1978, "Dog & Butterfly" was released, which sold a million copies in the first month.
Nancy and Roger split up. Roger had been seeing other women and when Nancy developed a crush on Michael Derosier, she split up with Roger and started seeing Derosier. The break up led to tensions in the band. In October 1979, the band voted to part company with Roger. Ann discovered Michael had been seeing other women too and broke up with him. Nancy's romance with Derosier lasted about a year.
In 1980, Heart released the album "Bébé le Strange". They would go on tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band and Queen, as well as opening for The Rolling Stones.
In 1982, Heart released "Private Audition". After Nancy's breakup with Derosier, the band was not comfortable with his presence in the band. Bassist Steve Fossen was also unhappy in the band at the time. Derosier and Fossen were replaced by Mark Andes and Denny Carmassi. Nancy started dating Cameron Crowe.
In 1983, Heart released the album "Passionworks". CBS records were disappointed with the sales of the album and the previous album so dropped them from the label.
The band hired a new manager and Capitol Records signed them. They insisted the band record songs written by others as well as co-writes with other songwriters. Ron Nevison came in as their producer, who insisted on losing the acoustic guitar from the songs.
In 1985, Heart released the album "Heart" with Capitol Records. It would become their first number 1 album, with the song "What About Love" released ahead of the album also becoming a hit. The song "These Dreams" on the album would become Heart's first number 1 single on the Billboard chart.
In 1986, Nancy married Crowe.
In 1987, Heart released the album "Bad Animals". The song "Alone" had been released ahead of the album as a single and would become Heart's second number 1 hit. Whilst on tour in the UK, Nancy Ann and Sue went on a tour of Beatles landmarks, which included a visit to a ferry dock on the Mull of Kintyre when they tried to find Paul McCartney's farm. During the tour, Ann started to have occasional panic attacks on stage. Nancy would play unscheduled guitar solos to cover.
In 1989, the film "Say Anything..." featured guitar recordings made by Nancy.
In 1990, Heart released the album "Brigade". It included the song "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You" written by Mutt Lange which reached number 2 on the US chart. It was however hated by the band, who played it on the tour for the album but not since.
Nancy and Ann were asked to play at a Red Cross benefit for troops during the Gulf War. The rest of the band had gone home after the tour for the album, so Sue Ennis joined along with friend Frank Cox for the one-off performance. They used the name The Lovemongers. The group would play several shows and benefits for smaller crowds with a more acoustic set.
In 1991, Nancy and Ann entered a partnership with Steve Lawson who owned Kaye-Smith Studios. They upgraded the studios and renamed it Bad Animals Studio. The band would record their next album there. R.E.M., Neil Young, B.B. King, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam all recorded in the studio before it was sold in 1997.
In 1993, Heart released the album "Desire Walks On". It peaked at number 48 on the US chart. Heart then tried an unplugged album, which reached 87 on the US chart and they were dropped from Capitol Records.
Nancy decided to take a break from Heart to focus on working with Cameron on film scores whilst they tried to start a family. She played the song "Beautiful Girl in Car" in Crowe's film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". She had a small speaking part in the film "The Wild Life".
In 1996, Crowe's film "Jerry Maguire" was released featuring a soundtrack written by Nancy. In the same year, Nancy performed her first solo acoustic show in 30 years. It was recorded and released as the album "Live from McCabe's Guitar Shop" in 1999.
In 1997, Nancy went on a 12 date tour with The Lovemongers called the Don't Blink tour. In the same year, The Lovemongers released their debut album "Whirlygig".
In 1998, The Lovemongers released the album "Here is Christmas".
In 2000, Crowe's film "Almost Famous" featured original songs by Nancy. She also helped out as a technical consultant along with Peter Frampton to coach the actors how to look like rock musicians on stage. In the same year, Nancy and Cameron's twin boys were born.
Nancy also composed the theme music for "Vanilla Sky" and for "Elizabethtown".
In 2002, Nancy toured again with Heart.
In 2004, Heart released the album "Jupiters Darling" their first since 1993. Nancy co-produced the album with guitarist Craig Bartock who had just joined.
In 2007, Nancy and Ann performed with Gretchen Wilson (no relation) at the Country Music Awards. In the same year, Ann released her first solo album called "Hope & Glory" which featured Nancy on three of the tracks.
In 2009, Nancy released a children's album "Baby Guitars". Also in 2009, Journey, Cheap Trick and Heart combined for a concert tour.
In 2010, Nancy and Ann performed at "We Are the World 25 for Haiti". In the same year, Nancy divorced Crowe. Also in 2010, Heart released the album "Red Velvet Car".
In 2012, Heart received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the same year, Nancy married Geoff Bywater. Also in 2012, Nancy and Ann released the album "Fanatic".
In 2013, Heart were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2016, Heart released the album "Beautiful Broken".
In 2017, Nancy teamed up with Liv Warfield to form a new supergroup called ROADCASE ROYALE.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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