30 Years Ago: Heart Continue ’80s Success With ‘Bad Animals’
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Heart had been left for dead in the early part of the ’80s but found themselves reinvigorated with their self-titled 1985 album, which hit the top of the charts amid a rapidly changing musical climate.
Two years later, they stuck close to the same formula for Bad Animals, which was released on June 6, 1987. Like its predecessor, the record was heavy on outside writers, which didn’t exactly sit well with Ann and Nancy Wilson, but neither had much bargaining power with the label because it worked so well before.
The lead single “Alone” was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, the powerhouse songwriting duo that was coming off a monster hit the year before with Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” The Ann-sung power ballad, which featured a slow build before erupting into an arena-ready chorus for the ages, shot to No. 1 on the singles chart. Meanwhile, songwriter Diane Warren brought her Midas touch to the album opener, “Who Will You Run To,” also heavy on ‘80s gloss and keyboards.
The album’s third single, “There’s the Girl,” was co-written by (who scored with Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield” a few years earlier) and Nancy Wilson, who also sang lead. The song ended up with a handful of remixes, with the 12” version stretching to nearly seven and a half minutes.
The band did get to write a few songs for Bad Animals, like the title track, but the fourth single, “I Want You So Bad,” which sounds uncomfortably close to the Cars’ earlier hit “Drive,” stiffed on the charts.
Bad Animals peaked at No. 2, but the strains of being a Top 40 band began to wear on the band. “By this album, I was over the whole thing, the outside writers, the MTV visuals,” Ann Wilson told Rolling Stone in 2016. “Even though we kept doing it for a while, it stopped being fun after the Heart record. It became an expectation I reluctantly agreed to. And we all know that when you reluctantly agree to something it’s not the best use of your time.”
The album’s title and cover artwork eventually became the name of the group’s Seattle-based recording studio in the 90s. Co-owned by the Wilson sisters, the studio became popular with artists after Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden recorded landmark albums there.
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