Top 10 Heart Albums

Heart Albums

Photo: John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Our Top 10 Heart Albums list presents a list of our favorite Heart albums. Like many other legendary bands with long, fabulous careers, Heart broke onto the scene with a song that instantly turned heads. Even though the band had been working at it for a couple of years, Heart was an instant success when their first label, Mushroom Records, released their debut album in the United States.

After Mushroom Records ran an insulting advertisement about the Wilson sisters, Heart signed a new record deal with Epic Records. Their intended second album, Magazine, got caught up in a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the band released their first album for Epic Records entitled Little Queen. It was an extremely successful album that turned the group into one of the hottest bands in 1977. Their legacy would only grow stronger with their next couple of albums. Heart released both the albums Magazine and Dog and Butterfly in 1978.

The lineup changes began to occur within Heart when founding members Roger and Mike Fisher left the band. The group’s sound changed just a bit with the release of Bébé le Strange in 1980. It was an extremely successful album. Heart’s subsequent two albums, Private Audition and Passionworks, would mark the end of their tenure with Epic Records. These two albums were the least successful of their Epic releases, even though long-time Heart fans, including this writer, really enjoyed these albums.

In 1985, Heart released their first album with Capitol Records, simply titled Heart. This was not the same band that had released Dreamboat Annie almost ten years earlier. It was an entirely new lineup of musicians, except for Ann and Nancy Wilson. It was a much different sound shaped by songs written by outside writers. Even the band’s look changed dramatically as the MTV big hair 80s style significantly impacted Capitol Records’ marketing of the band.

While many longtime Heart fans were unhappy with the changes, no one could argue that Capitol Records’ plan for relaunching the band was unsuccessful. The Heart album, released in 1985, proved to be the band’s most successful album of their career from a commercial standpoint. Five successful singles were released from the album. The band also became MTV favorites, which also helped catapult record sales.

Heart continued releasing albums like their 1985 Capitol Records debut. They released the album Bad Animals in 1987 and Brigade in 1990. Both albums contained massive hits and sold well in 1993. Ann and Nancy Wilson started to plan their return to their earlier sound and roots. Their 1993 album Desire Walks In was primarily written by the sisters in contrast to their previous three albums. After the release of the album Desire Walks In, Heart went on hiatus for an extended period of time.

A few side projects occurred, but in the end, the sisters returned again as Heart in 2004 with the release of the album Jupiter’s Darling. Heart returned with the album Red Velvet Car six years later, in 2010. That album was followed by Fanatic in 2012, and then their most recent album, as of this writing in 2024, was released in 2016, entitled Beautiful Broken. Over the years, Heart has released many live albums and compilations, most notably their great box set Strange Euphoria in 2012. Our top 10 Heart Album list will only consider the band’s studio albums.

# 10 – Passionworks

We open our top 10 Heart albums list with the band’s final album for Epic Records entitled Passionworks. The album opened up with one of our favorite Heart songs of all time in the excellent track “How Can I Refuse?” Side two of the record opened up with the song “Allies,” written by Jonathan Cain of Journey and The Babys fame. Passionworks was not a big seller, but Heart fans enjoyed the album. Other standout songs on the album included “Language of Love” and the tender Nancy Wilson song “Love Mistake.”

# 9 – Brigade

Heart’s album Brigade was the third Heart CD release connected to their big hair 80s days. The album featured Heart’s huge hit about cheating entitled “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You.” Robert John “Mutt” Lange wrote the song. The song went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Outside writers also wrote the majority of the album’s other songs. Sammy Hagar shared co-writing credits on two of the album’s tracks, “The Night” and “Fallen From Grace.” One significant reason why we included this album on our top 10 Heart albums list was the incredible vocal performances of Ann Wilson on this record. Listen to her sing her heart out( no pun intended) on the tracks “Tall, Dark Handsome Stranger” and “Wild Child.”

# 8 – Red Velvet Car

Red Velvet Car was released in 2010. The album was a welcome return by Heart, who had not released an album in six years. Many of the songs on the record were written by the Wilson sisters with guitarist Ben Mink, a longtime collaborator of K.D. Langs. There were many standout tracks on the record, including the excellent single “WTF” as well as songs such as “Hey You,” “There You Go,” and “Red Velvet Car.” This was a sold effort by Heart that is often overlooked in their catalog of great albums.

# 7 – Bad Animals

Heart’s Bad Animals album was the follow-up to their massively successful 1985 album Heart. Climbing to the number two spot on the US Billboard 200 by August 1987, the album secured a triple platinum status from the RIAA by June 1992. Beyond the US, it enjoyed top five positions in countries like Canada and Sweden and broke into the top 10 in the UK. Interestingly, six out of the album’s ten songs were written by outside writers. Heart had become a machine. A very successful one at that. They sounded great, but in the end, these were not the same band that millions of fans had fallen in love with in the 1970s.

The album featured several chart-topping singles, including the US number-one hit “Alone.” Tracks like “Who Will You Run To” and “There’s the Girl” also enjoyed significant chart success. The album’s critical acclaim was highlighted by a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1988.

# 6 – Dog & Butterfly

Dog & Butterfly was Heart’s fourth album release. The album was issued in 1978. The album was split between a hard rocking side, which represented the Dog part of the title, and a soft acoustic side, which defined the Butterfly part of the title. Some of the most popular songs from the album were the excellent lead single “Straight On” and the title track “Dog & Butterfly.” This was also a relatively short album, clocking in at around thirty-eight minutes.

# 5 – Heart (1985)

Talk about a record company intervention. The album Heart was released in 1985. Capitol Records reinvented the band with very successful songwriters supplying Heart with songs ready to be turned into hits. And that is precisely what the vocal chops of Ann and Nancy Wilson did. “What About Love” was the album’s first big hit single. However, the Bernie Taupin and Martin Page penned track “These Dreams” catapulted the album’s success. Between the song’s superb production and Nancy Wilson’s vocal performance, along with the fantastic video, the song helped Heart catch the attention of a vast new mass audience.

While many people have looked at this album at the time as a sell-out, in retrospect, this really was a good rock album, no matter who wrote the songs. Of course, it was almost a 360-degree turn from who they were when they arrived on the scene in 1976.

# 4 – Jupiter’s Darling

Continuing with our list of the top 10 Heart albums, we turn to a tremendous recent heart album entitled Jupiter’s Darling. The album was released in 2004. It was one of the heaviest-sounding albums Heart had ever released. The album’s opening track also sounded like it could have been similarly released on Dreamboat Annie to the style of songs like “Crazy On You.” This was great stuff. The album’s second track, “Oldest Story in the World,” rocked hard and constantly spun on my CD player in 2004.

Nancy Wilson’s track “Things” was sensational. This is a great album and probably the band’s most underrated work. And if you doubt that, listen to that album’s fourteenth track entitled “Fallen Ones.” With Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains playing guitar on this one, the band lit it up!

# 3 – Bébé le Strange 

Heart’s album Bébé le Strange was released in 1980. We loved this album when it was first released. Most of the songs were written by the Wilson Sisters and their longtime collaborator, Sue Ennis. The album spawned two hit singles. “Even It Up” was the first single released from the album. The song became a top forty hit. The album’s title track was released as the second single. Other standout tracks included the great songs “Down On Me,” “Rockin Heaven Down,” and “Raised On You.”

# 2 – Dreamboat Annie

Choosing between these last two albums for the number one spot on our top 10 Heart Albums list was a tough call. The great Dreamboat Annie album was the record that turned us all onto Heart. The album’s two big singles, “Magic Man” and “Crazy On You,” were such stunning rock tracks. Hearts’ balance between their acoustic side and rock side, and how they intermixed them, was captivating.

# 1 – Little Queen

Heart’s Little Queen album is one of the best sophomore albums ever. Fueling the album’s great success was the incredible rock track “Barracuda.” That one stands as our favorite Heart song of all time. The song’s guitar riff is one of the most iconic guitar riffs of the classic rock era. Every cover band in the 1970s played that one. Little Queen was filled with great songs. The album’s title track was to die for. The great song “Kick It Out” was one heck of a rocker. “Love Alive” would become another iconic Heart song. There were so many great songs on the Heart album Little Queen. If you buy just one Heart album, this is the one to get.

Top 10 Heart Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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  1. Avatar Ken Wilkie February 27, 2021

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