Our Top 10 Heart Albums list takes a look at one classic rocks most loved and cherished bands that have been releasing great music since 1976. The story of Heart is a long one. Like so many other legendary bands that have had long fabulous careers, Heart broke onto the scene with a song that turned heads instantly. When I first heard the song “Magic Man,” being played on the radio in 1976, I needed to find out who that band was so I could rush directly to the record store to buy the album. I was not the only one. Even though the band had been working at it for a couple of years, Heart was pretty much an instant success when their first label Mushroom Records released their debut album in the United States.
After Mushroom records had run an insulting advertisement about the Wilson sisters, Heart signed a new record deal with Epic Records. Their intended second album called 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 of 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 groups sound changed just a bit with the release of Bébé le Strange in 1980. It was an extremely successful album. Heart’s next two albums Private Audition and Passionworks would mark the end of their tenure with Epic Records. Theses 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 entitled simply Heart. This was not the same band that had released Dreamboat Annie almost ten years earlier. It was an entire new lineup of musicians with the exception of course of Ann and Nancy Wilson. It was a much different sound shaped by songs written by outside writers. Even the look of the band changed dramatically as the MTV big hair 80s style had a significant impact on Capitol Records marketing of the band. While many longtime Heart fans were not happy with the changes, no one could argue that Capitol Records plan for relaunching the band was not a success. 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 sales of the record.
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 largely 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 a long 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. Six years later Heart returned with the album Red Velvet Car in 2010. That album was followed by Fanatic in 2012 and then their most recent album as of this writing in 2020 was released in 2016 entitled Beautiful Broken. Over the years Heart has released many live albums and compilations most notable their great box set Strange Euphoria in 2012. Our top 10 Heart Album list will only take into account the bands studio albums.
# 10 – Passionworks
We open up out 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 great track “How Can I Refuse?” Side two of the record opened up with the song “Allies,” which was 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.” The song was written by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The majority of the album’s other songs were also written by outside writers. Sammy Hagar shared co-writing credits on two of the albums tracks. One very important reason as to 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 proved to be 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 who had been a longtime collaborator of K.D. Langs. There were many standout tracks on the record including the great 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. The album was released in 1987. The album was indeed a big time commercial success. The album itself went all the way to number two on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. Four successful singles were released form the album including their smash hit “Alone.”
# 6 – Dog & Butterfly
Dog & Butterfly was Heart’s fourth album release. The album was issued in 1978. The album was spit 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 great 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 totally reinvented the band with the use of very successful songwriters supplying Heart with songs ready to be turned into hits. And that is exactly what the vocals chops of Ann and Nancy Wilson did. “What About Love,” was the albums first big hit single. However, it was the Bernie Taupin and Martin Page penned track “These Dreams,” that really catapulted the albums 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 huge 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, but so what?
# 4 – Jupiter’s Darling
Continuing with out top 10 Heart albums list we turn to a great 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 albums opening track also sounded like it could have been released on Dreamboat Annie in very similar fashion to the style of a songs like “Crazy On You.” This was great stuff. The albums second track”Oldest Story in the World” rocked hard and was constantly spinning on my CD player back in 2004.
Nancy Wilson’s track “Things ,”was sensational. This is such a great album and probably the band’s most underrated work. And if you doubt that, take a listen to that album’s fourteenth track entitled “Fallen Ones.” With Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains playing guitar on this one, the band really lit it up!
# 3 – Bébé le Strange
Heart’s album Bébé le Strange was released in 1980. We simply loved this album when it was first released. Most of the songs were written by the Wilson Sisters along with their longtime collaborator Sue Ennis. The album spanned 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 rack 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
It was a tough call choosing between theses last two albums for the number one spot on our top 10 Heart Albums list. The great Dreamboat Annie album was the record that turned us all onto Heart. The albums two big singles “Magic Man,” and “Crazy On You,” were such stunning rock tracks. Hearts balance between their acoustic side and rock side and the way they went about intermixing them was totally captivating.
# 1 – Little Queen
Heart’s Little Queen album stands as one of the best sophomore albums of all time. Fueling the albums 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 1970’s played that one. Little Queen was filled with great songs. The album’s title track was simply 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 your going to buy just one Heart album, this is the one to get.