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Brown, Jake: Heart-In the Studio (book)

If you are looking for a Heart biography that gives all the 'dirt' on the Wilson sisters and the band Heart, Jake Brown's Heart-In the Studio isn't that. However, this 260 page book looks into the creation of all the classic Heart albums, from 1976's Dreamboat Annie to 2004's Jupiter's Darling, even Ann & Nancy's solo work. Those who have been spoiled by Martin Popoff's recent works that go into detail on classic hard rock & metal acts discography's with exhaustive track by track analysis might get somewhat bored by Brown's insistence on taking a more technical approach to the Heart catalog, but it's an intriguing read nontheless. Popular 70's albums such as Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, Magazine, Dog and Butterfly, as well as platinum 80's releases Heart, Bad Animals, and Brigade, are all broken down, as the author explains, with plenty of interview help from the band and their various producers, how certain sounds were created in the studio, the songwriting process, and on the 80's records, how the record companies & producers practically forced the band to use outside songwriters, much to the band's dismay, especially the Wilson sisters. Ultimately, that's what makes Heart-In the Studio such an enjoyable read, as it puts you in Ann & Nancy's shoes, torn between wanting to make money and have a hit album & singles but at the expense of releasing albums with your own songs on them. After their enormous success throughout the 80's, the band basically said "no more outside writers folks" and played by their own rules. The book also reveals how longtime guitarist Howard Leese, once the second guitar player/arranger/engineer, rose to become one of the most important members of the band (for many years) after original guitarist Roger Fisher left.

Overall, this is a good read, though it would have been nice to hear a little bit more about the individual songs (the hits are talked about a lot) that made up the albums, but I think Heart-In the Studio was written more for those into the technical aspect of how a classic band's albums were created, as opposed to a tome about that band's songs. Perhaps someday we'll get a volume that digs deeper into the trials and tribulations of Heart, including the gossip, the tours, and the classic songs. This will most certainly do for now.

Added: July 28th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ECW Press
Hits: 2533
Language: english

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