Review Blog

Jan 08 2013

Kicking and dreaming; a story of heart, soul, and rock and roll by A. and N. Wilson (with Charles R. Cross)

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Harper Collins, New York. 2012. 279p.
(Senior secondary - adult) Autobiography. I have to confess that I have no predilection for biography, where selected omissions can invent an entirely different portrait. The travelogue of the two sisters fronting American rock band Heart is penned by Charles R. Cross but written as if alternating the voices of Ann and Nancy Wilson.
Kicking and Dreaming proves to be a typical name dropping memoir and as such will appeal. A lifestyle of free love and drugs seems glossed over and the girls surprisingly conservative, all things considered. Whether any seamy events remain unselected or not, these women share a strong sense of family - a lifelong devotion to parents, siblings, childhood friends and to each other. Yet both sisters despite their recurring insecurities about body image, infertility and relationships; share a passion for music and a dedication to the band they joined in Canada in 1972.
The most striking theme of the autobiography of the Wilson sisters, is their exploration of sexism in their industry. Fame provides a vehicle for Nancy, and Ann in particular, to confirm firsthand the insidious male domination of Rock music both on-stage and off. Fully aware that their performing and recording careers, though purporting to be unconventional, directly reflected society in this respect; the sisters nevertheless earned considerable respect as musicians, lead vocalists, song writers and as co-authors. And on cue, almost in affirmation, Heart will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2013. Only three bands fronted by women have received the honour - Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac and the Pretenders. Frequently lauded as an inspiration for more well-known musicians, featured often in Rolling Stone magazine and with 40 years of good record sales, this acknowledgement is certainly overdue.
The alternating voices of Ann and Nancy Wilson keep the perspectives fresh and the impression of autobiography credible. No 1 hits such as Crazy on You, Barracuda and Magic Man are impressive enough but anecdotes involving most of the great folk, pop and rock musicians of our time maintain our interest, most notably Elton John, Lynyrd Skynard, Pearl Jam and Paul McCartney. I know one die-hard Led Zepplin fan on campus will be checking out this one!
Deborah Robins

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