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Thursday
Oct042012

Heart's New Album Comes with Elton John's Seal of Approval

Legacy RecordingsHeart's new album Fanatic is in stores this week, and you know it's good because one of music's most outspoken stars has given it his seal of approval: Elton John.

Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson tell ABC News Radio that when they were recording Fanatic, Elton and his producer T Bone Burnett were in the same studio, working on Elton's new album The Diving Board.  After Elton played some of his new tracks for the sisters, he insisted that they reciprocate, much to their horror.

"Elton's like 'Let's play some of your stuff!'" Nancy Wilson recalls with a laugh. "And we were like, 'Oh, no, no please, no! It's not ready! It's not ready!'" He wouldn't let them off the hook, so they finally gave in, even though they were afraid of what he would say.  "He's notoriously honest," notes Nancy.  But everything worked out for the best: Elton loved what he heard.  "He was so complimentary, and he gave us hugs and kisses," she laughs. 

Still, Nancy decided not to share with him a story in the sisters' new memoir Kicking and Dreaming, which relates how she once climbed over a fence to sneak into one of his concerts back in the seventies.  "I always was too embarrassed to be a super-fan in front of him," she tells ABC News Radio. "But you know, we're pretty close and I'm sure he'll read [the book], and get a pretty good giggle out of that."

Ann and Nancy says they approached the making of Fanatic with a renewed sense of confidence, because their most recent album, 2010's Red Velvet Car, had been their first top 10 album in 20 years.  The recording process, they say, was very organic.

"We went into studios, and hotel rooms with mics thrown up, and tour buses, and iPhones...Just every way you could record ideas is how we did it," Ann tells ABC News Radio. "I think it retains a real spark of movement, you know.  It's got life, because we didn't sit in the studio and moulder."  Nancy adds, "It's not constructed and cut and pasted.  It's performed."  

Fanatic features a duet with Sarah McLachlan who, in an odd coincidence, now lives just across the street in Vancouver, Canada from where Ann Wilson lived when she wrote Heart's earliest songs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio