Ann Wilson

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Ann Wilson
Wilson receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, September 2012
Wilson receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, September 2012
Background information
Birth nameAnn Dustin Wilson
Born (1950-06-19) June 19, 1950 (age 70)
San Diego, California, U.S.
GenresRock, hard rock, folk rock, pop rock
  • Vocals
  • flute
  • guitar
Years active1967–present
Associated actsHeart, The Lovemongers, Alice in Chains

Ann Dustin Wilson (born June 19, 1950) is an American musician, best known as the lead singer and songwriter[1] for the rock band Heart. Wilson was listed as one of the "Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time" by Hit Parader magazine in 2006.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ann Dustin Wilson was born in San Diego, California.[3] Her father was a major in the U.S. Marine Corps.[4] Due to her father's military career, the Wilson family moved frequently.[5] They lived near American military facilities in Panama and Taiwan before settling in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1960s. To maintain a sense of home no matter where in the world they were residing, the Wilsons turned to music. "On Sunday we'd have pancakes and opera," her sister Nancy Wilson recalled. "My dad would be conducting in the living room. We'd turn it way up and rock. There was everything from classical music to Ray Charles, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, bossa nova, and early experimental electronic music."[6]

Wilson's family eventually settled in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, Washington. In 1968, she graduated from Sammamish High School.[7] Shy because of a stutter, Wilson sought fulfillment in music.[8] In the early 1970s she joined a local band, White Heart, which changed its name to Hocus Pocus, and then in 1974 to Heart.[9]


In 1973, her younger sister Nancy joined Heart, and the band moved to Canada. Heart recorded their first album Dreamboat Annie in Vancouver in 1975. It was released in the United States in 1976, with "Magic Man" becoming Heart's first Top 10 hit in the United States, peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Crazy on You" hitting number 35. Both songs were co-written by Ann and Nancy Wilson. In 1977, Little Queen was released, and in 1978, Dog & Butterfly. In 1992, Wilson appeared on Alice in Chains' EP Sap; she sang on "Brother" and "Am I Inside".

The Wilson sisters started a recording studio, Bad Animals, in Seattle in the mid-1990s. They formed a side band, the Lovemongers, which performed "The Battle of Evermore" on the 1992 soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe (Nancy's then husband) movie Singles, and later released a four-song EP. The Lovemongers' debut album Whirlygig was released in 1997.

Wilson joined producer Alan Parsons in the 2001 live tribute tour to Beatles music called A Walk Down Abbey Road.[10]

In 2006, Wilson began recording her first solo album, Hope & Glory, produced by Ben Mink, and released by the Rounder (Zoe) Music Group on September 11, 2007.[9] Hope & Glory features guest appearances from Elton John, k.d. lang, Alison Krauss, Gretchen Wilson, Shawn Colvin, Rufus Wainwright, Wynonna Judd, and Deana Carter. Nancy also contributed. Three singles were released from the project, "Little Problems, Little Lies", "Isolation", and "Immigrant Song". That same year, Ann and Nancy were on stage for a series of concerts in Las Vegas.

The Hope & Glory version of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" which is available on Wilson's official MySpace page charted as "the No. 9 most podcasted song of 2007" on the PMC Top10's annual countdown.

On November 22, 2012, Wilson sang an original arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner", accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Composer Gary Fry created the arrangement specifically for its premiere performance by Wilson and the DSO.[11]

On December 2, 2012, Ann Wilson, now 62, performed with her sister Nancy at the Kennedy Center tribute to Led Zeppelin. Present at the event were the three living members of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. They performed Stairway To Heaven, backed by a large orchestra. During the performance, Plant can be seen in tears.[12]

On July 13, 2015, Wilson announced a solo tour, The Ann Wilson Thing, which began on September 21.[13] She released her first EP, The Ann Wilson Thing! – #1, digitally on September 18.[14]

On July 22, 2016, Wilson announced the release of the second EP from The Ann Wilson Thing! The EP is titled 'focus', and Wilson played a Florida mini-tour in September 2016 as The Ann Wilson Thing! in support of this release.[15]

On October 12, 2017, Ann's first feature film, 'ann wilson / in focus' was released. It features an intimate interview conducted in her home by Criss Cain along with twenty complete live song performances from the 'Ann Wilson of Heart' tour stop in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 21, 2017. The director's cut is now streaming via the 'Ann Wilson of Heart' YouTube channel.[16]

Wilson and Alice in Chains' guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell paid tribute to their friend Chris Cornell with a rendition of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony on April 14, 2018.[17]

On August 3, 2018 Wilson released "You Don't Own Me" as the second single from her solo album, Immortal, that was released on September 14, 2018. The album features ten musically diverse tracks that pay tribute to some of Wilson's influences and friends who've recently passed and whose music poignantly lives on.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Relationships and family[edit]

During the 1970s, Wilson was in a relationship with Michael Fisher, the manager of Heart, while Nancy was involved with lead guitarist Roger Fisher, Michael's younger brother.[19] Both couples controlled the band. In 1979, the relationships ended; Ann stated that Michael had fallen in love with another woman and they parted.[20]

Wilson adopted her daughter Marie in 1991 and her son Dustin in 1998.[21]

Wilson married Dean Wetter in April 2015. The pair had dated briefly in the 1980s.[22]

Weight issues[edit]

As a child, Wilson was bullied for being overweight. She revealed that in the 1970s and into the early 1980s she would starve herself and use diet pills to stay thin. By the time Heart made a comeback in the mid-‘80s, Wilson had gained a significant amount of weight. Fearing that Heart's lead singer's figure would compromise the band's image, record company executives and band members began pressuring her to lose weight. In music videos, camera angles and clothes were often used to minimize her size, and more focus was put on the more slender Nancy. Ann stated she began suffering from stress-related panic attacks due to the negative publicity surrounding her weight. She underwent a weight-loss surgery called "adjustable gastric band" in January 2002[23] after what she calls "a lifelong battle" with her weight.

Alcohol and drugs[edit]

In November 2009, Ann collapsed; doctors found that she had liver disease resulting from alcohol. While she had stopped using other drugs after adopting her daughter, she had increased her drinking; Nancy and other family members and crew had been concerned for some time. They planned to confront her about it, and had even built a break into the tour to allow for treatment. Ann ultimately got therapy on her own.[24] In the band's 2012 autobiography, Wilson revealed her past struggles with cocaine and alcoholism. She stated she has been sober since 2009.[25]


Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

  • The Ann Wilson Thing! – Live at the Belly Up (2015)
  • The Ann Wilson Thing! – #1 (2015)
  • The Ann Wilson Thing! – #2 Focus (2016)


  1. ^ "Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson To Be Honored at 26th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards Ceremony". ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher). February 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  3. ^ Shindler, Merrill (July 28, 1977). "The Wilson Sisters Talk Heart to Heart". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  4. ^ Gostin, Nicki (October 4, 2012). "Heart's Ann Wilson talks weight bullies, the early days of MTV, and being a woman in the manly world of rock". Fox News. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  5. ^ Novak, Jessica (June 24, 2015). "Ann Wilson: Wild at Heart". Syracuse New Times. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Bergman, Julie (September 1999). "Guitar Queen of Heart". Acoustic Guitar (81). Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  7. ^ McLane, Daisann (May 15, 1980). "Heart Attack". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Ward, Marshall (April 2, 2013). "The Heart of Ann Wilson". Rock Cellar Magazine. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Nicole Brodeur (September 11, 2007). "Heart, soul, Ann Wilson". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Gehman, Geoff (July 27, 2001). "A Walk Down Abbey Road' is a can't-miss magical history tour". The Morning Call. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "Thanksgiving: Ann to sing national anthem". Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  12. ^ {{cite web|title=
  13. ^ "Ann Wilson of Heart Announces Solo Mini Tour "The Ann Wilson Thing"". July 13, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "Ann Wilson of Heart Releases 'The Ann Wilson Thing' EP – Listen". Rock Cellar Magazine. September 18, 2015. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  15. ^ "EP #2 - Focus is here". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Ann Wilson of Heart (October 12, 2017). "Ann Wilson In Focus Full Film". YouTube. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  17. ^ "See Ann Wilson, Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell Salute Chris Cornell at Rock Hall of Fame". Rolling Stone. April 14, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  19. ^ Windeler, Robert (June 20, 1977). "Ann & Mike & Nancy & Roger: the Sisters Wilson and Brothers Fisher Make Heart Beat". People. 7 (24): 55–56. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  20. ^ Sheff, David (March 31, 1980). "Rock's Wilson Sisters Kissed Off the Fisher Brothers, but Heart's Beat Goes on". People. 13 (13). Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  21. ^ Dawn, Randee (April 29, 2015). "Crazy on him: Heart's Ann Wilson marries man she 'tried to seduce' 30 years ago". Today. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  22. ^ Nelson, Jeff (April 27, 2015). "Heart Singer Ann Wilson Marries Dean Wetter". People. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  23. ^ Falcon, Mike; Shoop, Stephen A. (December 11, 2002). "Ann Wilson finds a weight-loss hit". USA Today. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  24. ^ Kicking and Dreaming (2012), Ch 25 - Hope and Glory
  25. ^ Matt Ward (August 24, 2012). "Heart's Ann Wilson On Getting Sober: 'The Tarp has Come Off'". Ultimate Classic Rock.

External links[edit]