Live in 1982:
The main focus of Heart was always the Wilson sisters, Anne and Nancy, rock and roll pioneers. Gifted as both songwriters and musicians, the sisters and Heart had a string of remarkable self-penned 70’s hits and then had even greater commercial success in the 80’s and 90’s working with other songwriters. I’m not a big fan of their 80’s output, but even if Heart had only ever recorded their 70’s records, they would stand out as a group that broke boundaries and rocked hard while doing it.
Ann and Nancy Wilson are big Led Zeppelin fans and have a history of covering their songs. “Rock and Roll” was a regular feature of their live shows (and may well still be). In the 90’s, they recorded as an acoustic group called The Lovemongers and did a kick ass version of “The Battle of Evermore.” Last month, Led Zeppelin was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors and it was no surprise that Ann and Nancy were asked to cover another of their hits:
Ah, I love when I get to be topical.
That’s about as good a cover as you’re ever going to hear of “Stairway to Heaven,” in no small part because Ann Wilson is one of the few rock vocalists who can match Robert Plant. You can see Plant tearing up at one point while watching the performance – and Jimmy Page actually smiles. I didn’t think he was able to do that. I always figured he had some sort of facial muscle disorder.
This isn’t the exact same live version of “Rock and Roll” as I have on my iPod, but Ann Wilson rocks it out of the park as usual.