Not long ago, Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson was working on the remastering of vinyl reissues of the band’s albums “Passionworks” and “Bebe Le Strange.”
She couldn’t help but notice several songs that felt like lost gems in Heart’s extensive catalog of music.
“I was listening for the quality control of it all, and those songs, like ‘Johnny Moon,’ really stuck out to me, stood out,” Wilson said in a recent phone interview. “The same with ‘One Word’ and a couple of songs like that. ‘Down on Me’ and ‘Sweet Darlin’’ were the other ones that really stood out to me. Those songs are really nice songs. They’re really well-crafted, sort of quality songs, and we had sort of forgotten about a lot of those songs. I was like ‘Wow, we really worked hard on those songs.’ We were careful when we were writing them to make them songs of substance.”
The thought occurred to Wilson, who founded Heart with her sister, singer Ann Wilson, in 1973, that the recordings of certain songs never quite lived up to their potential.
So when Heart signed a new record deal with Concord, and label executives John Virant and John Burk suggested doing an album that included a few new songs and newly recorded versions of some songs from the band’s back catalog, Wilson’s work on the vinyl reissues gave her a good start in identifying material that would fit on what became Heart’s excellent new album, “Beautiful Broken.”
“We were happy to redo some of those songs, like ‘Sweet Darlin’’ and ‘One Word,’ just such a great opportunity,” the guitarist said. “A lot of times, you miss a song (and feel like) ‘Oh God, it’s too bad that song never got its day.’ And to be able to go back and do it again was really a total pleasure.”
Heart plans to play some of those songs when they visit Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Saturday with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.
“Johnny Moon” (from 1983’s “Passionworks”), “One Word” (from 1982’s “Private Audition”) and “Down on Me” and “Sweet Darlin’” (both from 1980’s “Bebe Le Strange”) are four of the seven songs that have been rerecorded for “Beautiful Broken.” The “Passionworks” track “Language of Love,” “City’s Burning” (from “Private Audition”) and the title song (from 2013’s “Fanatic”) were also rerecorded, while three new songs — “I Jump,” “Two” and “Heaven” — round out the selections on the 10-track album, which was released in July.
“We’ve put a couple of the songs from the album (in the set),” Wilson said. “The most recent new song is called ‘I Jump,’ which we’re doing live. And also, there’s one called ‘Heaven’ that we’ve been doing a lot. And there are a couple of them, like ‘Sweet Darlin’, that are a redo from an older album. We’ve been doing that song. It’s finally found its own voice with the way that we recorded it. And those are just really great special moments, I think, for Heart fans because they love some of those old songs.”
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