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Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 387 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Righteously entertaining….[it] shows just what it’s like to be a woman who rocks, then and now.” (New York Daily News)

“Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson—better known as the faces and voices of Heart—look back on the personal and professional struggles and triumphs that define their legacy as one of rock’s pioneering female-fronted, creatively autonomous acts.” (USA Today)

“Thorough and entertaining….[Kicking and Dreaming is] satisfying for its breadth and spirit….the Wilsons write movingly and with a sense of humor.” (Miami Herald)

“An interesting duet that details precisely how women truly rock.” (Kirkus Reviews)

From the Back Cover

Two sisters. Two voices. One Heart.

The mystery of "Magic Man." The wicked riff of "Barracuda." The sadness and beauty of "Alone." The raw energy of "Crazy On You." These songs, and so many more, are part of the fabric of American music. Heart, fronted by Ann and Nancy Wilson, has given fans everywhere classic, raw, and pure badass rock and roll for more than three decades. As the only sisters in rock who write their own music and play their own instruments, Ann and Nancy have always stood apart—certainly from their male counterparts but also from their female peers. By refusing to let themselves and their music be defined by their gender, and by never allowing their sexuality to overshadow their talent, the Wilson sisters have made their mark, and in the process paved the way for many of today's female artists.

In Kicking and Dreaming, Ann and Nancy, with the help of critically acclaimed and bestselling music biographer Charles R. Cross, recount a journey that has taken them from a gypsy-like life as the children of a globe-trotting Marine to the frozen back roads of Vancouver, where they got their start as a band, to the pinnacle of success—and sometimes excess. In these pages, readers will learn the truth about the relationship that inspired "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You," the turmoil of inter-band romances gone awry, the reality of life on the road as single women and then as mothers of small children, and the thrill of performing and in some cases partying with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Stevie Nicks, Van Halen, Def Leppard, and other rock legends. It has not always been an easy path. Ann struggled with and triumphed over a childhood stutter, body image, and alcoholism; Nancy suffered the pain and disappointment of fertility issues and a failed marriage but ultimately found love again and happiness as a mom. Through it all, the sisters drew from the strength of a family bond that trumps everything else, as told in this intimate, honest, and uniquely female take on the rock and roll life.

Throughout their career, Ann and Nancy have never found an answer to the question they are most frequently asked: "What is it like to be a woman in rock and roll?" Kicking and Dreaming puts that question to bed, once and for all.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1st edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062101676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062101679
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (387 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A most excellent read (took my time reading it over 6 days). Some random thoughts in no particular order...

The beginning of the book that builds up from their childhood, while a tad on the long end of things (compared to the rest of the book), is very important to laying a strong foundation for the rest of the book and the choices they would make. However after this deep dive on their childhood, it seems like they really glossed over the tours and their thoughts on the actual stages and the set lists (as I am sure like most any other band, set lists for tours can be the subject of passionate discussions about what songs to play and what songs to leave out). Ann touched on it briefly with some commentary on her talks with the Def Leppard lead singer and how they both felt somewhat a prisoner in terms of playing their big hits at every single show, but beyond that, not much at all. I would have loved to hear about what their favorite tours were (and why) in the 70's, 80's, 90's and the 2000's. They should have added in another section of pictures as well with more stuff from the mid 80's 90's and 2000's from their tours. I bring this up as Heart is an amazing live band in terms of their sound, and their live shows are top notch in terms of their stage presence.

A band like Heart that has played concerts in 5 different decades in terms of the 1970's through today, should have all sorts of interesting stories that bring us behind the scenes as a fly on the wall during their recording sessions and touring. There were some interesting/fun stories, so do not get me wrong, I just have a feeling these were just scratching the surface. Perhaps they felt it did not fit their overall narrative on the story they wanted to tell so they kept those stories dialed back.
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Format: Hardcover
... at a time when other girls wanted to MARRY the Beatles. For Ann and Nancy Wilson, making music was almost always an important part of their lives. The challenge, then, lay in figuring out how they could make successful careers out of doing it. But if their ancestor Hannah Dustin could wield a tomahawk and kill her captors to gain her freedom in colonial Massachusetts, then surely the Wilson sisters could don guitars, approach microphones, and slay audiences in the twentieth century. Eventually, of course, they would.

Here they share their story in their own voices: a duet on the printed page, toggling back and forth between the two women. It's as if we are sitting across the table from them in a coffee shop, just listening to the two of them recount their experiences and memories. Other voices of friends and fellow musicians chime in when necessary. (After all: the sisters are "merely" the front-women for a full-fledged rock band.) But this one belongs to the Wilsons.

This book is everything fans of rock music and of Heart could ask for. We learn of their beginnings and growing up in a mobile military family, and then settling down in Bellevue, Washington. The sisters played at any venue that would have them in the early 1970s; and at one point they were known as "Little Led Zeppelin" because they played so many Zep covers. We follow them to Vancouver, British Columbia, and tag along as the band called Heart begins to gain real popularity and initially, in Canada. After that, the path becomes a whirlwind course of music, touring, fame, and fortune, that spans the course of four decades.

Naturally, we are treated to some juicy tales from that insider world of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Please let me state...I love Ann and Nancy Wilson. They both are brilliant Musicians beyond anyones comprehension. Their latest endeavor, "Fanatic" is by far one of my favorite CD's and love every single song on it. They have brought Rock and Roll to a whole new level of greatness.
However, I felt the content of the book seemed like a written interview and could've easily been discussed on a talk show. We've heard the stories before.
I felt their stories were often times predictable and no different from any other artist. (Of course I've been following their careers since the early days of "Dreamboat Annie") So with my previous comment, it's no surprize, I already knew most of the content.
Most of what was shared was very heartfelt and genuine. I loved the parts that discussed the early days of when the group first started. Especially about Ann and Michael Fisher. Their early childhoods were very fascinating. I really enjoyed the heartfelt stories in reference to their parents.
This book gives a very good and clear insight of who they really are. But then again, they've never made pretense of anything less. Ann and Nancy both are beautiful souls.
It's a good read and I enjoyed it. I finished it in 4 days, but felt it ended too abruptly. There could've been so much more added that just wasn't. I don't blame this on the Wilson sisters as much as I do Charles Cross and the publishing company. They missed out on an opportunity here to really show and focus on the true brilliance of these two incredible and amazing women.
I do recommend this book to anyone that is remotely a Heart fan. But true fans...much like myself, already know most of the content.
Would love to see a true documentary on Heart. Now that would truly be amazing.
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