Heart's Ann Wilson Diagnosed With Cancer, Cancels Tour

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Heart, a rock ‘n roll band centered on sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, has had a storied career. The Wilson sisters formed the group in Vancouver in 1973 and have been performing in studio and concerts ever since.

On Tuesday, Heart’s Ann Wilson shared that she has been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer and is canceling the rest of Heart’s 2024 tour so she can receive treatments. 

Wilson shared the news Tuesday in a statement that also announced the band had postponed all remaining dates on the North American leg of its “Royal Flush Tour.”

“I underwent an operation to remove something that, as it turns out, was cancerous,” said Wilson, 74. “The operation was successful & I’m feeling great but my doctors are now advising me to undergo a course of preventive chemotherapy & I’ve decided to do it.”

The singer said her physicians have instructed her to “take the rest of the year away from the stage in order to fully recover.” She did not specify what form of cancer she had.

Full disclosure: I’ve always loved Heart and Ann and Nancy Wilson. Not only have they always (still do) epitomized Robert Heinlein’s Principle of Least Action by combining beauty and talent, but they always put out a great piece of music: stellar vocals and great guitar work, and they never slipped into the maudlin, “poor-me” trend so many acts descended into in the early ’80s.

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I remember owning several Heart albums, including their first, the 1975 platter “Dreamboat Annie,” which included the soft, easy tune of the same name that so well featured not only Nancy’s great acoustic guitar work but also Ann’s rich vocals:

Many were the evening I cranked my car radio (Waterloo, Iowa, KWLO-FM!) up when tunes like “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” or “Crazy on You” came on. The sisters rocked the ’70s and ’80s, and about the time I graduated high school, they brought out one of my favorites, the rocking, hammering, hard-hitting tune “Even It Up.” We liked a good rock tune to go with the roars of the gas-guzzling big-block V8s we favored in those days, and Heart was always a great addition to the lineup.

Another favorite arose the year after I went into the Army, that being 1985’s “These Dreams.”

Our lives are shaped in part by the culture of our times, and music can be and is a big part of culture. It’s been that way since the first caveman started hammering on a hollow log with a bone and remains so today. We kids of the ’70s were lucky to have a band like Heart in the repertoire. I imagine there are combos with similar talent today — there must be, right? But I’m not aware of who they may be. Ann and Nancy Wilson were there for us back then, they’re still with us now, and they have added their distinct style to the immortal halls of rock ‘n roll.

Get well, Ann. Rest all you need to, Little Queen. We are pulling for you to beat this and return to the tour, where it’s certain you will continue to delight fans for many years to come.

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