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Ann Wilson is best known as the vocalist for Heart, the rock band that became famous for songs like "Barracuda."
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Ann Wilson first rose to fame in the 1970s as the lead singer for rock band Heart. Her sister Nancy Wilson played guitar for the band. Ann Wilson's powerful vocals scored several hits for Heart in the 1970s,
starting with debut album Dreamboat Annie. Heart's popularity waned and then made a comeback in the mid-1980s with singles like "What About Love" and "Nothin' At All." Wilson has struggled throughout her life with weight problems.
Singer. Ann Wilson was born on June 19, 1950 in San Diego, California. Her mother, Lou, was a concert pianist and choir singer, and her father, John, a former Marine, was also a musician and singer who once led the U.S. Marine Corps band. Ann Wilson's younger sister, Nancy, four years her junior, would later join her sibling to play in the band Heart.
Due to her father's military career, the Wilson family moved frequently. They lived near American military facilities in Panama and Taiwan before settling in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1960s. In order 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," 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."
During the spring of 1963, when Ann Wilson was 12 years old, she fell ill with mononucleosis and had to miss several months of school. To keep her entertained and busy during this time, Wilson's mother bought her an acoustic guitar. Although Ann (unlike her sister) never especially took to the instrument, this pattern of using music to overcome health problems would recur throughout her childhood.
Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Wilson struggled with obesity. Making matters worse for a self-conscious child, she had a prominent stutter that persisted well into adolescence. Years later, Wilson unhappily recalled "hitting puberty, you know, where girls just naturally either become so self-confident that they're popular or they fall of the cliff of being totally ugly, totally unpopular, everything's wrong with them—and of course I fell off the cliff." In order to gain self-confidence and overcome her stutter, Wilson turned to singing, soon developing a resonant, beautiful and powerful voice. Throughout high school Wilson performed alongside Nancy, a talented guitarist, in short-lived local bands such as Rapunzel and Viewpoint.
After graduating from high school in 1968, Wilson decided to devote herself to music full time. She sang with several Seattle-based bar bands until one day in 1970 when she responded to a newspaper ad placed by a band called Heart, which was looking for a lead singer. Thoroughly impressed by Wilson's powerful pipes, Heart—which consisted at the time of Steve Fossen (bass) and Roger Fisher (guitar)—immediately brought her in as lead singer.
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Originally jump-starting their career in Canada, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart broke out onto the American rock scene in the mid 1970s with hits like "Crazy on You," "Magic Man," and "Barracuda." For the next four decades, the sisters would stake their claim on the Billboard charts, selling over 35 million records and cementing themselves as one of the most enduring rock groups in music history.
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