Ann Wilson
Wilson at Wacken Open Air 2022
Wilson at Wacken Open Air 2022
Background information
Birth nameAnn Dustin Wilson
Born (1950-06-19) June 19, 1950 (age 73)
San Diego, California, U.S.
OriginSeattle, Washington, U.S.
GenresRock, hard rock, folk rock, pop rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter[1]
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1967–present
Member ofHeart

Ann Dustin Wilson (born June 19, 1950) is an American singer and songwriter best known as the lead singer of the rock band Heart.

Wilson has been a member of Heart since the early 1970s; her younger sister, Nancy, is also a member of the band. The first hard rock band fronted by women,[2] Heart released numerous albums between 1976 and 2016; the early Heart albums Dreamboat Annie (1976), and Little Queen (1977) generated classic hard rock singles such as "Magic Man", "Crazy on You", and "Barracuda".[3] All told, Heart has sold over 35 million records worldwide,[3] placed 29 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and has scored top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s.[4][5]

Ann Wilson was ranked no. 78 in Hit Parader's 2006 list of "Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time".[6] In 2013, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Heart. Wilson possesses a lyric soprano vocal range.[7][note 1] She is known for her operatic abilities.[9]

Early life

Ann Dustin Wilson was born in San Diego, California.[10] Her father was a major in the U.S. Marine Corps.[11] Due to her father's military career, the Wilson family moved frequently.[12] They lived near American military facilities in Panama and Taiwan before settling in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1960s. 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," her sister 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."[13]

Wilson's family eventually settled in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, Washington. In 1968, she graduated from Sammamish High School.[14] Shy because of a stutter, Wilson sought fulfillment in music.[15] In the early 1970s she joined a local band, White Heart, which changed its name to Hocus Pocus, and then in 1974 to Heart.[16] Wilson also attended Cornish College of the Arts.[17]


Ann and her sister Nancy in 1998

Wilson's younger sister, Nancy, joined Heart, and the band moved to Canada. Heart recorded their first album Dreamboat Annie in Vancouver in 1975. It was released in the United States in 1976, with "Magic Man" becoming Heart's first Top 10 hit in the United States, peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Crazy on You" hitting number 35. Both songs were co-written by Ann and Nancy Wilson. In 1977, Little Queen was released, and in 1978, Dog & Butterfly. In 1992, Wilson appeared on Alice in Chains' EP Sap; she sang on "Brother" and "Am I Inside".

The Wilson sisters started a recording studio, Bad Animals, in Seattle in the mid-1990s. They formed a side band, the Lovemongers, which performed Led Zeppelin's song "The Battle of Evermore" on the 1992 soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe (Nancy's then husband) movie Singles, and later released a four-song EP. The Lovemongers' debut album Whirlygig was released in 1997.

Wilson joined producer Alan Parsons in A Walk Down Abbey Road, the 2001 live tribute tour to Beatles music.[18]

Wilson's first solo album, Hope & Glory, was released on September 11, 2007.[16] Hope & Glory features guest appearances from Elton John, k.d. lang, Alison Krauss, Gretchen Wilson, Shawn Colvin, Rufus Wainwright, Wynonna Judd, and Deana Carter. Nancy Wilson also contributed. Three singles were released from the project: "Little Problems, Little Lies", "Isolation", and a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song."

On November 22, 2012, Wilson sang an original arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner", accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.[19][better source needed]

The Wilson sisters performed at the Kennedy Center tribute to Led Zeppelin on December 2, 2012. Present at the event were the three living members of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The Wilsons performed "Stairway To Heaven", backed by an orchestra and a choir, and featuring drummer Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham).[20]

On July 13, 2015, Wilson announced a solo tour, The Ann Wilson Thing, which began on September 21.[21][better source needed] She released her first EP, The Ann Wilson Thing! – #1, digitally on September 18, 2015.[22] On July 22, 2016, Wilson announced the release of focus, the second EP from The Ann Wilson Thing! Wilson played a Florida mini-tour in September 2016 as The Ann Wilson Thing! in support of this release.[23][better source needed]

Wilson receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2012

On October 12, 2017, Wilson's first feature film, Ann Wilson: In Focus was released. It featured an intimate interview conducted in her home by Criss Cain along with 20 complete live song performances from the Ann Wilson of Heart tour stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 21, 2017.[24][better source needed]

Wilson and Alice in Chains' guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell paid tribute to their late friend, Chris Cornell, with a rendition of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony on April 14, 2018.[25]

On August 3, 2018, Wilson released "You Don't Own Me" as the second single from her solo album, Immortal. Released on September 14, 2018, the album features ten tracks that pay tribute to Wilson's influences and friends.[26]

In May 2021, Wilson announced her first dates since the COVID-19 pandemic with the Rite of June mini-tour.[27]

In 2022, Wilson was nominated for consideration into the 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame.[28]

In November 2022 Wilson was featured on the Disturbed song "Don't Tell Me" from their album Divisive. The song reached number 2 on Billboard's Hard Rock Song Sales chart.[29]

Personal life

Relationships and family

During the 1970s, Wilson was in a relationship with Michael Fisher, the manager of Heart, while Nancy was involved with lead guitarist Roger Fisher, Michael's younger brother.[30] Both couples controlled the band. In 1979, the relationships ended; Ann stated that Michael had fallen in love with another woman and they parted.[31]

Ann Wilson adopted her daughter Marie in 1991 and her son Dustin in 1998.[32]

Wilson married Dean Wetter in April 2015. The pair had dated briefly in the 1980s.[33] On the morning of August 27, 2016, Wetter was arrested for assaulting Nancy Wilson's 16-year-old twin sons after the boys had left the door to his RV open. The incident took place during a Heart performance at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, Washington, the previous night. Wetter later pleaded guilty to the charges.[34][35]

The sisters' relationship was strained by the incident.[36] Following the end of Heart's 2016 tour, the sisters opted to tour with their own side-project bands, with Ann saying in April 2017 that Heart was on hiatus.[36]

In February 2019, the sisters announced that Heart's hiatus had ended and that the band would embark on the Love Alive tour in the summer.[37] In March 2019, the sisters reunited on stage for the first time since the band went on hiatus, at the Love Rocks NYC benefit concert.[38]


As a child, Ann was bullied for being overweight. She revealed that in the 1970s and into the early 1980s she would starve herself and use diet pills to stay thin. By the time Heart made a comeback in the mid-'80s, she had gained a significant amount of weight. Fearing that Heart's lead singer's physique would compromise the band's image, record company executives and band members began pressuring her to lose weight. In music videos, camera angles and clothes were often used to minimize her size, and more focus was put on Ann's more slender sister, Nancy. Ann stated she began suffering from stress-related panic attacks due to the negative publicity surrounding her weight. She underwent adjustable gastric band weight-loss surgery in January 2002[39] after what she called "a lifelong battle" with her weight.

In November 2009, Ann collapsed. Doctors found that she had liver disease resulting from alcoholism. While she had stopped using other drugs after adopting her daughter, she had increased her alcohol consumption. Nancy and other family members and band crew had been concerned about her for some time and had built a break into a Heart tour to allow Ann an opportunity to obtain treatment. She ultimately underwent therapy on her own.[40] In the band's 2012 autobiography, Ann revealed her past struggles with cocaine and alcoholism. She stated that she had been sober since 2009.[41]


Studio albums

Year Title Notes Ref.
2007 Hope & Glory cover album [42]
2018 Immortal
2022 Fierce Bliss covers and originals [43]

Extended plays

Year Title Ref.
2015 The Ann Wilson Thing! #1 [44]
2016 The Ann Wilson Thing! #2 - Focus


Year Title Album Notes Ref.
1969 "Standin' Watchin' You"

b/w "Wonder How I Managed"

non-album single covers, with the Daybreaks [45][44]
"Through Eyes and Glass"

b/w "I'm Gonna' Drink My Hurt Away"

original song b/w cover, with the Daybreaks
2020 "The Revolution Starts Now!" cover
2021 "Tender Heart" original song
"The Hammer"
"Black Wing" Fierce Bliss[43]
2022 "Greed"

Other appearances

Year Title Album Notes Ref.
1984 "Almost Paradise" Footloose with Mike Reno [46]
1986 "The Best Man in the World" The Golden Child Original song
1988 "Surrender to Me" Tequila Sunrise with Robin Zander
1992 "Am I Inside" and "Brother" Sap with Alice in Chains
1993 "Auld Lang Syne" Holiday Collection Volume III Traditional song
1995 "That's All Right" Blue Suede Sneakers Cover
1996 "Jezebel" Édith Piaf Tribute
2003 "Promise Her the Moon" Influences and Connections: Volume I - Mr. Big
2015 "Across the Universe" Keep Calm and Salute the Beatles
2022 "Don't Tell Me" Divisive with Disturbed
2023 "Magic Man" Rockstar with Dolly Parton

Live albums

Year Title Ref.
2016 Live at the Belly Up: The Ann Wilson Thing! [47]


Year Title Notes Ref.
2021 The Daybreaks EP which compiles the two singles recorded with the Daybreaks [48]


  1. ^ Ann Wilson was also known as a dramatic soprano.[8]


  1. ^ "Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson To Be Honored at 26th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards Ceremony". ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher). February 27, 2009.
  2. ^ Shindler, Merrill (July 28, 1977). "The Wilson Sisters Talk Heart to Heart". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Kohn, David (July 15, 2003). "Taking Heart in New Surgery". CBS News. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  4. ^ "Gold & Platinum – RIAA". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "Heart". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  6. ^ "Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". December 4, 2006. Archived from the original on March 31, 2015.
  7. ^ York, Alan (October 11, 2011). "Best Frontmen And Women: 20 Iconic Singers Who Broke the Mould". Dig!. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  8. ^ Horley, Laura (April 14, 2016). "Doing Her Thing: Ann Wilson". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  9. ^ Greene, Andy (December 11, 2012). "Heart on Their Hall of Fame Induction: 'We Weren't Sure It Was Real'". Rolling Stone.
  10. ^ Shindler, Merrill (July 28, 1977). "The Wilson Sisters Talk Heart to Heart". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  11. ^ Gostin, Nicki (October 4, 2012). "Heart's Ann Wilson talks weight bullies, the early days of MTV, and being a woman in the manly world of rock". Fox News. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  12. ^ Novak, Jessica (June 24, 2015). "Ann Wilson: Wild at Heart". Syracuse New Times. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Bergman, Julie (September 1999). "Guitar Queen of Heart". Acoustic Guitar. No. 81. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  14. ^ McLane, Daisann (May 15, 1980). "Heart Attack". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  15. ^ Ward, Marshall (April 2, 2013). "The Heart of Ann Wilson". Rock Cellar Magazine. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Brodeur, Nicole (September 11, 2007). "Heart, soul, Ann Wilson". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Andrews, Mildred and John Caldbick. Cornish College of the Arts. HistoryLink, November 12, 2014. Web.
  18. ^ Gehman, Geoff (July 27, 2001). "A Walk Down Abbey Road' is a can't-miss magical history tour". The Morning Call. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  19. ^ "Thanksgiving: Ann to sing national anthem". November 16, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  20. ^ Kielty, Martin (December 9, 2014). "Heart's Led Zep performance was 'life changing'". Louder – via
  21. ^ "Ann Wilson of Heart Announces Solo Mini Tour "The Ann Wilson Thing"". July 13, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  22. ^ "Ann Wilson of Heart Releases 'The Ann Wilson Thing' EP – Listen". Rock Cellar Magazine. September 18, 2015. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  23. ^ "EP #2 - Focus is here". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  24. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Ann Wilson In Focus Full Film". YouTube. October 12, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  25. ^ "See Ann Wilson, Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell Salute Chris Cornell at Rock Hall of Fame". Rolling Stone. April 14, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  26. ^ "Ann Wilson of Heart Releases 'You Don't Own Me' as 2nd Track from Her New Solo Album 'Immortal'". Archived from the original on April 23, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  27. ^ Wardlaw, Matt (May 10, 2021). "Ann Wilson Revisits First, Pre-Heart Recordings With New Reissue". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  28. ^ Benitez-Eves, Tina (November 14, 2022). "Bryan Adams, Patti Smith, R.E.M., Ann Wilson, Doobie Brothers Among 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame Nominees". American Songwriter. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  29. ^ "Disturbed". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  30. ^ Windeler, Robert (June 20, 1977). "Ann & Mike & Nancy & Roger: the Sisters Wilson and Brothers Fisher Make Heart Beat". People. Vol. 7, no. 24. pp. 55–56. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  31. ^ Sheff, David (March 31, 1980). "Rock's Wilson Sisters Kissed Off the Fisher Brothers, but Heart's Beat Goes on". People. Vol. 13, no. 13. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  32. ^ Dawn, Randee (April 29, 2015). "Crazy on him: Heart's Ann Wilson marries man she 'tried to seduce' 30 years ago". Today. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  33. ^ Nelson, Jeff (April 27, 2015). "Heart Singer Ann Wilson Marries Dean Wetter". People. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  34. ^ "Ann Wilson's Husband Dean Wetter Arrested for Assault of Twin Nephews". People. August 30, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  35. ^ "Heart singer Ann Wilson's husband sentenced in teen assault". CBS News. April 17, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  36. ^ a b Newman, Jason (April 10, 2017). "Heart: Can Ann and Nancy Wilson Go on After Family Assault?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  37. ^ Kreps, Daniel (February 11, 2019). "Heart Reunite for All-Star 'Love Alive' Summer Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  38. ^ Arnold, Chuck (February 27, 2019). "Heart rockers Ann and Nancy Wilson are no longer estranged". New York Post. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  39. ^ Falcon, Mike; Shoop, Stephen A. (December 11, 2002). "Ann Wilson finds a weight-loss hit". USA Today. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  40. ^ Wilson, Ann; Wilson, Nancy; Cross, Charles R. (2012). "Chapter 25: Hope and Glory". Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll. Harper Collins. ISBN 9780062101693.
  41. ^ Ward, Matt (August 24, 2012). "Heart's Ann Wilson On Getting Sober: 'The Tarp has Come Off'". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  42. ^ Immortal by Ann Wilson, retrieved April 20, 2021
  43. ^ a b Scarlett, Elizabeth (March 9, 2022). "Heart's Ann Wilson shares new single Missionary Man". loudersound. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  44. ^ a b "Get millions of songs. All ad-free". Apple Music. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  45. ^ "The Daybreaks". Discogs. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  46. ^ "Ann Wilson". Discogs. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  47. ^ Live at the Belly Up: The Ann Wilson Thing! by Ann Wilson, archived from the original on March 29, 2022, retrieved April 20, 2021
  48. ^ "Ann Wilson Opens The Vault To Pre-Heart Era Recordings, 'The Daybreaks' EP". American Blues Scene. May 24, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021.