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Flashback Video: 'Alone' by Heart

Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.

This issue we will cover "Alone" by Heart. The single was released in May of 1987 from the album Bad Animals which would come out in June. It would race up the charts and on July 11, 1987 it bumped Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” out of the top spot and remain there for three weeks eventually losing the #1 spot to Bob Seger’s “Shakedown” on July 26th. Since "Alone" topped the chart for almost the entire month of July, it always brings back immediate memories of the summer of 1987.

Many people do not know that “Alone” is actually a cover song. It was originally written and released in 1983 by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly’s group I-Ten. Impressively, that songwriting duo also wrote such '80s hits as Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame,” and Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional.” You can find out more about them writing "Alone" and those other '80s hits in my interview with Billy Steinberg. Somewhat surprising, in 1984 "Alone" had also been recorded by John Stamos (yes, Uncle Jesse) as part of his role on the short-lived CBS sitcom Dreams (which he did after leaving his role as “Blackie” on General Hospital) but that would not get the song any notoriety either. It was not until 1987, when Ann Wilson and Heart released their version, that the song would get the attention it deserved. “Alone” would end up being Heart’s most successful single amongst a strong catalog of hits. It is really the incomparable voice of Ann Wilson that brings this power ballad to life. She starts very subdued in the first verse with only the piano accompaniment and then launches into the chorus. Music videos were a big contributor to Heart's resurgence in the mid-80s and this one was definitely part of that. The music video for "Alone" was directed by Marty Callner who had directed two of Heart's previous hit videos with "Never" in 1985 and "Nothin' At All" in 1986. Callner was quite prolific when it came to '80s music videos previously directing Laura Branigan "Gloria", Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It", Twisted Sister "I Wanna Rock", Pat Benatar "We Belong" and Pat Benatar "Invincible" among many more. Then later continued with Whitesnake "Here I Go Again", Whitesnake "Is This Love", Aerosmith "Angel", Aerosmith "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", Poison "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", Aerosmith "Rag Doll", Cher "If I Could Turn Back Time", Aerosmith "Love in an Elevator" and many, many more continuing well into the '90s. The video is mostly performance footage, but seems to include a vague subplot where Ann Wilson is wearing a black veil and Nancy is playing a broken down piano as well as riding a black horse. There is definitely an undertone of sadness and pain that comes across in the song as well as the music video. I personally love the extreme close-ups with both Ann and Nancy side by side in the video. Here is the music video for "Alone" by Heart...

Later on, in live performances, Heart would perform an acoustic version of “Alone” which I like even better than the original. It still has Ann Wilson’s amazing vocals, but somehow more poignant stripped down and Nancy’s acoustic guitar seems even more fitting. I enjoy this performance so much, even though it's not from the '80s I still wanted to share it here as well…

Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!



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