Back at it again with another Bands In The Woods Wednesday, today with the iconic cover for Heart’s second album, Little Queen released in May 17, 1977. Although, Heart have roots in Vancouver, this photo was not taken in the deep forests of Canada. Rather, these photos were taken at Griffith Park in Los Angeles by legendary rock photographer Bob Seidemann, who worked throughout California and the Seattle area. The guitarist, Howard Leese, fresh from the recording sessions, describes the album (in the video below) as “a very forest album.”
Coincidentally, this may be my favourite Heart album not just because it fits the outdoor theme of cottagemixtape.com, but because the album is more cohesive than their previous album, Dreamboat Annie. The band (at this time period) are tight and this is reflected in recordings themselves. The album is characteristically rough around the edges and furious with a live feel, this is probably due to the circumstances surrounding the release.
The story goes, they were trying to complete it before an injunction could be made to stop them from recording. So, the time restraints and a desire to keep their momentum going, created this defiant in-your-face kind of Heart. Whether its “Barracuda”, a confrontational piece about the sexism in the music industry, reportedly after an incident with a journalist; or the strutting moxie of the title track, “Little Queen”, the songs have an attitude about them. However, not all of the fantasy and sense of the romantic is lost with songs like “Sylvan Song” and “Dream Of The Archer”, and this further evident in the album cover as well.
The theme of the photoshoot, as Nancy Wilson relates in the video, is they are a travelling band of gypsies, something that the band could relate to, as a constantly touring band. Not only that, they had called British Columbia, Seattle and now Los Angeles home, so they were this kind of nomadic band moving along the west coast when they weren’t touring. Furthermore, they were transitioning to a new label, Profile Records, from Mushroom Records and the split was not so amicable. So, this is definitely an album of transitions. However, it was not all calamity. They were not completely lost in the proverbial woods. They seemed to be enjoying the chaos somewhat and their new found popularity and the photos and album prove it.
You can listen to tracks from Heart’s “Little Queen”: