Ann Wilson on singing Barracuda for 'Dancing with the Stars': 'I was disappointed Sarah Palin wasn't there because we would have dedicated it to her'

dwts-heartAs surprising as it might have been for Heart fans to see Nancy and Ann Wilson perform on Dancing with the Stars Tuesday, it was equally as shocking for the two women – especially when they looked down to see the show’s professional hoofers moving to their distinctive beat. 

“When would a rock band play for a ballroom dance?” Ann Wilson asked reporters afterwards. “When people used to dance to us years ago, it was in a tavern or at a high school dance. At first, we looked at each other and went, `Is this rock?’ And then we went, ‘Yeah, it is.’ It doesn’t matter.”

“This is a first,” says Nancy Wilson. “It’s wonderful because it’s a first. It’s sweet.” 

It was the producers’ request that Heart perform Barracuda, and the ladies were happy to oblige. “It’s a powerful, gritty rock song, which is really what they wanted for rock week,” says Ann Wilson. “I was just disappointed that Sarah Palin wasn’t here to watch her daughter, because we would have dedicated it to her.”

Though she earned low scores on Monday, “teen activist” Bristol Palin remains a contender for the mirrored ball trophy on Stars. 

The song Barracuda and Palin have quite a history. In 2008, the Republican National Convention played Barracuda when introducing Palin as John McCain’s running mate. At the time, Heart told reporters that the GOP did not seek permission to use the song, nor would it have granted permission. Heart also sent an exclusive statement to EW that read, “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women … The song Barracuda was written in the late ’70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women.”

On Tuesday, Ann Wilson talked to reporters about how Barracuda is just as relevant today as it was when it was penned over three decades ago. “That song is just as full as angst as it was when it was written. That’s why that song stands the test of time. It’s just a screed. It’s a piece of angry flip out and that’s how it should be put across every time. That’s easy to do!”

Heart’s next gig is an acoustic performance at a Michelle Obama-hosted Democratic fundraiser. The duo have also booked a Brian Boitano skating special this Christmas. Yep, you read that right: They’re performing near ice this time! 

“That will be another first,” says Nancy Wilson. “Instead of ballroom dancers, there will be ice skaters in front of the stage!”

Heart will then tour with Def Leppard next summer.


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  • Ryan

    im a gay man and I MIGHT be on DWTS next year. I want a gay male partner and be the first same sex couple

    • Anna

      Will Julianne be cool with that?

      • jk

        AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA it took me a while but I GOT THIS JOKE!

    • Marco

      And what song do you expect to dance to? YMCA!

  • Deb

    Why didn’t they have Heart perform a second song? Although I must admit Kylie Minogue’s performance was hilarious! I was so inspired I came up with a few alternate lyrics for the dancers :

    “I am wearing wearing spandex -Now I’M SITTING ON A CHAIR –
    Look how I can vogue – I can, lift this chair —OMG I am so strong.
    Don’t you want to look this sexy — when acting like a dork!!

  • Tarc

    Nancy Wilson rocks.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Hey EW, instead of four articles about DWTS and about five for Glee, how about at least one article on the new best show this season Raising Hope

    • Denise

      I second that , Rusty.
      Raising Hope is the best comedy show to come out in quite some time.

    • Strepsi

      I third this: RAISING HOPE had me on the floor last night, with MeMaw putting the cat costume on backwards so it looked like she had a big black c**k. That and putting makeup on the baby. I swear I LOL several times an episode. Love it.

    • Sally

      AMEN! I am a DWTS fan, and I think it is a shame EW has multiple articles about it, often repeating themselves, and zilch about Raising Hope.

  • Al

    “[A] scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business”, which they have licensed out for car commercials.

    • Karl

      Appearing on DWTS is “wonderful…” because they get paid for it.

    • Dawn

      Agreed. These ladies sold out to “soulless corporate rock” years ago. They will continue to regurgitate Barracuda for years to come (and without giving their original bandmates credit for writing the song!)

      • Doug

        That’s right…didn’t Roger Fisher come up with the guitar riff and arrangement of the song? Heart’s music has been lame since they fired him.

      • Bubba

        Roger Fisher may have written the riff, but Ann Wilson wrote the lyrics of the song. The producers of the show wanted them to play Barracuda. I am sure Ann and Nancy would have preferred to play something from their excellent new album “Red Velvet Car” – their best since “Dog and The Butterfly”.

      • Heratlyss1

        Actually Fisher stole that rift from Zepplin but Ann did wite the Lyrics.

  • naynay

    how is a 20 year old a “teen” anything??

    • IMissKristi

      She’s an activist *for* teens.

      • Andagain

        Sure she is. Such a role model..

      • jodipo

        if she was an activist for anyone but herself she would be preaching safe sex, not abstinence (which she herself never held to)

  • Shameonu

    The producers wanted them to play the song?what a lame excuse for selling out that song again! ann and nancy are makeing it sound as if they just happened to be sitting in the audience at the proposition..lol Which is worse! Those two have playing “The Victim”down! I guess those two gals cant get enuff attention or money.Is it ever enuff when it comes to greed?Scuse me while I go listen to “Nobodys fault but mine”by Led Zep.Later!

  • Sal

    Wow! I always wanted to know how to dance to this Rock and Roll song and I was impressed with the dancers dancing Tango and Flamenco to it.

  • marriage

    While helping thousands of guys recharge their sex life, I noticed something very strange. Many guys approach their wives for sex, while completely ignoring her current mind state. For example, it seems like the most popular method of initiating sex is just flat out suggesting it.

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