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Gunadi Pataswan
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Classic Rock albums you should have or heard before you die.

Heart - Dreamboat Annie (1975)

Dreamboat Annie is the debut album by American rock band Heart. At the time, the band was based in Vancouver B.C., and the album was recorded in B.C. and first released in Canada by Mushroom Records (Canada) in the fall of 1975. It was released in the United States on February 14, 1976 through the L.A. subsidiary of Mushroom Records (Canada). It contained three hit singles which became staples on FM radio. Producer Mike Flicker helped the group to polish their sound and obtain a recording contract with the label.

Heart's first single How Deep it Goes b/w Here Song (M-7008) received little attention when released in Canada by the small Mushroom label in 1975. The second single Magic Man b/w How Deep it Goes was first picked up for radio play by CJFM – FM 96 in Montreal while the band was on tour playing small club dates.

Dreamboat Annie was released following the success of the second single. The album cover was designed by current Emily Carr University of Art and Design communication design instructor Deborah Shackleton Heart's first radio success earned them a spot opening a Montreal concert for Rod Stewart in October 1975. More Canadian airplay soon followed, partly because Heart's recordings qualified for Canadian content broadcast requirements. The album sold an impressive 30,000 copies across Canada in its first few months.
Mushroom then formed a US division and released Dreamboat Annie on Valentine's Day 1976 in the Seattle area, where Heart's members had lived and played before relocating to Canada in the early 1970s. The album was played by Seattle stations KISW and KZOK and promptly sold another 25,000 copies in the local area. The group and their label then began working together to build success for the album city by city.  According to Flicker, this was part of a plan to convince record distributors that Mushroom had a hit record, so that the album would get national distribution

The success of the album indirectly led to a break between the band and label. The first cracks appeared when the group tried to renegotiate their royalty rate to be more in keeping with what they thought a platinum band should be earning. For this Michael Fisher, who was Ann's boyfriend at the time, stepped aside as de facto manager and Ken Kinnear was hired. Mushroom's tough stance in negotiations, and their opinion that perhaps the band was a one-hit wonder, led to Mike Flicker leaving Mushroom. (He did, however, continue to produce for Heart.)
The relationship broke down completely when the label bought a full-page ad in Rolling Stone mocked up like a National Enquirer front page. The ad used a photo similar to the one on the Dreamboat Annie album cover, showing Ann and Nancy back to back with bare shoulders. The caption under the photo read "It Was Only Our First Time". The band had not been consulted and was furious with the double meaning of the caption.
Since the label could no longer provide Flicker as producer as the contract specified, the band took the position that they were free to move to another label and signed with Portrait. Mushroom insisted that the band was still bound to the contract which called for two albums. So, Mushroom released Magazine with incomplete tracks, studio outtakes and live material and a disclaimer on the cover.
The band got a federal injunction to recall the album, but not before about 50,000 copies had been sold. The court eventually decided that the band could sign with Portrait, but that they did owe Mushroom a second album. The band returned to the studio to re-record, remix, edit, and re-sequence the recordings. Magazine was re-released in 1978 and sold a million copies in less than a month. See Magazine for information about the differences between the two versions.
Shelley Siegal, the promoter behind the "First Time" ad, died a few months after the re-release, and Mushroom Records went bankrupt a few years later. The episode had at least one more repercussion. Not long after the ad appeared, a radio promoter asked Ann about her lover – he was referring to Nancy, thus implying that the sisters were incestuous lesbian lovers. The encounter infuriated Ann who went back to her hotel and penned the words to what became Heart's signature song, "Barracuda".

The album was recorded on an Ampex MM1000 16-track tape recorder (which formerly belonged to United Western Recorders) at the Can-Base Studios in Vancouver, BC, which were later renamed to the current Mushroom Studios. It was the first major hit album recorded there.

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