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Alone by Heart

Album: Bad AnimalsReleased: 1987Charted:
1
3
  • This was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. They are a very successful songwriting team who have written several other #1 hits, including "So Emotional," "Like A Virgin" and "Eternal Flame." Most of their songs start with a lyric Steinberg comes up with. Kelly writes most of the music and sings on the demos.
  • Steinberg: "The song 'Alone,' even though it was released after 'True Colors' and 'Like a Virgin,' it was written well before those songs. Tom Kelly and I were signed to Epic Records and we made one album under the name i-Ten. It was sort of made out to look like a group, but it was really just the two of us. We made this album and it was co-produced by Keith Olsen and Steve Lukather. I wasn't really happy with the way it turned out, but it did have some good songs on it. One of the songs on it was 'Alone.' The album was titled Taking A Cold Look. It didn't do much although it has sort of a cult following in Europe. The most prominent song on it was 'Alone.' Tom and I recorded it for that record and just sort of set it aside when that record didn't succeed. In fact, all the songs on that i-Ten record had a slightly unpleasant association to me because the whole recording process of making that record was very unpleasant to me. I just put those songs in a drawer and forgot about them, but then Tom and I were having a good deal of success with 'Like a Virgin' and 'True Colors' and then we heard that Heart was looking for a power ballad and Tom said, 'What about 'Alone'?' I winced and said, 'Oh, I don't really want to look at that song.' He said, 'What do you mean? That's perfect.' We took the song out and sure enough it was relatively easy to do because we liked everything about the song except the first line of the chorus. The version on i-Ten, the lyric said, 'I always fared well on my own.' Both lyrically and melodically it felt very stiff and unappealing. So I did a minor change on the lyric and it said, 'Til now, I always got by on my own,' and Tom changed the melody and gave it much more movement and almost a slightly R&B feel on the first line of the chorus. That really lifted the chorus, and then all of the sudden I liked the song again. We made a new demo of the song very quickly and presented it to Ron Nevison, who was producing Heart at that time. He loved it and they cut it."
  • Steinberg and Kelly met the Wilson sisters for the first time when they were invited to the studio where this was being recorded. Kelly, who was an experienced session singer, ended up singing high harmony parts on the record. (Check out our interview with Billy Steinberg.)
  • After their 1983 album Passionworks, Heart left Epic Records and signed with Capitol, where they had enormous success with soaring ballads like "What About Love" and "These Dreams." The band wrote most of their early hits, which were rockers like "Barracuda" and "Magic Man," but starting with their 1985 album Heart, they got a lot of help from some top songwriters. In addition to Steinberg and Kelly, Heart recorded songs by Diane Warren, Bernie Taupin and Martin Page.
  • This was the first Heart song that was a hit in England.
  • In 1991, the Wilson sisters became co-owners of a recording studio in Seattle that was named after this album. Soundgarden, REM, Nirvana, Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Pearl Jam all recorded there.
  • In 2004, when Carrie Underwood performed this on American Idol, judge Simon Cowell said, "Not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner." Underwood did win the competition.
  • Celine Dion recorded this for her 2007 album Taking Chances. Her version was produced by Ben Moody, a former member of Evanescence.
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Comments: 17

Just like witnessing an outstanding performance by an athelete, I get the same rush listening to Ann belt out "Alone." The clarity and emotion of her voice, as with a select few great vocalists is a unique experience!Scotty - Cheyenne, Wy
I LOVE this song!! Wooh!!Casey - Lynn, Ma
I love this song. It perfectly describes the difficulty of trying to make the transition of friends/acquaintances into lovers. And it is hard to try to get someone alone to put the moves on and ask them out!Carrie - Roanoke, Va
Ann Wilson is one of the few rocker chicks who can pull songs like Alone, Magic Man and Baracuda and no one can even come close. There can only be one Ann Wilson.Alma - Laredo, Tx
I love this song and Ann's superb voice. The emotion and heartfelt feeling in this song always gives me goosebumps.Debra - Lees Summit, Mo
this song is AWESOME. love it. love it.Chloe - Christchurch, New Zealand
Although 20 years have passed since this song was popular, I still feel like I need to slow dance with some middle school crush. Not a feeling that I want but had to address it somehow.Julia - Knoxville, Tn
I love this song. :D It was just on a bit ago, in fact! And I totally belted it out. ...Too bad I got nothin' on Ann Wilson. Not at all.Elena - Tiffin, Oh
Carrie Underwood's performance of Alone is excellent technically, but it invokes nowhere near the same emotion as Heart's recording.

I prefer the straight-hitting power rock ballad than the jazzed up pop version. It just seems more appropriate given the lyrics.

Every time this song comes up on my ipod, I can never change the track. In fact, I'll listen to it usually 3 times in a row. iTunes and Winamp report more than twice the # played compared to the second most played song.
Neal - North, Nj
probably the best song ive ever heardJody - Pompano Beach, Fl
Although they had been making records since the mid-1970s, it was not until 1987 that Heart became well-known in the UK with this song. It made UK Top 3 in October 1987, and was the first - and biggest - of 4 UK Top 20 hits for the band between 1987 and 1990. Although their UK hits soon began to dry out, Heart are huge in the US and have continued to record to the present dayDave - Cardiff, Wales
My all time favourite song, been that way ever since release back in the late 80's. Have heard many attempts at it on tv here in the UK and nobody could even come near to Ann Wilson's power. Being a Brit, I'd not even heard of Carrie Underwood until reading these comments. A quick google search found the video from the US reality show. My opinion - she pulls it off, superb and credit to the young woman for going with this song.Gary - Stowmarket Suffolk, England
Carrie Underwood did well on this song during AI, but she was nowhere near Ann Wilson's caliber. Carrie lacks the strength and maturity that Ann's voice has and had in 1986 (when this song was recorded, not when it charted).Paul - Detroit, Mi
Doesn't it seem like Kelly Clarkson has been the only really successful Idol?Kelli - Cedar Rapids, Ia
Carrie can't begin to touch Ann as a singer. She's the best.Debbie - Minneapolis, Mn
Carrie Underwood's awesome rendition of "Alone" during Season 4 of American Idol probably won her the title and gave Ann Wilson a run for the money.Rick - San Juan, United States
The recording studio as mentioned in this thread is called "Bad Animals"Shanny - Detroit, Mi