Heart wasn't the first to record this song. "Alone" first appeared on the 1983 album Taking a Cold Look
by i-Ten, a group comprised of the song's writers, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. In a Songfacts interview with Billy Steinberg
, he told the story: "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."