Album: Bad Animals (1987)
Charted: 3 1


  • In this song, Heart lead singer Ann Wilson is boiling over with feelings for a guy, and she's finally ready to tell him the news. But sitting alone in her dark room, the thought of it gives her chills. She has to find a way to tell him her secret. "How do I get you alone," she wonders.
  • The lyrics to Heart's early songs were often driven by the real-life romances of Ann and Nancy Wilson - "Crazy On You" for instance, is a lusty song about Ann's boyfriend at the time, Mike Fisher, who was once a member of the band. "Alone," though, came from outside writers who were very good at supplying hit songs for female vocalists. It was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Heart also had a different lineup at this time. By 1985, they had parted ways with three of the band members who played on their '70s albums: guitarist Roger Fisher, bass player Steve Fossen, and drummer Michael DeRosier, leaving just the Wilson sisters and multi-instrumentalist Howard Leese. The '80s version of Heart had Mark Andes on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums.
  • The music video was directed by Marty Callner, whose work includes "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" for Aerosmith and "Always" for Bon Jovi. The video is mostly performance footage, but with a vague subplot where Ann Wilson is on a balcony, wearing a black veil. Videos were a big part of Heart's resurgence; they got airplay on both MTV and VH1, which launched in 1985.
  • In 1991, the Wilson sisters became co-owners of a recording studio in Seattle that was named Bad Animals 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.

Comments: 20

  • Dave from Greer, ScI'm so in love with the Wilson sisters in the music video.

    I was truly born in the wrong decade.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhAn excerpt from Ann and Nancy Wilson's autobiography "Kicking and Dreaming"...Ann has this to say about "Alone": When it came to recording "Alone," Ron Nevison, whose name we had started to sing to the tune of "Bad Medicine" because it rhymed, and because his dictatorial style increasingly clashed with ours, did his magic. He used extreme dynamics between the verse and the chorus, and our excellent drummer Denny Carmassi made the song more dramatic. Ron asked me to delay a moment before singing the chorus after the second verse, and to ad-lib. I wasn't sure what to sing, so I let out a scream. It ended up being exactly the primal emotion the song needed to make it rock. I'd been singing Led Zeppelin songs for years, and now I had my own Robert Plant moment on record.
  • Rachel from NjI love, "Alone!" It's a beautiful song and Ann Wilson's voice is amazing! Just spectacular!
  • Scotty from Cheyenne, WyJust 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!
  • Casey from Lynn, MaI LOVE this song!! Wooh!!
  • Carrie from Roanoke, VaI 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!
  • Alma from Laredo, TxAnn 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.
  • Debra from Lees Summit, MoI love this song and Ann's superb voice. The emotion and heartfelt feeling in this song always gives me goosebumps.
  • Chloe from Christchurch, New Zealandthis song is AWESOME. love it. love it.
  • Julia from Knoxville, TnAlthough 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.
  • Elena from Tiffin, OhI 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.
  • Neal from North, NjCarrie 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.
  • Jody from Pompano Beach, Flprobably the best song ive ever heard
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesAlthough 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 day
  • Gary from Stowmarket Suffolk, EnglandMy 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.
  • Paul from Detroit, MiCarrie 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).
  • Kelli from Cedar Rapids, IaDoesn't it seem like Kelly Clarkson has been the only really successful Idol?
  • Debbie from Minneapolis, MnCarrie can't begin to touch Ann as a singer. She's the best.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesCarrie 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.
  • Shanny from Detroit, MiThe recording studio as mentioned in this thread is called "Bad Animals"
see more comments

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