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07.24.2010
Writing Mistral Wind
Posted by: Sue Ennis

Ann, Nancy and I wrote this song in my dingy, little apartment in Berkeley CA. one afternoon. Our jumping off point was a simple, catchy chord progression Roger had given us. We decided to build our chorus around that strong progression and we were off and running. The 3 of us sat on the floor of my tiny living room, each playing, creating musical chaos with our guitars, but as we started to work out the main opening riff to the song, Ann and I put down our instruments and let Nancy do the finger-work. We wanted to capture something haunting so we began directing Nancy to try some strange notes. Soon she had fashioned out a series of 6 notes that seemed like they were in love with each other. They just needed to go together and we were so happy to have found them. We got the verse progression from those notes and discovered that it led nicely into our new chorus. We now had our beginning blue print for the song.

Meanwhile, we'd been looking for a something to write about. Ann and Nancy had recently come off a 9 month tour of the US and they were trying to think of something they'd experienced that was worthy of building a song around. After "Love Alive" - which features a verse about the transcendent experience being on stage - we all agreed that songs about road life are boring and non-relatable and didn't want to write anymore. Who wants to hear about the French fries in Kansas or the men's locker rooms that served as backstage areas at some of the gigs? And I had completely NOTHING to offer since I was in grad school studying German lit. Anybody in the mood to hear a depressing song inspired by Kafka? As we sat there, struggling to find just the right concept for our new song, someone said, "this is like being in a sailboat on a windless day, waiting for the wind to rise so you can move on." I started riffing about the Mistral Wind in Europe and some of the legends associated with it. Seemed like the Mistral Wind could represent inspiration. We came up with the idea that we were sailors calling, crying, begging for the wind to come. Ann had the idea to link the concept with a kind of longing for a lover. So: it was to be a song about passion! Artistic passion and passionate love, all together in one song.  Yeah, back in the 70's you could write songs with dramatic, lofty goals. Sometimes, they actually worked!

Once we had all the elements in place, we could jump in and assemble our big monument. That's what you can't wait for when you're writing a song:  the fun part, the incredible, joyful, cool part, as things start to come together.

I remember us trying to figure out how to build the song, make it bigger and bigger, turn on even more intensity.  Nancy said to Ann "You could always just go up an octave towards the end."  And Ann nodded, "OK. Sure." But the thing was, it was a superhuman vocal leap for an ordinary singer. (Like me and maybe you.) But Ann just nodded. And when she got to the studio, she pulled it off without strain, without a stretch.  Effortless. I tell you, writing for her voice spoiled me. Many years later, I tried to direct a demo singer to go up an octave in order to increase excitement on one of my songs and she just stared back at me. "Could you please ask me to do something POSSIBLE? Jeez, I'm not Ann Wilson!"

Mistral Wind is one of our favorite songs we've ever written. The crew in the studio did a fantastic job capturing the song on the record but I've always thought the Mistral journey is best experienced live. 

Back

Perth Concert

Just back from the NIB stadium, Heart absolutely fantastic, played for an hour then Def Leppard for nearly 2 hours? what the!! give me 2 hours of Ann - Nancy and the band any day, going to Adelaide and Melbourne to see the girls again, would I like like to meet and great them? I would be in inconsolable.

Posted by 2011-10-18 01:53:45.

Perth Concert - Oz

Fantastic concert - Loved it Loved it Loved it ! Ive been listening to you since I was 15 years old - Im 48 now and have waited for ever to see you live. Come back again soon :-)

Posted by 2011-10-18 01:53:30.

Oz tour-Perth Concert

Just getting ready to head of for the concert of a life time at the NIB stadium in Perth Western Australia, Heart music pounding away from some old cerwin Vega S1 speakers, house is shaking, windows are rattling, pictures and anything not glued or bolted down vibrating off the walls, bring on 7.00pm Heart start time. I and all of Australia can only hope this will not be the first and last time Heart tour this fantastic country we live in. Dont care what you play tonight girls, just being able to witness you and the group in concert tonight will honestly be one of the highlights of my life, having followed Heart from day 1 (I am 1961 vintage)I have seen many many bands play in my time but never wanted to witness any band in concert more than you guys, I am surprised that Heart is a support band for the supposed lead act Def leppard! in my mind it should be the other way around! What you have done for women in rock n roll is immeasurable Rock on Ann, Nancy and the band.

Posted by 2011-10-18 01:53:05.

Bring on the Aussie tour !!!

I have to admit Mistral Wind is one of my faves but I love everything Ann sings. Just wanted to say your music has been the soundtrack of my life and I can't wait to see you in OZ, finally all of the long suffering Aussie fans get to experience the incredible live performance we've only witnessed from afar, Thank you from the bottom of my heart Ann and Nancy for making the trip down under!! oh and please include Mistral Wind on the set list in Sydney lol

Posted by 2011-10-05 18:17:32.

lonesomedave

Watched Dreamboat Annie concert this morning on Palladia. It wasn't perfect, but far better than perfect because it showed the real talent of the Wilson sisters and their entourage. Throw in Dog and Butterfly and Barracuda and you have one of the best collections of soulful and spot-on rock for the ages.

Posted by 2011-10-05 18:17:08.

Concert in Salt Lake City

I have been a huge fan for since the "70's. I went to see you in SLC. What a GREAT concert!! It was the best time I've ever had!! You ladies still have it! Just thanks for a great show!! So glad I finally got to see you in concert! Great Show!

Posted by 2011-10-05 18:15:37.

Sept 2nd Concert

I am so excited to see Heart this Friday!!!!! SEPT 2, 2011...

Posted by 2011-10-05 18:15:26.

rock on ladies

attended cleveland show last night and it was FABULOUS! you sound incredible as ever and i loved the way you interacted with crowd. you can tell you love what you do! keep on rockin..cindy

Posted by 2011-10-05 18:14:20.

The Best Yet

I've seen Heart 5 times and have to say this was the best show yet. They seemed so intrinsic, intertwined and majestic on stage. There was nothing quite like it. OH except that I met them that same night ;) Hope Indiana treated you well, gals. Love Alive!!!

Posted by 2011-08-23 11:20:37.

HEART ROCKED ST LOUIS 8/10/11

as much as I love Def Leppard I have to admit that Ann and Nancy stole she show!!!! They put on a great concert!!!!!!

Posted by 2011-08-12 16:55:52.

Texas Jam

Dose anyone remember: Texas Jam late 70's Mistral Wind began as a storm blew through..... Even with a lot of great memories and at my age now, it's still one of the best experiences ever. Nature and Heart together.....Live...... Rock on

Posted by 2011-08-12 16:55:39.

Mistral Wind

This song brought me to tears when I saw them perform it on the Dog & Butterfly tour. Kind of a tough position to be in as a teenage guy at the time. Hoping to hear it in Hershey tonight but it seems their set time is short to accommodate the headliner. That is unfortunate.

Posted by 2011-08-12 16:46:12.

Heart

I can`t wait to see you with Def Leppard tonight at Hershey Pa. This will be my first concert. you girls together are PERFECTION!!!! God brought you two girls together for a reason...Now you know and the whole world knows why.It would be so AWESOME to meet you both an of course with your crew. And to also meet Def Leppard also. That would just tickle me to death.But I still get to go see you play your music..Along with Def Leppard. It`s going to be something to hear beyond my wildest dreams!!! SEE YOU TONIGHT!!

Posted by 2011-08-12 16:45:11.

Commencement Address

Once again Ann I read your commencement address to the seniors in my government and economics classes at the high school I teach at. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. The response was wonderful from the students. Your words contain compassion and truth and the students "get it". I told them who wrote it. They know who you are! It's nice to get another "perspective" in the classroom. Anytime you want to share again, I'm listening and they will too. Thanks again Ann!

Posted by 2011-06-30 16:22:43.

THE BEST!

HEART had me after 10 seconds of MAGIC MAN! would love to hear HEART perform Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm gonna leave you". Ann's vocals would knock it out of the park! Nancy's guitar work would do it justice......and then some!

Posted by 2011-06-30 16:22:35.

Happy Birthday, Ann

Hi Ann, I'm 46 now. When I was a kid, I had a very troubled childhood. Listening to Heart's music saw me through a lot of heartache over the years (since childhood), and encouraged me to become a rock goddess myself (bass and sing). I just wanted to let you know I'm so grateful for the part you and Nancy have unknowingly played in my life, the help your music has given me and because of this, I'll always love you (as much as a stranger can :-), because of your strength, passion, care, grace, talent, etc..as well as all you've both conveyed with through your art. Universe bless you and have a great birthday! Teri

Posted by 2011-06-30 16:22:06.

Sept 2nd Concert

Ann you are a amazing woman and loved!!! Cant wait to see you in concert!!!!! here in New Mexico!!!

Posted by 2011-05-19 17:19:53.

DIVAS

Heart, you guys are great, I have seen you five times. Ann, you are loved!! Julie

Posted by 2011-05-04 17:04:14.

Please, include Costa Rica, we love you :)

Only kids are coming, Jonas, Miley, Shakira, no real singers! We want Heart!!!

Posted by 2011-05-04 17:04:05.

aussie die hard fans

Ann and Nancy, please can you come to austraila. i have been a die hard fan since first hearing you with dreamboat annie and have every song and album and love every aspect or your music and have always longed fo ryou guys to tour down under. Now that you are touring with Def Leppard(my second favorite Band)it makes it even more important for your aussie fans.My wife is nuts to for you guys and watched you guys on ellen too. please come down

Posted by 2011-04-08 14:12:19.

Mistral Wind...

I Love Ann and Nancy Wilson! I Love the song Mistral Wind! I Love Heart! Can't wait to see yo again in August!! Keep your Love alive!!!mztralwind

Posted by 2011-04-08 14:11:55.

Aug. 20th 2011 show

Cannot wait to see your show there-saw you Aug. 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA. In the late 1970's, I was looking through my stepdad's albums & was really dumbfounded when I came across an album called "Dreamboat Annie". I thought, "who are these women in this ROCK band? I'd never been exposed to something like it before-you guys changed the direction of my life-I am 42 years old-still playing drums & singing. In the 1980's, I met a guy who said "girl's should not play drums" - now, I look back & laugh! I wish I could find that guy-I would sincerely thank him for motivating me! lol - I work full time selling insurance & I am in 3 working bands, plus one that is perpetually finishing a cd of original music-that band is called "Grinding Grain". Anyway, God bless you guys & thanks again. Sincerely, Kelly Stoffa.

Posted by 2011-03-16 13:32:34.

from trumpettree

i want to thank you both for your heavinly music. i hope your lives are well. you both saved my life through your gift of music. i turn 50 this week, as does my wife, in my eyes you will always be my Girls. ty gary

Posted by 2011-03-16 13:32:14.

ENGAGED BY YOU!

Took my boyfriend to see you at House of Blues in Dallas last August for Red Velvet Car tour. Right in the middle of "Magic Man" he proposed after 4 yrs! We just bought tix to see you with Def Leppard in July. Thanx for giving me my own "Magic Man"!

Posted by 2011-03-14 13:31:15.

Toronto Massey Hall Show

Great show at Massey Hall, sorry it took the crowd so long to get on their feet! But when they heard the opening for Crazy on You, the floodgates opened and they rushed the stage. Too cool! I hold out hope for Mistral Wind at the next Toronto-area gig. Keep rockin!

Posted by 2011-03-02 18:48:13.

about Mistral wind

I have listened to this song over and over... the opening chords by Nancy are spectacular I have a friend and she says its literal musical genius! The words and Anns facial expressions even add amazing depth to this work of super creativity. I love Heart since the late 1970's

Posted by 2011-03-02 18:47:43.

Thanks, Very Powerful Song

Being a Sailor and a navy dude, I have always cranked this song the live greatest hits version sounds so kool. Saw the Babe Le Strange tour. This song is your Stairway to Heaven song, I got to see you guys this year, come to Florida

Posted by 2011-03-02 18:44:23.

Beauty

Ann, I've enjoyed your beautiful melodies since the 70's and always realized that in addition to your obvious talent, both you and Nancy are profoundly wise. After reading your post here, I sense that I might have underestimated you. Having time now to slow down and enjoy a few of the things passed-on during the last 35 years while trying to scratch out an existence, I look forward to finally attending one of your live performances in Tampa this summer. Thanks for continuing to share your gift (and wisdom) with us - Cheers!

Posted by 2011-03-02 18:43:56.

The First Time

When I bought Dog N Butterfly and listened for the very first time I was mesmerized by Mistral Wind. When I heard the the first notes it sent a chill up and down my spine and still does today. Just behind Lighter Touch and Nada One it rests in a very appropriate place. What a way to finish up an album. When I hear it live is when it's true meaning comes alive. WOW, what memories!

Posted by 2011-03-02 18:43:41.

Heart In Moncton NB /FEB 2,2011

I have loved Heart since I was a child. My father was a huge Heart fan and took me to their concert in Portland ME in the late 80's. It was the Brigade Tour. Since then I have listened to their music faithfully. My father passed away on Dec 21st 2001. Now 10 years after his death I saw them again in Moncton NB . We were enjoying a lovely snow storm but I would skidoo in to see them as long as they were still playing. My father would have been their beside me I am sure. It was a wonderful concert and my friend Tanya and I thought it was the best concert ever. Thank you Nancy and Ann for again Rockin Our World.

Posted by 2011-02-07 09:10:27.

You Saved My Life

At 14, in "76", I lost my mother, it was your music and lyrics that saved me from destruction. "Dreamboat Annie" gave me a reason to still dream, cry, and move on. You will always be my saviors! Don't ever end your dreams either. Your music is a gift to the soul! Thank you!

Posted by 2011-02-07 09:09:49.

RED VELVET CAR

OH!!! My god it's so good.The Lady,s from the great northwest Still rock my world.life time love of Heart.Thank you so much JERI

Posted by 2011-01-26 22:30:47.

So happy!

I'm sitting hear listening to the new album,Red Velvet Car. It brings back memories of my days in high school when I first started listening to Heart. Of all the concerts I went to back then,the one I will always remember was on new years eve, 1978 or 79,with Rail,I don't remember the other band,in Seattle.I have always loved listening to Heart and for years had a huge crush on Ann.I even watched the news with the interview on Q13, when the album was debuting. I wish you ladies the best of luck and hope to hear more new music in the future. P.S. My screen name comes from my time served in Mogadishu,Somalia 1993,I had a cassette I listened to and wore out while I was in country. Always, Richard

Posted by 2011-01-26 22:30:38.

iblong2hmm

I am 62 years old and I gotta tell ya I have been Heart fanatic since 1978 and those two are now better than ever, I hope now that I finally figured how to join the mongers although I was one in spirit I hope to be a great participant it would be so great one day to meet ann and nancy I just can not believe anns voice and nancys too oh but that guitar can't say enough about them rock on you too New album is super hope it goes platnum BTW please come back to st lous or st charles it was great in sept 4th

Posted by 2011-01-26 22:29:50.

A True Epic

Loved reading this blog, Sue. "Mistral Wind" is such a powerful, amazing song, and a fitting epic closer to "Dog & Butterfly." Thanks for sharing some insight regarding the creative process.

Posted by 2011-01-26 22:28:43.

My Rock Diva

i just luv that comment on "...Jeez, I'm not Ann Wilson!" thingie. Ann could really, easily jump from octave to octave effortlessly and that's what i love about her voice. About her. Keep on rockin' ladies!

Posted by 2011-01-26 22:28:09.

Beautiful

Wow ~ thank you for that behind the scenes look into such a great song. Great story!

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:42:25.

A Job Well Done

I have always been captivated by this song. It certainly acheived the efforts put forward. I can imagine how this all came together from your story, and it did from inception to fruition!!

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:42:18.

1st love

i grew up in a strick family rock was listened to discreetly i forget the year 1978 I think heart cheap trick and b.o.c. were coming o town and dog and butterfly was just released wow mistral wind blew me away so I got a ticket and went to my first concert and what a show .ann and nancy I just want to say thanks for that day and mistral wind it could be the best song ever written....fltoneman

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:42:08.

One of the best

I first heard this song on the 1st Greatest hits album (yes on vinyl)and immediately fell in love. Its so ethereal,mystical and deep. Its really exciting to read how it came about. Thank you to all 3 of you for sharing it with the world. Peace, mcrockett

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:41:44.

awesome

just saw the performance on DWTS and was stoked! They rocked -and that is a TOUGH song vocally!! I loved these songs in high school and still do! So glad to hear they are back! :)

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:34:12.

RE: Writing Mistral Wind

This is one of my favorite Heart songs, and I'm glad to see that they still revisit it from time to time. The original recording is hauntingly beautiful, but Ann really shined singing this on "The Road Home". What a spectacular rendition!

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:32:09.

A lot of Joy

Ann & Nancy: Just wanted you to know that you have brought a lot of joy and inspiration into my life with your music. I think you both are fantastic musicians and beautiful people. I love you both for all the great songs that are out there to listen to. Wishing you both much happiness and continued success in your life.

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:32:01.

Thank you Heart

I would just like to take the time and say a big thank you to our beloved Heart. I have been a Monger for 35 + years. I have seen those wonderful Wilson sisters perform on many occasions all over the world. Every time I hear a Heart song it makes me very happy. Thank you for the wonderful show in Clarkston, MI this summer. Nancy and Ann, you look wonderful. I love all the new brothers and sisters of Heart. Please keep playing because your music is universal. Thank you and god Bless. Monger for life/ William

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:30:27.

Divas Concert

The concert was the first one for my 15 and 13 year old girls accompanied by my and dad. Ladies it was me in the crowd at the Divas concert that said LOUDLY ya still got it. My mom loved you guys when I was younger. I grew up listening to your music as mom would crank it up when she heard your songs. I am an active Duty Marine here at Mirimar. Thanks so much for being at the recent concert. Wish you could of played even more than the time allowed. Merry Christmas and ROCK on Ladies!

Posted by 2010-12-26 19:30:14.

 

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