On this day in 1987: Heart was enjoying its third and final week at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Alone’.
Heart released the song as the first single from their ninth studio album, Bad Animals, in May 1987. The song begins with a piano line and a subdued vocal from Ann Wilson, leading to a synth-led hard-rock chorus. Tom Kelly, the song’s coauthor and himself an experienced session singer, provided the high harmony parts on the record.
“Alone” is Heart’s biggest hit to date, spending three weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in July 1987. It ranked #2 on the Billboard Year-End Top Pop Singles of 1987, behind “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles. It is also Heart’s most successful single in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #3 on the U.K. Singles Chart in June. It is the band’s only song to peak inside the U.K. Top 5.
The song was also a global hit, reaching #1 in Canada, the top five in Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland, the top ten in Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the top twenty in Germany.
The video for the song was directed by Marty Callner, and was released in June 1987. It starts with Ann at the top of a balcony singing to Nancy, who is at the bottom (similar to the famous “Romeo & Juliet” scene). Ann is then seen in all black, including a funeral veil and gown. The two sisters are then seen performing the refrain to an audience on stage, when Nancy’s piano collapses at the first bang of the chorus. During the second verse, a broken-down and dilapidated set is seen, with Nancy playing the piano within it. Nancy is then seen riding atop a black horse and jumping out on stage with her guitar as the instrumental section kicks in. It then shows Ann, in the all-black outfit within the broken set and thereby resembling a witch, before cutting directly back to the stage performance as the song reaches its climax. As the song fades out, a shot of Ann and Nancy together is shown, with each one looking directly into each other’s eyes, before finally finishing with a quick shot of Ann’s face as the screen goes black.
Here is the complete Top 10 on the U.S. singles chart from this day in 1987:
1 1 ALONE –•– Heart (Capitol)-11 (1) (3 Weeks at #1)
2 2 SHAKEDOWN –•– Bob Seger (MCA)-10 (2)
3 7 I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR –•– U2 (Island)-7 (3)
4 3 I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (Who Loves Me) –•– Whitney Houston (Arista)-11 (1)
5 9 I WANT YOUR SEX –•– George Michael (Columbia)-8 (5)
6 10 RHYTHM IS GONNA GET YOU –•– Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine (Epic)-9 (6)
7 8 SOMETHING SO STRONG –•– Crowded House (Capitol)-13 (7)
8 12 HEART AND SOUL –•– T’Pau (Virgin)-13 (8)
9 4 DON’T DISTURB THIS GROOVE –•– The System (Atlantic)-16 (4)
10 5 POINT OF NO RETURN –•– Expose (Arista)-12 (5)