Quarterflash (previously stylized as QuarterFlash) is an American rock group formed in 1980 in Portland, Oregon. The band was originally made up of the two current members, Orinda Sue “Rindy” Ross (lead vocals and saxophone) and her husband Marv Ross (guitars), along with Jack Charles (guitars), Rick DiGiallonardo (keyboards/synthesizers), Rich Gooch (electric bass), and Brian David Willis (drums and percussion). Having a lead singer who also played the saxophone made Quarterflash notable.
“Harden My Heart” was written by their guitarist Marv Ross. It is a million-selling Gold-certified single and was featured on the band’s Platinum-selling Quarterflash album, released in 1981.
The song was originally released as a single in early 1980 by Seafood Mama, Quarterflash’s predecessor band. It featured more sparse instrumentation but a more dramatic vocal arrangement than the hit version and was a regional success on radio stations in Portland, Oregon. The record’s video features theatrics in and around an office trailer with dark corridors and swinging light bulbs from the ceiling before it was bulldozed and torched.
After changing their name, Quarterflash released their self-titled debut album in 1981 which contained the new version of “Harden My Heart”. This power ballad version was released as the album’s first single. In early 1982, it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song also charted in Germany, New Zealand, Australia and the UK. It was the group’s only top-ten pop single in the United States, although the follow-up single from the album, “Find Another Fool”, and the 1983 hit “Take Me to Heart” both entered the top 20. It reached No. 41 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.
This song is included in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, on radio station Emotion 98.3 and was played twice in the pilot episode of Knight Rider. The song is used in the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer, which is set in 1981.
Julianne Hough and Mary J. Blige sing this song in the film Rock of Ages.
An excerpt of this song is also heard in the opening scene of the pilot episode of The Americans, a 2013 television series aired on the FX cable channel. The series is set in United States in 1981.