Blondie

Blondie

Formed 1974, New York, USA: Debbie Harry (ex-Wind In The Willows, Stilettos) – vocals; Chris Stein (ex-Stilettos) – guitar; Gary Valentine – bass; Jimmy Destri – keyboards; Clem Burke – drums. After minor success with their eponymous début album, Blondie struck gold in 1978 with Denis and (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear from their second long-player Plastic Letters. With Nigel Harrison replacing Valentine on bass and additional guitarist Frank Infante, third album Parallel Lines topped the chart as did classic singles Heart Of Glass and Sunday Girl. At the end of 1979 the band released their fourth album Eat To The Beat, another number 1 success which included their first single of 1980, Atomic. This would be the first of three consecutive number one singles in 1980; the Giorgio Moroder-produced Call Me from the American Gigolo soundtrack and a cover of the Paragons’ The Tide Is High also topped the chart. Fifth album Autoamerican reached number 3 and the groundbreaking (or bandwagon-hopping, depending on your point of view) Rapture hit number 5. Blondie took 1981 off while Harry and Destri released solo albums and The Best Of Blondie was released to fill the gap until the release of the band’s disappointing comeback album The Hunter in 1982, which struggled to number 9 and produced no top ten hits.

Blondie split shortly afterwards, Harry continuing to work with her partner Stein on solo material, although this was put on hiatus while Stein recovered from the potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease pemphigus. Apart from the 1984 single Rush Rush from the soundtrack of Scarface, Harry and Stein wouldn’t resurface until late 1986 when Harry scored her first big solo hit, French Kissin’ In The USA from the album Rockbird. A remix album Once More Into The Bleach was released in 1988, the first of many similar attempts to update Blondie’s sound over the next decade. The now grown up Deborah Harry enjoyed sporadic solo success with I Want That Man (1989, #13, written for Harry by the Thompson Twins) and 1993’s top thirty hit I Can See Clearly, but at the end of the ’90s Blondie buried the hatchet and reformed, the line-up of Harry, Stein, Destri and Burke immediately returning to number one with the single Maria from their comeback album No Exit (1999, #3). Follow-up album The Curse Of Blondie (2003, #36) produced another top twenty hit Bad Girls. The band continues to tour and released a further album Panic Of Girls in 2011. The band celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2014 with the album Blondie 4(0) Ever, a double set which paired an album of new material Ghosts of Download with a collection of re-recordings of some of their greatest hits.

ESSENTIAL ’80s BLONDIE

SINGLES

Call Me sleeve

CALL ME
March 1980, #1

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Rapture sleeve

RAPTURE
January 1981, #5

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French Kissin' In The USA sleeve

Debbie Harry: FRENCH KISSIN’ IN THE USA
November 1986, #8

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ALBUMS

Autoamerican sleeve

AUTOAMERICAN
November 1980, #3

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Rockbird sleeve

Debbie Harry: ROCKBIRD
November 1986, #31

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Def, Dumb & Blonde sleeve

Deborah Harry: DEF, DUMB & BLONDE
October 1989, #12

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