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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Jul-18 > BLONDIE & DEBBIE HARRY

BLONDIE & DEBBIE HARRY

WITH THE BEAUTIFUL DEBBIE HARRY AT THE HELM, BLONDIE HAD A GRIT, GLAMOUR AND SOPHISTICATED POP SENSIBILITY THAT WAS LACKING IN MOST OF THEIR CONTEMPORARIES. FOR A FEW YEARS, AS THE 70S MORPHED INTO THE 80S, THEY WERE ONE OF THE BIGGEST BANDS IN THE WORLD AND ALWAYS HAD ONE EYE ON WHAT WAS COMING NEXT…

THE LOW DOWN

© Getty Images

Debbie Harry was a former 60s folk rocker, Playboy Bunny and waitress, who became one of the most iconic faces of the post-punk, new wave scene of the late 70s and early 80s. While Blondie may have been the name of the band, for many it was all about Debbie.

Formed in 1974 by Harry and Chris Stein, Blondie clocked up a remarkable run of hits on both sides of the Atlantic between 1978 and 1981, including five No.1s in the UK.

Their first success was a cover of Randy & The Rainbows’ Denis, kept off the top spot in Britain by both Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights and Brian And Michael’s Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs.

But it was the release of their third album, the iconic Parallel Lines, and the singles Hanging On The Telephone, Heart Of Glass and Sunday Girl, which cemented their place on the cusp of global domination – a position affirmed in 1980 with the triumvirate of British chart-toppers, Call Me, Atomic and The Tide Is High.

It couldn’t last, of course – pop glory is usually more ephemeral than enduring. There was internecine conflict, ending inevitably – and ignominiously – in the law courts. Blondie split in 1982, after their poorly received sixth LP, The Hunter.

Harry would go on to cultivate an acting career, most notably an appearance in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, and release a number of solo records, while simultaneously caring for partner Stein, who had been diagnosed with the rare skin disease Pemphigus.

In 1997, Blondie got back together and claimed a sixth No.1 in the UK two years later with Maria. Lifted from their seventh studio album No Exit, Blondie were back and would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006… although what should have been a celebration descended into anything but, as ex-guitarist Frank Infante complained that neither he, nor bassists Gary Valentine and Nigel Harrison, could perform with the group. He then exacerbated an already acrimonious situation by appealing to Harry: “We’d like to play with you guys. Pretty please, Debbie!” Harry retorted icily: “Can’t you see my band is up there?”

Last year, 11th studio album Pollinator debuted and peaked at No.4 in the UK – the band’s fifth Top 5 release – and featured the singles Fun and Long Time.

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About Classic Pop

In the new issue of Classic Pop magazine we catch up with Johnny Marr to hear about the former Smiths and Electronic star’s superb new solo album Call The Comet. Tom Bailey tells us why he's returning to pop with a new album after years exploring dub and world music – remarkably it’s the former Thompson Twin frontman’s first solo LP. Also making a much-anticipated comeback is Swing Out Sister – Classic Pop talks to 80s icon Corinne Drewery and other half Andy Connell as they break what is effectively a decade of studio silence with Almost Persuaded. Elsewhere, we tell the story of the legendary Factory Records label and serve up a buyer’s guide to the work of Blondie and Debbie Harry. The ever-industrious Neil Arthur tells us about his new project Near Future and gives us details of a new Blancmange album plus we also catch up with Jaki Graham for the inside story on her diverse new album When A Woman Loves. New albums from Tom Bailey, Erasure, Years & Years and Let’s Eat Grandma get the once-over alongside reissues by David Bowie, The Cure, Public Image Limited and George Michael. We also jostle our way to the front to review live shows including Beck, Echo & The Bunnymen and Blossoms. Enjoy the issue!

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