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The Best And The Worst And The Curse Of Blondie

Sep. 26th, 2006 | 12:54 pm
location: The Curse Of Blondie
mood: contemplativecontemplative
music: One Way Or Another....

The sultry, well defined cheek boned face of a young Miss Deborah Harry is probably not difficult to imagine as once the pretty face of a playboy bunny girl. The low but cheeky voice of the female lead of Blondie formed the band with her boyfriend way back in 1974 in New York. After a mixed line up change every so often and a couple of uninteresting singles, they finally hit Britain with ‘Heart Of Glass’ taken from the album ‘Parallel Lines.’

Frank Infante, a guitarist, later rhythm guitarist joined the band in Autumn 1977 after the release of the first Blondie album at Christmas 1976, simply titled, ‘Blondie.’ It was this album that failed to make the charts although a new song featured was ‘Ripe Her To Shreds,’ a song that was later made known to growing fans in other albums as well as live sets. Nigel Harrison joined very shortly after Frank in November 1977. It was then that Frank switched to rhythm guitar and Nigel took bass. With Chris Stein, Debbie’s boyfriend on guitar, Clem Burke on drums and Jimmy Destri on keyboards, the line up was complete and there, they stayed until the bands first split in 1982.

A punk outfit at first with a splash of sixties fizzy pink girlie pop, Miss Harry, a severely bleached throw back to the later years of Marilyn Monroe, she was the perfect punk goddess to stand amongst the moppy haired, young suited and booted boys. Surprisingly American, they had always come across severely British. The cover for Parallel Lines, a design thought from their manager, Peter Leeds and photographed by Edo was to Miss Harry’s disgust. She hated the shot and immediately said that it looked flat. It was, however, to become an iconic view of the band. The sharpness of the black and white, bold stripes behind the black suited band and Debbie in a white dress and shoes denoted the new wave feel that the music held within. For 1978, it was design ahead of its time and a style that was soon adapted to the up and coming Ska movement of that time. Blondie, were very much the fore runners for a new type of sound. It is within this album, that the listener can generate the music tastes that were going to happen in the near future. Very much a Blondie album, it experimented with different music genres that were big in the late seventies. The examples of this are, ‘Heart Of Glass’, a fusion of disco and glam to suit the diverse vocals of Harry. ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ is pure Blondie punk, although not their own song, it was originally the product of a band called The Nerves, even so this very immature, sweaty sound of hard thumping, microphone stand shaking new wave might as well have been natural to Blondie as throughout this album, they adapt gracefully to each and every style.

That was new wave, a musical stage that passed a lot of us by. Actually what was happening to music after new wave was far more intriguing. It is surprising to learn that Blondie were one of a handful of bands in the world who created so many number ones in such a short space of time. Between Jan 1979 and November 1980, they racked up five in total. Their last number one was with ‘Maria’ in February 1999 after reforming the band in 1998. A long string of compilation albums were churned out every so often between 1982 and 2003 with also ‘No Exit’ and ‘The Curse Of Blondie.

Although we’ve yet to see anything from the band in the 21st century, we can be safe in the knowledge that we will always have the late seventies new wave movement to fall back on. It is ironic actually, that the historic Blondie and leader of all that came after them, have grown both musically and performance wise in recent years.

Perhaps the very curse of Blondie was new wave….

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Join In The Debate Of The Moped's Mutterings..

Sep. 26th, 2006 | 01:08 pm
mood: creativecreative

What do you reckon?

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Give A Wham! Give A Bam!

Sep. 26th, 2006 | 01:55 pm

7-day Free trial of Napster

There hasn’t been much to grace our hit parade in the form of well hardened, matured cheese, until we witnessed the birth of the God Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (or George Michael to you Mr Spell-check) in the popped up, leather clad outfit named Wham! This unusual Greek from the even more unusual Finchley in Middlesex with his finely crafted jaw bone and mop of continental curly hair dragged the more unfortunately good looking Andrew Ridgley off his feet and they started a firm friendship.

Attending the same school in Bushey, London, they left and formed a amateur set up called The Executive. Being Ska driven around this time of 1979, it appeared rather quickly to the youngsters that everyone was trying to be in a Ska band and unless your name was Terry Hall, your chances looked pretty slim. Hitting the big time was going to have to be approached at a different angle, so they focused on a duo set up along with their stunning faces with bodies to match and called themselves Wham!

Andrew and George might have been seen as all brawn and no brains but they knew immediately that they could literally sell themselves. Sex sells, as we already know, and considering that the vast majority of the record buying public were young, high hormoned, giggly girls, Wham! homed in on their attention like two greased, hit seeking missiles. What they actually did accomplish, almost overnight, was the ultimate dream teen team. Perfectly polished and truly greased to Godliness, they pouted, shuffled, slouched and drove girls of twelve years old wild with their Elvis-like visual themes.
Many a wet knicker was achieved and the hits started rolling like an avalanche.

The only down fall of the super clean, all snarling duo was their unfortunate brush with a dodgy record label. ‘Innervision,’ the short lived label gave out very little, if none at all in loyalties for the success that followed ‘Fantastic’s’ release in July 1983. Sadly failing to recoup any monies owed to them , they signed up with Epic before any other record was going to be released although it was another year before the battle with the dirty label was finally over.

‘Fantastic’ was primarily a British release. With its photo album style inner sleeve featuring shots of the boys at different ages and a slick, leather clad image of the pair on the front cover, it denotes the genre within. It was going to be with their single, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,’ in May 1984, before America started to sit up and take note. Featuring four top ten hits, it wasn’t a surprise to find the album go straight to number one. Staying for an incredible 116 weeks in the album chart, they were, as they predicted, the technicoloured line through the darkly morose eighties pop chart. Being fed up with the monochromed existence of the new wave generation, to finally see something in all the brightest colours imaginable was a blessed relief. Sun kissed lads, out having a good time on the beaches, chatting up babes and sipping cocktails took us gleefully away from the dull, droned sounds of likes of Blondie, The Cure and others. In the height of the Thatcher years, the future of Britain looked dark and featureless. Wham! Had given us hope, light and something to feel happy about again. So, without further or do, let’s leave the dreariness of the wet weekends behind make an unforgettable entrance in to the world they called Club Tropicana.

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Surfing With Style On The Big New Wave...

Sep. 26th, 2006 | 02:02 pm
location: Boomtown Rats, the Gods Of New Wave
mood: crazycrazy
music: Rat Trap


Moody, miserable and sneering like Billy Idol, the front man of The Boomtown Rats was the vastly opinionated and occasionally angry Bob Geldof. After forming his band in a small, sleepy town near Dublin, Ireland in 1975, he led the way for the era of meaningless new wave. With Johnny Fingers on keyboards, Simon Crowe on drums, Pete Briquette on bass, they were joined by Gerry Cott and Garry Roberts on guitars, they originally called themselves The Nightlife Thugs. Thankfully after reading Woody Guthrie’s ‘Bound For Glory,’ they changed their title to the name of a gang mentioned in the story.

The highlight of their relatively short career was with the release of this 1979 album, ‘The Fine Art Of Surfing,’ heralding the number one single, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays.’ The late seventies saw the fusion of punk and something resembling senseless pop. Guitars were juddery and lacking in talent and the songs were fast and jumping with little tune and virtually no bass. The lyrics were meaningless and superficial but yet catchy enough for this strange genre to take off, albeit, rather briefly. New wave was a loosely based term for anyone who had a hit after the mid seventies other than disco or glam rock. Guys in suits and mop hair cuts, the image visualised new wave in television characters such as Mickey Pearce in Only Fools And Horse. The branch off new wave eventually was Ska which, fundamentally was the fusion of beat and reggae. It was new wave that was the fore runner of Ska but using Mersey beat’s shallow themes and American pop rock. Bands rarely survived from this genre to thrive into anything else that followed. The best example of success was probably with bands like U2. Vocals were strained and tuneless and most leads sounded as thought they were suffering from a cold. Short lived, it actually was quickly dated and many bands faded out just as quickly. It was Ska that seemed more survivable.

Geldof took the right course of action. Perhaps realising immediately that the band were going to be short lived, he extended his morose identity into a political stance thus making him the ultimate missionary for all of humanity when the music failed. This album marked the end of their career although other albums followed in moderate fashion, they featured more middle of the road pop rock. The band split in 1984 and Geldof slipped quietly into the shadows of the music industry and into his obsessive involvement of saving the world from poverty.


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