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The Best And The Worst And The Curse Of Blondie

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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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