Debbie Harry, frontwoman for Blondie, turns 70 today so we’ve taken a look back at the lavish history of the rock and roll queen.
One way or another, Blondie are a pinnacle band from the 70s that are still going strong and continuing to tour and release music. Releasing their debut self-titled album in December 1976 which featured classics like ‘X Offender’, ‘Rip Her To Shreds’ and ‘In The Flesh’, it was a daring and strong introduction to a band that would become legendary – however, no singles from the album would manage to chart in the UK or US.
The bands big break in the UK came in 1978 with the release of their gender-swapping cover of the Randy & the Rainbows’ hit ‘Denis’, which hit the charts at #2. Their second album ‘Plastic Letters’ followed and reached number 10 in the UK albums chart. The album also featured ‘(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear’.
Commercial and worldwide success arrived the same year with the release of their third, and most successful, album ‘Parallel Lines’ – which managed to hit the top of the UK albums charts, and was their first US top 10 album aswell. Soaring with multiple hits like ‘Hanging on the Telephone’, ‘One Way or Another’, ‘Sunday Girl’ and US number 1 ‘Heart of Glass’ – the album remains as one of the most era-defining albums of the late 70’s.
Blondie continued to ride on their success as they launched straight from one album campaign to another with the release of the forth studio album release ‘Eat to the Beat’. Lead single ‘Dreaming’ was a number 2 hit in the UK. In 1980, the band hit the top spot of the US singles chart again with ‘Call Me’, which was taken from the soundtrack album for the American Gigolo movie. ‘Atomic’ followed shortly after and was another UK #1 for the band.
The fifth album from Blondie came in 1980 with ‘Autoamerican’ which featured the massive, US number one hits ‘The Tide is High’ and ‘Rapture’.
In 1981, Debbie Harry released her first studio album with an eclectic album cover by visual effects artist H. R. Giger. The album showcased the early Nile Rodgers sound which would later become the leading sound for the 80’s. The album wasn’t too much of a commercial success but showed Debbie’s talented flair and determination to be a successful and respected musician.
Debbie returned back with Blondie in 1982 for their sixth album release ‘The Hunter’, which turned out to be their lowest charting album since the release of ‘Plastic Letters’ showing a fatigue in the band and the public. This turned out to be their last studio album for 17 years.
During the break, Debbie continued with her solo career releasing three albums: Rockbird in 1986, Def Dumb & Blonde in 1989 and Debravation in 1993. Her biggest solo hits were ‘French Kissin’ and ‘I Want That Man’, with the most success coming in the UK. Meanwhile, Debbie would continue to appear on television and in small yet noticeable roles in film.
Blondie’s record label released a swing of remixes in the late 80’s and mid 90’s to try and drum up a more, fresher sound for the band – with the 1994 remix of ‘Atomic’ being the most successful of the lot. In 1999, a resurgence came for the band. Releasing their first album since 1982, ‘No Exit’ became a massive comeback for the band stemming ‘Maria’, which would go straight to number one in the UK and become just as memorable as their 70’s and 80’s classics. 1999 also saw Debbie being recognized as the 12th greatest woman of rock and roll by VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll poll.
The band have continued to have a slow and steady chart history, releasing a further 3 studio albums: 2003’s ‘The Curse of Blondie’, ‘Panic of Girls’ in 2011 and most recently, ‘Ghosts of Download’ in 2014. The band have remained touring around the world, showing that the band are still a force to be reckoned with.