With The A-Z of Music, Nick Triani guides us through his personal musical alphabet picking artists, albums and songs that he loves. B is for Blondie.
B is for Blondie
It’s all very simple. I was 13 yrs old when ‘Sunday Girl’ was released and I saw Blondie on Top of The Pops. Not only was the track infectious, but it was also sung by Debbie Harry. It’s not too much to suggest that around this time I was becoming aware of sex and sexuality and Ms Harry became my first celebrity crush. This is important to me. A re-evaluation of the role of women and their sexuality in pop culture is well overdue in these #metoo- times. Harry was one of the first women in pop to use her sexuality in an empowering sense.
Around this age I was also seriously getting into music (and buying 7″ singles at this time).
It’s not all about youthful yearning loins. I don’t know if Parallel Lines is the most notable Blondie album (some people may argue earlier records are better), but it’s the one I care about the most. ‘Heart Of Glass’ contains the greatest disco/punk crossover ever. Clem Burke had the best drummer hair whilst Chris Stein the coolest self-aware distancing-act of any sidekick popstar. ‘Union City Blue’ remains terribly exciting to this day.
The fact that Blondie came from the cool New York punk scene was actually irrelevant – Blondie remain one of the great pop bands of any era. Combining ingredients such as the cool of the early Strokes (before The Strokes existed) fronted by the most playful Diva, Blondie were simply a mainstream music giant. Number one records and ruling the radio airwaves was something the band accomplished consistently between 1978 and 1982.
Blondie as an ideal or an idea of a pop group still retains its uniqueness. Blondie offer a viable blueprint for exciting pop music. Right place, right time and all that – but the fact that nearly 40 years later Blondie’s music still sounds cutting-edge, yet nonchalantly throw-away, is itself a special kind if magic.