Little did two people who wanted to capture the essence of punk in their new band realize that they’d become icons of the decade with the formation of the band Blondie.
Created by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Blondie was formed after the duo met while both members of The Stilettos. Wanting to take their music in a punk and new wave direction, the two initially formed Angel and the Snakes in late 1974 and the next year renamed the band Blondie.
Considered part of the underground music scene in New York City, Blondie’s first self-titled album was released in 1976.
Performing regularly at NYC mainstays Max’s Kansas City and CBGB, the band’s following was with New Yorkers and foreigners – European and Australian music charts loved their sound.
In 1977, Blondie toured Australia, and got a top 10 single with the song “X-Offender”. With the release of their next album on Chrysalis Records Plastic Letters, the band solidified its fan based in the UK with touring and the lead single “Denis” which hit top 10, the first time an American punk/new wave band had broken big in the British market.
In 1978, Blondie released their third album, Parallel Lines, which was their breakout album. With top 10 singles in the UK with “Picture This” and “Hanging on the Telephone” , American listeners were captured by the third single “Heart of Glass” and the follow-up “One Way or Another”.
Parallel Lines, with its numerous singles and constant radio airplay, pushed Blondie into the spotlight on the both sides of ocean. Lead singer Deborah Harry epitomized the cool chic of the punk scene – and became a favourite of magazine covers as well as part of the Andy Warhol scene in New York City.
In June 1979 Deborah Harry was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Rolling Stone, while that Fall the fourth album was released Eat to the Beat. Scoring top 10 singles in Europe with “Atomic” and “Dreaming”, the band kept pursuing the US audience, but kept their sound their own.
I remember seeing early posters of the band and thinking how cool Harry was – a tough girl among the boys, but still feminine. I so wanted to have her style.
The end of the decade led the band to do a single with producer Giorgio Moroder for the soundtrack of the film American Gigolo – “Call Me”, which became their next major hit and propelled sales of the soundtrack around the world.
For the 1970s, Blondie epitomized the change in the music industry and the street style that was going mainstream – in the best way possible.