The end of the ’70s brought us a disco song with a rock/punk twist: Heart of Glass by Blondie.
Written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, the song was initially written in 1974 and was titled Once I Had a Love.
As a demo, the song had a distinct disco beat and had been inspired by The Hues Corporation “Rock the Boat”, but wasn’t right for previous albums.
Working with Mike Chapman on their third album Parallel Lines, the song was unearthed from the pile, and reworked. Heart of Glass became the band’s third single for the new album.
The song was released by Chrysalis Records as a 12 inch single in December 1978, but many radio stations refused to play the single with its offensive lyric “Soon it turned out, it was a pain in the ass.”
In January 1979, a new version of Heart of Glass with the lyric edited out while in the UK the BBC bleeped out the offensive word.
A steady climb on the traditional charts led Heart of Glass to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, yet the song barely cracked the Billboard Top 80 Disco charts. Popular disco clubs like Studio 54 and Xenon in New York City didn’t embrace the song, yet mainstream dance clubs did.
The song was certified gold by the RIAA and was named to Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.