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Happy Birthday

My all time musical icon, Debbie Harry is 66 today. And her and Blondie are still knocking out tunes.

It doesn’t quite rise to the sheer genius of the greatest stuff (what could – I mean could anything challenge the epic brilliance of “Parallel Lines“?) but it ain’t bad.

The new album “Panic of Girls” is released on July 4th. The Telegraph vaguely mentions (though to it’s credit partially refutes) the idea that Debbie begat Madonna who begat Lady Gaga. Yeah, whatever. I tend to think that Debbie could eat Madonna for breakfast and then stack the bones in the shower. Moreover I don’t see those as the spiritual successors of Blondie as much as maybe St Etienne, The Cardigans and maybe even Goldfrapp. Not least because all my suggestions were a part of a band and not solo artists. OK, Goldfrapp are a duo but imagine Alison without Will on the keyboards? Anyway, forget about line-ups and think teenage: Debbie, Nina, Sarah and Alison are just sexy whereas Madonna and Lady Gaga are just so contrived. Real sexiness doesn’t need a choreographer. It’s like on the male side the late Michael Jackson. Technically an incredible dancer but it just left you cold. There was no joy or true abandon to it. It’s a performance by numbers not by passion. Debbie Harry was (and is) not a carefully rehearsed piece of packaged pop. Seeing Blondie live is not like that. It is like being in the presence of a force of nature.

Anyway, happy birthday Ms Harry! And my finest regards to the rest of the band.

8 Comments

  1. RAB says:

    Debbie Harry was (and is) not a carefully rehearsed piece of packaged pop. Seeing Blondie live is not like that. It is like being in the presence of a force of nature.

    Well said there Nick. In fact Blondie wasn’t supposed to be a “Pop” band at all. They came out of the same New York scene as Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Ramones, Talking Heads and Patti Smith, to name but a few of the famous ones. Blondie considered themselves to be Underground Avant Garde Punk, but the stunning presence of Debbie and their ability to write insanely catchy tunes catapulted them into the charts worldwide.

    They all hung out at places like Max’s Kansas City (which I went to) and CBGB’s which I didn’t. Well it was in the Bowery and a bit of a heavy neighbourhood back in the late 70′s.

    I saw Blondie support The Talking heads along with the Ramones in Bristol Colston Hall, and they sounded like a cross between the Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane back then.

    I also managed to have a chat with Debbie backstage afterwards and can tell you all that she is one of the nicest, ballsiest smartest women you are ever likely to meet.

    Yep, many happy returns dear lady!

  2. Tim Newman says:

    I’ve only just realised she is American…for some reason I always thought Blondie were British. Probably because the main non-music related thing I remember about Debbie Harry was an old boss of mine (a Mancunion) saying “I couldn’t care less if she is in her 50s, I still remember what she looked like when she was 20 and that’s enough for me to ___ her!”

  3. APL says:

    Off topic. Blogroll: ‘And there was me thinking’ no longer seems to go anywhere.

  4. Seconded. From someone who had a ticket for the 1980 European Tour before they cancelled it. :(

  5. PeterT says:

    The albums already available on spotify. Its ok; got some catchy tunes to it. Also enjoying Sonic Youth’s latest if you care to know.

  6. NickM says:

    As to Blondie being taken for European…

    The only explanation I can think of is they broke Europe and (Australia*) big before they broke the USA. But they always sounded almost quintessentially American to me. I mean strongly influenced by US ’60s girl groups and all that.

    APL: The blgroll (and much else here) is mashed.

    *Inspiring The DiVinyls amongst others.

  7. View from the Solent says:

    How happy I am that someone of my age can still kick arse.

  8. mike says:

    Oh growing up as a kid I always assumed Blondie were British too. Top track? Atomic: f*cking hell – it even suits Nick’s rhapsodies on higher maths!

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