Blondie Releases Greatest Hits for Milestone Anniversary
Would millennials recognize singer Deborah Harry? Would they be able to identify Blondie’s iconic song lyrics? Would they recall that Debbie Harry, the short blonde lead singer for the band, and her guitarist partner Chris Stein christened the group “Blondie” after they drove down a highway in a convertible while truck drivers kept calling her Blondie? Definitely a better-deserved title than “move to the right fat ass” or “wake up grandpa” but that is another story for another day.
Today, we celebrate Blondie and the beautiful diva that is Ms. Harry because their latest album, “Ghosts of Download,” is now available. The two disc package, “Blondie 4(0)” celebrates the band’s 40 years in the music industry. It features both new tracks and the legendary hits. Being exposed to Blondie’s music from a young age due to mom’s musical choices on various car rides added variety to the usual Grunge, 70’s and 80’s rock, 60’s Motown, beloved Disney Princess CDs and some odd little British band called the Beatles — but, more on another day.
Today Blondie takes the stage because of their legendary influence on the music industry. To our surprise, Blondie was the first artist to perform a rap song on MTV. On January 31, 1981, “Rapture” debuted along with Harry’s rapping and the music world would never be the same. The video is surely innocent-looking by today’s standards but very much about the music and the risks they took filming it. It was ahead of its time, featuring Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quinones as well as graffiti artist Jean-Michel, who replaced Grandmaster Flash because he never showed for the filming.
Although the video includes an Uncle Sam, a Native American complete with headdress, two Santeria dancers and a random goat, the performance is about the song, not the performer — although you can not help but notice how cool and bad ass Harry looks in this video. Tiny and timeless, wearing a tube top and little black shorts that would look just as cool and edgy today, Harry is well deserving of her fan base and coolness factor. After all, she notoriously partied at cool clubs with rappers and wannabes, the graphic artists and studio 54 crowds, not to mention the infamous Andy Warhol who created a beautiful and iconic portrait of Harry.
“Fab Five Freddie told me everybody’s fly. DJ’ spinning’are savin’ my mind. Flash is fast, flash is cool. Francois sais pas, flash’ no do. And you don’t stop, sure shot. Go out to the parking lot. And you get in your car and drive real far. And you drive all night and then you see a light.”
Do not read trite words; listen, absorb the delivery of edgy and forward-bound lyrics, contributed by a band that will always remain way ahead of its time. That is Blondie. They were forward thinking and we are looking forward to relishing both the oldies and newbies that this collection has to offer.
What do you think of Blondie? Did you know Harry was the first female rapper to perform on MTV? How has the band’s changed your interests and musical tastes? Share your comments below or tweet me @Kelseymbro