Taking in the culture of the city that produced them, Blondie the band keeps on evolving despite being in the industry for 29 years. Originating from the New York City, the band was co-founded by the dynamic Debbie Harry and the ace guitarist Chris Stein. Embracing the diverse range of pop music, the duo pioneered punk and new wave genre, presenting a classic fusion of hip-hop, rock, disco, garage rock, Latin rhythms and reggae.
Following a hiatus and an eventual breakup in 1982, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein joined forces after 15 years and Blondie took off once again. Out with their 11th album titled “Pollinator”, it hit the shelves in 2017 and broke through the Billboard 200. Among their other scheduled performances for 2018, Blondie will be coming to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids in the summer.
The arena recently underwent renovation and will reopen with a bang, having announced 2018 Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts series. Blondie tickets were made available not so long ago and continue to rake in a huge demand. The punk band that has transformed itself into a rock n roll machine continues to define New York cool.
Blondie – Early Years
New York in the early 70s was a hotbed for all things rock. As the genre evolved, new styles made way into it that packed a lot of attitude and brought forth stealthily, garage-band ethics.
In 1973, Debbie Harry was fronting a girl-band The Stilettoes which was later joined by Chris Stein. Hitting off immediately, the pair left the band a year later and formed Blondie. As more members joined – Clement Burke, Nigel Harrison, Gary Valentine and James Destri, Blondie embraced the spirit of downtown punk, soaked up the swanky disco movement and popularized New York City’s hip-hop scene.
The band’s early years were spent performing in small clubs. Finally they caught a break when a magazine editor and record collector Alan Betrock heard them and got them slots in a low budget studio. Demos were recorded and it earned them a deal with Private Stock Records.
Inside the studio, Blondie immediately got down to creating their distinctive brew. Their ingenious approach was a blend of tough punk attitude, surf guitar and girl-band vocals, along with the implementation of British pop invasion melodies.
Despite being a group of talented musicians who did everything right, Blondie wouldn’t have reached the peak of success had it not been for Debbie Harry.
Debbie Harry – The Ultimate Diva
The frontwoman of Blondie, Harry gained the reputation of an untamed vixen who charged the live stage with her hypnotic moves. Her killer sneer and cool edgy vocals turned her into a star, and many consider her the original queen of pop. In fact, she was a lot tougher, street-smart and a hell of a bombshell than her successor Madonna.
Born to a concert pianist, Debbie Harry’s biological mother wasn’t quite ready to raise a child and hence she was put up for adoption. She enjoyed a wonderful childhood with her adoptive parents but has always maintained that her musical talent is genetic and she got it from her biological mom.
Her killer looks and signature mop of blonde hair earned her a job as Playboy Bunny and she even ventured on few acting stints. But her heart was always set on music. In the late 60s she was a member of the folk band Wind in the Willows but it was her instant chemistry with Chris Stein that changed her life forever.
They not just collaborated for music but also became romantically involved. The union of Harry and Stein produced some classic romantic numbers, including the songs “In the Flesh”, “Picture This” and “Hanging on the Telephone”. As their love blossomed, the duo penned some sizzling tracks like “French Kissing in the USA” and “Heart of Glass”. It spread their popularity on the both sides of the Atlantic, and thousands of Blondie tour tickets sold when the band embarked on tours.
During all this time Harry earned the reputation of a hell-raiser, a wild rock n roll sensation. Her adventurous side constantly placed her in the media light but surprisingly she wasn’t frowned upon for that. Six albums in and Blondie were riding the crest of a wave. And then, came crashing down in 1982.
Chris Stein – At the Helm of Revolutionizing Punk, New Wave Scene
Debbie Harry surely didn’t achieve all that success on her own. The songs that she was beautifully crooning were in fact penned by her music and romantic partner Chris Stein.
In 1982, before Blondie disbanded, the band released their commercially flop album “The Hunter”. That, coupled with Stein’s illness – a genetic skin disease Pemphigus, led to Blondie going on a hiatus as Harry took time off to take care of Stein. And while he got better, the two couldn’t save their relationship and ended breaking up. But in those rare stories of the glam world, despite all the heartbreak they remained close friends and in 1997 reunited.
Blondie made a comeback with its original stars and released “No Exit” in 1999. It cracked through the Billboard 200 and spawned the hit number “Maria”. Stein and Harry’s relationship has always been simple. While they most definitely have their creative differences, there are no ego clashes, which according to both is the key to their effective collaboration.
Together once again in a reinvigorated Blondie, the duo has released their 11th album “Pollinator”. And it comes with a support tour. Performing live on select dates, their concerts are selling a lot of Blondie tickets as the fans are looking forward to a glorious party with the rockers. The musicians are also not letting the fans down, treating them to great moments, superb song-selection and energetic stage presence.
Blondie on tour is not something that happens often – so take full advantage of it while you still can. After all Debbie Harry is the lady who paved for megastars like Madonna to enter the music industry and enjoy ultimate fame and success.