Blondie + Johnny Marr
Blondie mark the point where the NYC new wave and punk scene moved from the margins to the mainstream. With the magnetic presence of Debbie Harry front and centre and a magpie attitude to style and genre, Blondie exploded out of the CBGBs crowd, straight to the top of the charts.
Formed by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in 1974, the band’s initial line-up was rounded out by bassist Gary Valentine, keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke. Blondie released their self-titled debut two years later, marrying the pop sensibilities of '50s and '60s girl groups with the aggression and energy of punk and the cool detachment of new wave. Valentine left shortly after, replaced by Frank Infante.
Following their debut, Blondie signed to a major label almost immediately and released their second album Plastic Letters early in 1978. The band’s popularity exploded, mainly down to the singles Denis and the imaginatively parenthesised (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear. Englishman Nigel Harrison joined on bass, and Infante switched to guitar.
Parallel Lines took the band’s US and UK popularity and sent it global, with the helping hand of British producer Mike Chapman. Picture This and a popified cover of The Nerves’ Hanging On The Telephone lingered near the top of the charts but it was Heart Of Glass that went to No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic. The album yielded even more hits in the shape of Sunday Girl and One Way Or Another.
The band’s fourth album Eat To The Beat followed in 1980, giving the band yet another No.1 single with Atomic. The band scored another No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic with Call Me, and a third with The Tide Is High, the first single from their fifth album Autoamerican.
In 1982, following the band’s sixth album The Hunter, Chris Stein became seriously ill, leading to the band breaking up. Harry embarked on a solo career, but Blondie eventually reformed as a quartet (Harry, Stein, Destri and Burke) in 1998 and released No Exit the following year. Two more studio albums – The Curse Of Blondie and Panic Of Girls – followed in 2003 and 2011.
In 2017, Blondie teamed up with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton (St Vincent, Angel Olsen, The Walkmen) for their 11th studio album Pollinator, featuring guest appearances from Charli XCX, Johnny Marr, Joan Jett and Nick Valensi of The Strokes.
On 20 October 2020, the band announced a run of 10 UK gigs for November 2021 – the first Blondie UK tour in four years. Support for Blondie's 2021 UK tour was confirmed as alt-rockers Garbage, fronted by the enigmatic Shirley Manson.
"Next year’s UK tour is more meaningful to me perhaps than the very first time Blondie played there in the mid '70s," said Harry. "The UK has always been a special place to us, and being able to come back to perform there after sitting out most of 2020 is very exciting."
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