LEICESTER MERCURY - Friday 28th December 1979
Blonde bombshell Debbie puts fans under her spell
Report: Dave Watson
Pictures: Max Ewen
SHE IS a rock 'n' roll sex symbol - the No. 1 pin-up with the Monroe looks. But Debbie Harry is anything but a dumb blonde.
It's hard to believe that she forms just one sixth of the supergroup Blondie because to most rock fans, Debbie Harry IS Blondie.
After causing an outbreak of Blondiemania at a packed De Montfort Hall in Leicester last night, for the first official gig of their British tour, Debbie Harry spoke to me about her career.
"Music is my first love but I really enjoy acting. I play a housewife in a film based in New Jersey called Union City.
"We have also made a £6 million rock 'n' roll comedy film called The Roadie which is opening in America in June. So you'll see plenty of Blondie at the movies," Debbie said.
Boyfriend and Blondie guitarist Chris Stein wrote the film score for Union City, from which their hit Union City Blue comes.
Debbie, who put every ounce of energy into last night's performance, paid tribute to the fans. "English rock fans are the best. They're the most knowledgeable. They are trendsetters and know what they like."
A concert tour does not leave much time for sightseeing - usually it's a hotel room and then the concert hall. But Blondie had an unscheduled trip around Leicestershire yesterday.
"I needed a chemist and we drove around for an hour getting lost, but we did see quite a bit of the country," laughed Debbie.
How did she feel about spending Christmas in England? "I can't quite capture the feeling of Christmas being away from home, but we have more fun at Halloween and New Year's Eve.
"New Year's Eves have been important for Blondie since 1976, as they have indicated an exciting time ahead.
And the future certainly looks good for Blondie. "The band have explained their talents," said Debbie. "Several members of the group have other projects and everyone is writing for other people."
Blondie are admirers of The Police, who were in Leicester last week. "We went to see the group in action at the Lewisham Odeon and really enjoyed it," said Debbie.
The girl from Miami, Florida, admitted: "It feels really nice to have power over an audience." And her Leicester fans were only too glad to be under her spell.
She walked on stage like a blonde Piaf, with black beret and black slit dress. As the spotlight caught her, a huge roar went up.
It was the concert everyone wanted to see. Instead 2,500 were lucky enough to see and hear their favourites, while a few hardy souls braved the torrential rain to listen to offers from ticket touts.
Two frustrated ticketless fans tried an unorthodox route into the hall, via the roof but they were quickly rumbled.
Meanwhile a roadie carried an over-enthusiastic girl fan across the stage. Then several hundred standing fans surged from side to side while Blondie reeled off hit after hit.
Heart of Glass turned into a major production number, while Debbie Harry conducted the fans on Sunday Girl. There was even a taste of the 60s for a grande finale with I Feel Good and Louie Louie.
High-kicking, pouting Debbie Harry used her looks to good effect in every song she sings, but don't forget she owns one of the strongest voices in rock music. Like I said, she is no dumb blonde.
If her acting ability is anything like her singing, then we can expect cinema queues around the block when the two Blondie films are released over here.
THE TOUTS trading on the devotion of young Blondie fans got a soaking last night.
Heavy rain and talk of £30 for a ticket kept many of the hopefuls away and the pickings were poor as black market prices plummeted from £20 an hour before the concert started to just above face value for fans prepared to stand in the rain - until a few minutes before the start.
Many of the tickets were offered by fans hoping to make a few pounds from spare tickets.
Debbie Harry (top picture), photographed while being interviewed by Dave Watson. Above: A section of the fans who crowded the De Montfort Hall. Left: Debbie on stage. Also in the picture is guitarist Chris Stein.