Mojo - November 2003 - page 98

100 Artists Who Changed The World ...And The Moment They Changed It

Number 19 - BLONDIE
World-changing moment:
New haircut, old song, and international fame beckons as Heart Of Glass hits Number 1 in Britain, January 27, 1979.

FROM ITS watery, super-subtle intro, Heart Of Glass expanded fan-like into a glorious multi-layered pop construct of effortless hooks, tantalising beats and a sing-song vocal line that begged to be heard repeatedly. Prior to this transatlantic chart-topper, Blondie had done a brisk trade in poster sales, melted the hearts of many punk cropheads and had become the new wavers you could sing-along to. Now you could dance, too. Hits such as Denis and Picture This had boundless energy, but Heart Of Glass was in a different class, affording Debbie Harry's vampish pout and milky-white mane iconic status and transforming Blondie into a household name. (MP)
Recommended listening: Greatest Hits

"It was conceptual!"
Debbie Harry on how Blondie's "effortless" anthem took five years to create.

The track began life as your 'Disco Song'...
Harry: "It had been kicking around for five years. We'd play it, interpreted, reinterpreted it, and we'd get so fed up with it that we'd throw it out. Then Jimmy [Destri] brought in the Farfisa and a little synthesizer; the whole thing had changed. Chris had this rhythm machine too, so when [producer] Mike Chapman asked what other songs we had, we said, what about that old one we used to play?"

Using Chapman was your assault on pop?
"Yes, I think so. We'd had a few hits before Heart Of Glass, but this was the first time it really happened in America. We'd changed labels. [Chrysalis boss] Terry Ellis knew that Mike was a hitmeister, the great pop producer."

Did you envisage the song becoming so huge?
"No, absolutely not. Inevitably, the record company wanted more of the same, but Blondie was not about that. It's a building process, and all of our albums have continued to add new layers of development."

The single coincided with a change.
"My hair had broken off! We'd always made visual changes, - that one was obviously very styled, more slick than usual. We were all trained as art students to think conceptually, and that's how we treated each piece. For a lot of bands, the one concept becomes their world. Blondie was all about change."

As told to Mark Paytress 2001-2008.  About | Contact | Search