POP 80 - 1980 - No 2
A Disco 45 Chart Songwords Publication
Pages 2 & 3
THE year of super-pop
... SKA, HEAVY METAL, American new wave from BLONDIE and some British PUNK from the JAM... classy Europop from ABBA, space music from GARY NUMAN and the pure unashamed excitement from THE POLICE... and they're all here right now in POP 80.
...face of the 80's
Blondie must be the most popular and well known American group of the moment, and Debbie Harry the first 'Face of the '80s' - but it actually took Debbie, Chris and the gang some considerable time before they made even the most minimal progress towards stardom. In fact it took more than three years from the time the band formed until they made their first record!
Before that, in the late 1960s, Debbie had been a member of a hippie group known as The Wind In The Willows, who released one disastrous LP before being blown away. Although this group deserves to be forgotten, when Blondie began to make the headlines, the LP was reissued even though time had not improved it! Debbie passed the early '70s working in straight jobs, things like waitressing, and she even worked for our very own BBC once, in their New York office...
1973 was when the first version of Blondie limped to the starting line, and the only original members of the band who are still involved are in fact Chris Stein and Debbie. In those early days, Debbie wasn't the only singer, as two other blonde ladies named Julie and Jackie were backing singers (although Jackie blew the concept behind the band's name, when she dyed her hair dark brown, and Julie left soon afterwards). They were replaced by two other ladies who bore the unlikely names of Tish and Snookie, although the rest of the band, Fred Smith (that's even more unlikely) on bass, and Billy O'Connor on drums, were around until 1975.
At this point, the band weren't really getting anywhere, and Fred Smith was offered the job as bass player with the late, great Television, which he accepted, and Billy had a nervous breakdown. Drummer Clem Burke arrived at that point, and it was apparently only Clem's enthusiasm which kept the band together, as everyone else seemed keen to throw in the towel. Just think - we might never have heard any of those great Blondie records!
So what have Blondie been doing this year? Well the group spent much of their time at the turn of the year in this country, touring around and even playing a secret gig at the Notre Dame hall in Leicester Square, before returning to America, since then we've only been lucky enough to catch occasional glimpses of Debbie over here. Of course, if you're very rich you might have acquired the video cassette of the last LP, 'Eat To The Beat', and then there was the film shown on 'Top Of The Pops' when 'Atomic' was number one last March...
But 1980 seems to have been film year for Debbie Harry. As well as the whole band appearing in a fun-sounding movie called 'Roadie', (and when do we get to see that film in this country?), Debbie had a straight acting role in another film, 'Union City'. Additionally, she starred in a series of commercials for a particular make of jeans - maybe that's why she was most unkindly listed in the 'Worst Dressed Women' poll. Blondie also helped 'American Gigolo' towards its great success - although the band don't appear, their contribution of 'Call Me' to the soundtrack must have been a help. And shortly, we'll be able to see Debbie in 'The Muppet Show', which should give Miss Piggy something to think about!
At this point, the world is waiting to hear the band's new LP, which will doubtless contain several monster singles. Even so, they aren't planning to tour here in the near future, and we hear that they may be devoting their energies to setting up their own recording studio, and later to starting their own label. Sounds like an exciting prospect to us! Oh yes, one last thing - Debbie looks amazing (we all know that), and part of her secret is to be in bed by eleven o'clock each night whenever she can. Now there's a useful hint...