THE SOURCE - 22nd-28th January 1999
Issue No. 40


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Brace yourself, boys, 17 years on Blondie are back.


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to her

She's the bottle blonde that every man fancied and now, as MIKE JONES reports, Debbie Harry and Blondie are back.
THESE days she might have a couple of grey ones in her barnet, but Debbie Harry was always the original girl to dye for.
She is the Atomic bombshell who prompted thousands of women to reach for the bleach as her band Blondie took the world by storm in the late 70s and early 80s.
And, as the fans went platinum, so did the group's record sales.
In an era dominated by the worst excesses of punk, New Yorkers Blondie stood out a mile. They had great tunes, Debbie could sing - and above all she was gorgeous.
Even on posters she was Viagra made flesh and her knicker-flashing, dress-ripping antics at concerts had fellas walking round like they'd slipped a disc.
"For the times I guess I was shocking but by today's standards it was nothing," she said recently.
"Of course all that women's lib stuff was going on so I didn't want to do anything that victimised women."
By the early 80s, the group that were part of Andy Warhol's gang had turned their pop into an art form.
It seemed nothing could go wrong for them. Until it did.
In 1982, their sixth album, The Hunter, bombed like a night out in Baghdad and tensions grew in the band.
Then when her on-off lover and fellow band member Chris Stein fell seriously ill, Debbie went to look after him and Blondie disappeared.
But now, 17 years later, Blondie have reformed and gone back to their roots, musically and follically, and the old magic has returned along with original members Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri and a well-again Stein.
The band, who enjoyed a sell-out European tour just before Christmas, release a catchy single, Maria, in a few weeks, followed by their new album No Exit.
And it's like they've never been away. No Exit is so vintage Blondie I had to check the date on the sleeve.
Bizarrely though, it is also bang up to date. Its brooding title track samples Bach (honest) and sees Debbie going head-to-head with Coolio.
"I wasn't really sure about making this a gangsta rap, but Chris came up with the idea of making it more gothic," she says.
"Then Coolio came in and put his twist on it."
With Maria a good bet to hit No 1, the revival is complete. So how long will Blondie hang about? Permanently, if the album title is true.
"There really is no exit because we can't get away from our identity," says 53-year-old Debbie. "It's beyond anyone's control."
Just one thing. If they go on much longer the band may have to call themselves Blue Rinse.
Maria is out on Feb 1, No Exit on Feb 15.


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Believe me, I really wanted to like this. Blondie was the first band I ever got in to, and Debbie Harry... well, best not go into that. Blondie still occasionally sound like a late 70s band on this album, unfortunately the band they sound like is The Beat.
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