ROCKBIRD PRESS KIT - 1986
Photograph by Brian Aris
Debbie Harry's back. As everyone's favorite post-modern sex symbol and front woman for Blondie, one of the best, and most popular band's of the last ten years, Debbie knows her way around rock and roll's hilarious, heartbreaking hall of mirrors. All the more reason, after a three-year hiatus from the spotlight's red glare, to return, with an album that's got nothing to do with new wave nostalgia. And even less to do with the comfortable assumptions of a million or so fans. Debbie couldn't be less interested in picking up where she left off. She's got better things to do.
The proof is in abundant evidence on Rockbird, her Geffen Records debut. Produced and arranged by J. Geils keyboardist Seth Justman, the nine-song collection features material written by Debbie and a variety of co-conspirators including Justman, Tony C., former Blondie guitarist Chris Stein and Nile Rogers. Session players include guitarists Jimmy Ripp and the abovementioned Stein, the drum and bass programming of Phil Ashley, sax work by James White and Crispin Cioe and keyboard parts by Seth Justman. All of which is nice to know but not much good when it comes to imparting the special pleasures of Debbie Harry circa '86. It's easy to catch echoes of early magic on cuts like "Secret Life," "I Want You," "In Love With Love," "You Got Me In Trouble" and the album's first single, "French Kissin'."
Debbie's evocative vocals are as addictive as ever. The music rings with the same smarts. That intimate, adult, engaging stylishness simply can't be imitated. But what claims devotion on Rockbird isn't echoes. It's frankly thrilling nowness, something fresh and energized and unexpected.
Not, for that matter, that Debbie Harry has anything to prove. She's done that, lots of times. Between April of 1979 and March of 1981, Blondie had four number one American singles. "Heart Of Glass" made the daring leap from rock to disco and back again. "Call Me" was the classiest piece of romantic yearning ever to hit the airwaves. "The Tide Is High" married rock and reggae and birthed a beautiful new child. "Rapture" prefigured the rap explosion by a good three years. Along the way there were albums: Parallel Lines, which stayed on British charts for an amazing 104 weeks; Eat To The Beat, the band's biggest seller; Autoamerican, hosting two of the abovementioned chart-toppers; the band's swan song The Hunter. While on the subject of success, Debbie earned rave reviews for her starring role in the films Union City, and Videodrome and on Broadway opposite the late Andy Kaufman in Teaneck Tanzai, all strongly suggesting a multi-media career. An impressive run, all things considered, and a solid foundation for her resurgence into the music world.
In 1982, Debbie stepped away from stage and studio to reassess her career and begin thinking in solo directions. She surfaced briefly; once as co-writer (with Georgio Morodor) and singer on the song "Rush Rush" from the soundtrack to Scarface
and once again in late '85 with her first Geffen Records offering - a performance of "Feel The Spin" co-written and produced by Jellybean Benitez for the soundtrack to the film, Krush Groove. Ardent fans had to be content with wearing out the grooves to Blondie discs for over three years.
Whatever the potent blend of talent, tenacity and pure star quality that took her to, and over, the top, it's on radiant display these days. Debbie Harry has never looked or sounded better. The extraordinary powers and cutting-edge vibrancy which can only be Debbie's is on radiant display. And she's never been more confidently in control of her music, her art and her future. She's here all right, and right where she belongs. Way out ahead.