Blondie achieved massive success in the late ’70s and early ’80s, doing as much to take New Wave into the mainstream as anybody, while enabling hip-hop and reggae to reach the top of the U.S. charts. But they started out as an underground phenomenon, forming in New York City in 1974 and quickly becoming a fixture of the burgeoning punk scene centered at CBGB. In their early years, Blondie’s passion for kitsch made them something of a northern B-52’s, as they incorporated B-movie imagery, pulp themes, ’60s pop, and Jimmy Destri’s gloriously trashy combo organ into their postmodern smorgasbord. Though they scored big in England with 1978’s “Denis,” Blondie made little stateside impact with their first two albums. Their big American breakthrough came later that year with the more streamlined Parallel Lines and the disco-styled smash “Heart of Glass,” followed by the more New Wave-tinged hit “One Way or Another.” As soon as the spotlight found Blondie, singer Debbie Harry’s glamorous, photogenic presence got all the media attention, causing a rift between her and her bandmates that would soon widen. In the meantime, they soared to the top of the charts with the Giorgio Moroder-produced Eurodisco of “Call Me,” a cover of The Paragons’ ’60s reggae tune “The Tide Is High,” and “Rapture,” the first song with rapping to reach No. 1 in the U.S. By the time they released their wildly eclectic album The Hunter in 1982, the interpersonal dynamics were close to implosion, and the band split soon after. They reformed in 1997 and released No Exit two years later, scoring an international hit with “Maria.” The revivified Blondie, with cofounders Harry, guitarist Chris Stein, and drummer Clem Burke all remaining on board, continued touring and recording for decades.
ORIGINNew York, NY