Every generation gets the sex symbol it deserves; for many of us creeping towards puberty in the late 70’s Debbie Harry was our It Girl.
I remember seeing Blondie perform “Hanging on the Telephone” on TV at a tender age. Debbie Harry was doing her standing-still-at-the-mike pose and was decked out in a glowing-red dress. I didn’t fully understand my reaction to the line, “I'd like to talk when I can show you my affection” but it may have influenced my decision to buy a cassette tape of Parallel Lines soon thereafter.
Of course, a dream of Kristy McNicol may have convinced me to watch the execrable show Family but that phase passed. Blondie remained. However, these years later it seems that of all the class of CBGB’s graduates, Blondie still gets the least respect (well other than The Shirts or The Tuff Darts). The Ramones were lionized for milking every last drop from their distillation of rock history. Blondie accomplished the same thing but since they insisted on moving “forward” (in a manner –disco, rap, old reggae – not so different than the Clash) and had hits, they grew critically marginalized. Yet, as a singer, songwriter, bandleader and sex symbol Debbie Harry belongs on a rarefied list of performers (Maybelle Carter, Billie Holliday, Joan Jett et al) who re-defined the role of women in music. Plus, the hits Harry and her band (remember "Bondie is a band"?) livened up the radio and jump-started a thousand underground bands.
Live at the Old Waldorf (1977) link is in the comments
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