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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

40 Years of Blondie Part One: 1973-1977

Blondie are 40 years old as a band! Wow! And they are still making music (a new album 'Ghosts of Download' is set for release this year) and touring. Of course there are only three original members of the band remaining (Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke). 

I did a post on Blondie back in 2011 but now most of the video links on it are dead and photo links are also dead I thought I would do a fresh one spotlighting the band as they celebrate 40 years!

Chris Stein hooked up with Debbie Harry to be guitarist of  The Stilettos in 1973. Debbie Harry had been a member of the late 60's folk rock band The Wind in the Willows, a playboy bunny girl and a waitress. A year later both had left the band to begin a new adventure. Their relationship had blossomed into lovers and by 1975, with several line-up changes and a name change from Angel and the Snake they became Blondie. The line-up at this period was Debbie Harry - Vocals, Chris Stein - Guitar, Clem Burke - Drums, Jimmy Destri - Keyboards, and Gary Valentine - Bass.

They became a regular fixture at what would become legendary music venues - Max's Kansas City and CBGB's. Footage from an August 1975 show at CBGB's exists and it gives a good insight to the direction the band were taking.

June 17th 1976 the band released their first single on the Private Stock label (home to David Soul!):

With the debut album recorded their second single was released in October 1976:

The single (when reissued by Chrysalis in 1977) was a huge hit in Australia peaking at #2! Apparently a TV show mistakenly played the film for 'In The Flesh' which was the b-side to 'X Offender' down under, and it took off giving the band their first international success!

Followed in December by the album:

Listen to the debut album here in full.

Richard Gotteher produced the album, he is well known for penning 'My Boyfriend's Back', 'Hang on Sloopy' and 'I Want Candy'.

Due to poor sales the album did not chart until it was re-released in October 1977 later as the band moved to Chrysalis Records. Along with the album their new label also released a 3-track 12" featuring 'Rip Her To Shreds', 'In The Flesh' and 'X Offender' as the first UK single.

I can even remember the advertising in the music papers for this:

In the UK Blondie were already known to many as earlier in the year they had toured with fellow New Yorkers Television who were out on the road promoting their debut album 'Marquee Moon'.

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