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Friday, 18 April 2014

40 Years of Blondie Part Two: 1978

1978 was an even bigger year for Blondie, and it began in February with the release of a brand new single and a brand new album. Remember to click on the links to enjoy the music.

Originally released by Doo Wop artists Randy and the Rainbows in 1963 as 'Denise'.
The single broke the Top 20 in a number of European Countries (#1 in Belguim and the Netherlands) and in the UK stalled at #2 for four weeks ('Wuthering Heights' by Kate Bush kept it off the #1 spot the first two weeks and then Brian and Michael's 'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs' kept it there a further two weeks!).

 And then 'Plastic Letters' followed. In the States the album barely scrapped into the charts peaking at #72 but in the UK it reached #10.

The album also contained the next offering from the band released in April. Written by the departing Gary Valentine (Nigel Harrison would take over on bass), it would be yet another Top Ten hit in the UK for Blondie.

August 1978 saw the band release the first single from what would be their third studio album in little under two years.

The single peaked at #12 in the UK. Blondiemania was about to breakout with the release of the album.

A #1 album in the UK and by far their biggest success in their homeland with the record reaching #6 in 1979. It would go on to sell over 20 million copies world wide over the years.

Mike Chapman produced the album and he is of course familiar as the producer of 70's pop bands like Sweet, Mud, Smokie and Suzi Quatro. He managed with Blondie to create the "perfect pop album", so perfect in fact that in all a further five singles were taken from it!

In the USA the label decided to release 'I'm Gonna Love You Too' backed by 'Just Go Away'. They thought that seeing as 'Denis' (a cover version) had been a huge hit as the opening single for 'Plastic Letters' then surely another cover version (a Buddy Holly classic from 1957) is bound to be a massive hit. They got it wrong big style as the single failed to chart.

Meanwhile in the UK the label was getting it spot on with the choices for singles as in October they dropped another one:

Another cover version, this time a song written by Jack Lee for his band The Nerves in 1976. The single would reach #5 in the UK charts. In the USA they released the single with 'Fade Away and Radiate' as the b-side and with a different picture cover and once again it failed to chart. Chrysalis in the States wouldn't have a hit single by Blondie until 1979 (we will deal with that next time around in part 3): 

Other 1978 Highlights

Live at My Father's Place NYC 01/06/78.
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