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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 272 - Blondie

Eat To The Beat - Blondie
Produced by Mike Chapman
Released 28th September 1979
US Chart #17
UK Chart #1

    Deborah Harry – lead vocals
    Chris Stein – guitar
    Frank Infante – guitar, background vocals on "Die Young, Stay Pretty" and "Victor"
    Jimmy Destri – keyboards, background vocals on "Die Young, Stay Pretty" and "Victor"
    Nigel Harrison – bass

    Clem Burke – drums

Additional personnel
    Mike Chapman – background vocals on "Die Young, Stay Pretty" and "Victor"
    Donna Destri – background vocals on "Living in the Real World"
    Robert Fripp – guitar on "Heroes" bonus live track
    Ellie Greenwich – background vocals on "Dreaming" and "Atomic"

    Lorna Luft – background vocals on "Accidents Never Happen" and "Slow Motion"
    Randy Singer (Hennes) – harmonica on "Eat to the Beat"

Eat To The Beat 
Video Album
 Every song on the album had a video made for it and it was released on VHS/Betamax Video and Videodisk. The sequencing was a little different to the album with Dreaming ending the album rather than starting it.

Singles on Eat To The Beat
Dreaming / Sound-A-Sleep (UK B-Side) / Living in the Real World (US B-Side)
September 1979
US Chart #27
UK Chart #2

November 1979
UK Chart #13

January 1980 
US/Canada Release
US Chart #84
Canada #86

US Chart #39
UK Chart #1

I've been a huge fan of Blondie dating right back to their Debut single X-Offender and of course witnessing them in all their early glory as support to fellow New Yorkers Television at the Hammersmith Odeon.

After a fairly unsuccessful Debut Album released on Private Stock, Blondie signed with Chrysalis Records and almost immediately began having hit singles and hit albums. Plastic Letters arrived in 1978 reaching #10 in the UK and contained a couple of Singles that made their mark on the charts Denis (#2) and (I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear (#10). In their homeland hits proved harder to come by. Then came Parallel Lines and that was their first #1 album in the UK (#6 in the US). Picture This (#12), Hanging On The Telephone (#5) were followed by two #1 singles Heart of Glass and Sunday Girl.

Eat To The Beat (their fourth studio album) would become their second #1 Long Player in the UK and again there was a handful of great singles released from the album. My favourite of them all is Union City Blue (I still cannot understand the reluctance on the part of their label to not release it as the second single in America and rather opt for The Hardest Part - which did not do well at all chartwise!).

Alongside the album release there was also an Eat To The Beat Video Album that featured promos for every track on the album. It was the first such project in rock music. Most of the songs were filmed in and around New York, the exception was the 'Union City Blue' music video, which was filmed at Union Dry Dock, Weehawken, New Jersey. Each video was directed by David Mallet and produced by Paul Flattery. The video was initially available as a promotional VHS in 1979 and subsequently released on videocassette and videodisk in October 1980.

Producer Mike Chapman (who had also worked on the Parallel Lines album) said about the making of the album: "They wanted to try anything. And I was right there with them. We also had a title for the album at a very early point, so we had a concept of sorts: Eat to the Beat. I tried to have Debbie explain exactly what it meant to her, but in her normal fashion she simply confused me and I was forced to give it my own interpretation. . . . [Drugs] found their way to the studio and presented us with yet another obstacle. The more drugs, the more fights. It was becoming a real mess. . . . The music was good but the group was showing signs of wear and tear. The meetings, the drugs, the partying and the arguments had beaten us all up, and it was hard to have a positive attitude when the project was finally finished. . . . Was this the record that the public was waiting for, or was it just the waste of seven sick minds? I had never experienced this kind of emotional rollercoaster before, and I have never forgotten the sounds, smells and tastes that came with it. I guess that was what they meant: Eat to the Beat."

I thought on first hearing it that it was the best thing they had ever done, some might disagree and point to Parallel Lines but I felt that the band showed a whole lot of progression and it would hopefully pave a way for more interesting sounds on their next album (and the story of Autoamerican is one for another day).

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

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