I’m conscious that fewer female artists feature in my musical posts so I’m going to rectify that omission over the next few weeks.
This week’s track is from Blondie, a US band fronted by striking, blonde, punk-icon Debbie Harry (1945 – ), born Angela Trimble. Blondie released their self-titled debut album in 1976 which peaked at No. 14 in Australia and No. 75 in the UK. Their second album, Plastic Letters, garnered some success outside the US, but their third album, Parallel Lines (1978), was a worldwide hit and catapulted the group to international success.
It included my featured track, the global hit single Heart of Glass, written by Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. Riding the crest of disco’s domination, the track made No. 1 in the US and sold nearly two million copies. It also reached No. 1 in the UK (and several other countries) and was the second highest-selling single of 1979.
In December 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song number 255 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It was ranked at number 259 when the list was updated in April 2010. In 2018, Heart of Glass ranked at number 66 in the UK’s official list of biggest selling singles of all-time, with sales of 1.32 million copies.
The band’s success continued with the release of the platinum-selling Eat to the Beat album (UK No. 1, US No. 17) in 1979. Autoamerican (UK No. 3, US No. 7) was released in 1980. Blondie had further No. 1 hits with “Call Me” (American Gigolo soundtrack) (US and UK No. 1), Atomic (Eat to the Beat album) (UK No. 1), The Tide Is High (US and UK No. 1), and Rapture (US No. 1).
Harry was immortalized by Andy Warhol in 1980, who produced a number of artworks of her image from a single photoshoot at the Factory. The artist created a small series of four acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas portraits of the star in different colours, as well as Polaroids and a small number of rare silver gelatin prints from the shoot.
The band have split and reformed several times while Harry has enjoyed success as a solo artist and as an actress.
In August 2020, Harry and Stein sold the rights to the song, as one of 197 Blondie songs, to investment fund company Hipgnosis Songs Fund.