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Blondie (rock band)

Blondie (rock band)

The 1970s were a transitional period in popular music. Emerging from the new wave and punk rock scene, the band Blondie, featuring Deborah Harry, achieved both critical and commercial success. Blondie transcended mere popularity by moving away from blues-based rock and capitalizing on the personality and musical ingenuity of its lead singer. Blondie successfully incorporated elements from a number of different musical forms into its music, including rap, reggae, disco, pop, punk, and rock.

After a number of early failures, Deborah Harry and Chris Stein formed Blondie in 1973. The name for the band came from the cat calls truck drivers used to taunt Deborah Harry, "Come on Blondie, give us a screw!" Harry parodied the dumb blonde stereotype into platinum. She appeared on stage in torn swimsuit and high heels, vacantly staring into space. In 1977 the act and the talent paid off in the band's hit "Denis," and was soon followed by "Heart of Glass."

The strength of Blondie, Deborah Harry, also proved its weakness. Jealousy led to the dissolution of the group in 1984. Harry went on her own, achieving some success—her tours continually sold-out whether she was alone or with the Jazz Passengers. But her solo success has never reached that of the group Blondie.

By 1997, Blondie had reunited for a tour, completed an album in 1998, and had begun touring once again. The band members claimed not to remember why they split and seemed eager to reunite. Their fans also eagerly anticipated a more permanent reunion. Blondie has greatly influenced the bands that have come after it, and Deborah Harry has continued to explore new genres with success.

—Frank A. Salamone, Ph.D.

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