I'm gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha..."
Blondie is an American rock band that formed in 1974-1975, first gained fame in the late 1970s and has so far sold over 60 million records. The band was a pioneer in the early American New Wave and Punk Rock scenes. Its first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles and was noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of Disco, Pop and Reggae, while retaining a basic style as a New Wave band.
Lead singer Deborah Harry achieved a level of celebrity that eclipsed other band members, leading to tension within the group. Following the poorly received album The Hunter and with core member Chris Stein diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease, the group disbanded in 1982. As members pursued other projects, Blondie's reputation grew over the following decade and the group reformed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with "Maria" in 1999. The group toured and performed throughout the world over the following years, and was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the RockWalk of Fame in 2006.
- "Call Me"
- "One Way or Another"
- "Rapture" - the earliest example of a rock band performing rap music (the parent album was released just a month before The Clash's Sandinista!, which contained "The Magnificent Seven")
- "The Tide Is High"
- "Hanging On the Telephone"
- "In the Flesh"
- "Heart of Glass"
Studio album discography:
- Blondie (1976)
- Plastic Letters (1978)
- Parallel Lines (1978)
- Eat to the Beat (1979)
- Autoamerican (1980)
- The Hunter (1982)
- No Exit (1999)
- The Curse of Blondie (2003)
- Panic of Girls (2011)
- Ghosts of Download (2014) (As part of the Distinct Double Album Blondie 4(0) Ever, alongside a Greatest Hits Album)
- Pollinator (2017)
"I'm gonna find ya, I'm gonna trope ya trope ya trope ya trope ya":
- '80s Hair: See Debbie Harry on the cover of The Hunter.
- Armed Blag: "The Hardest Part" from Eat to the Beat talks about a robbery on an armored car ("Twenty-five tons of hardened steel..."). The title refers to the "hardest part" of the robbery being the armed guards inside the vehicle.
- Artifact Title: The band name references the fact that they had two blonde backing singers in addition to Debbie Harry. Neither of them stayed long enough to perform live or record with them. Therefore, for the record, the name has nothing to do with Hitler.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: "The Attack Of The Giant Ants" is about Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Christmas Cake: Very nicely and notably averted. Debbie Harry was already well into her 30s by the time the band hit it big. It didn't stop her from becoming a sex symbol at all.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: "Denise" became "Denis". Averted with their cover of "I'm Gonna Love You Too" by Buddy Holly, which retains the line "After all, another fella took ya": Intentionally or not, this makes it sound like the narrator's male love interest left with another man.
- Cultural Rebel: A female-fronted punk/new wave band formed in the 1970s, albeit only the singer was female. Then again, Deborah Harry herself is a really good example, as she was in her early thirties when her band became a hit - a little old for one of the founders of female punk rock. (By contrast, The Ramones were still in their mid-twenties when they hit it big.)
- Dating Catwoman: "X Offender" is about a prostitute who falls in love with the police officer who busts her.
- Disco: "Heart of Glass". "Call Me" and "Rapture" have shades of disco too, though the latter also features rapping.
- Distinct Double Album: Blondie 4(0) Ever, which includes Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux with new recordings of old songs alongside Ghosts of Download, an all-new release.
- Epic Rocking:
- The full, extended version of "Call Me" is definitely epic — it's over 8 minutes long!
- "Heart of Glass" almost counts — the extended version (which replaced the original 3:50 version on almost all pressings of the album made since 1979, and almost all CD versions) runs for 5:50.
- "Rapture" runs for six and a half minutes, with the disco remix clocking in at an even ten minutes.
- Femme Fatale: To some extent Debbie Harry's stage persona, and some of their songs at least hint at dangerous femininity. From "Maria":"She moves like she don't care
Smooth as silk, cool as air
Ooh, it makes you wanna cry..."
- French Maid: Deborah Harry's solo single "French Kissing in the USA" depicts a number of French maids as extras.
- Genre Roulette: Blondie are well known for this, spanning several different genres across each album. A good example is Eat To The Beat's second half (Side 2 on the original vinyl/cassette release) which has each track in a distinct genre:
- "Die Young Stay Pretty" - Reggae
- "Slow Motion" - Motown
- "Atomic" - Disco
- "Sound A Sleep" - Easy Listening
- "Victor" - Noise Rock
- "Living In The Real World" - Punk
- Gratuitous French:
- "Sunday Girl", which also has its own French version. The version on The Best of Blondie was a mix made from both and is well known.
- "Denis" also featured a verse in French, which explained the cover's name and gender change (from a girl named Denise to a French boy named Denis).
- "Francois, c'est pas flashe non due" in the Rapture rap.
- From Call Me: "Appelle-moi, mon chéri, appelle-moi", just after some Gratuitous Italian: "Amore chiamami, chiamami". Both verses mean "Call me, my dear/love".
- Debbie's solo song "French Kissin' In The USA" also has Gratuitous French in the repeated line "Embrasser c'est Francais". Like "Sunday Girl", it also has its own French version, which was the B-Side to the single "In Love With Love".
- Limited Lyrics Song: The original album version of "Atomic" has one verse, then goes into an instrumental for most of its running time before returning to a vocal refrain near the end. The single edit is more conventionally structured, as it edits down the instrumental section and also throws in a repeat of the sole verse.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "One Way or Another" is a catchy, upbeat little ditty about ... a stalker ex-boyfriend that Debbie Harry had.
- Male Band, Female Singer: One of the first examples in rock and and inspiration for other bands.
- Ms. Fanservice: Debbie Harry. Case in point, Harley Quinn's Stripperiffic outfit in the film Suicide Squad looks similar to one memorable outfit of Harry's.◊
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Their harder, Punk Rock-influenced early work fairly often reached 5 ("One Way Or Another" is a good example), and on the whole, their work covers the whole lower half of the spectrum.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Deborah Harry makes up for "Atomic"'s Limited Lyrics by wringing unsuspected awesomeness from the simple line "Oh, your hair is beautiful".
- Obsession Song: Several, including "One Way or Another", "Accidents Never Happen" and "Hangin' On the Telephone".
- One-Man Song: "Denis".
- One-Woman Song: "Maria".
- Performance Video
- Playboy Bunny: Debbie Harry worked at New York's Playboy Club back in the '70s.
- Pun-Based Title: "Rapture". It's got rapping in it, geddit?
- Questioning Title?: "Will Anything Happen?"
- Rap Rock: Trope Maker with "Rapture", along with The Clash's "The Magnificent Seven" and the crossover between RunD.M.C. and Aerosmith "Walk This Way".
- Rearrange the Song:
- The band's early song "Once I Had A Love" was rearranged several times until it became "Heart of Glass" several years later. When first written the song was blues inspired, it went on to become more upbeat and poppier, and finally the band decided on the electro-disco arrangement that made "Heart of Glass" famous. Several demos of it are available and show the song in its various stages of development.
- A similar case for "Just Go Away" which was once a 1975 song called "Lullaby" with different lyrics. Although not recorded or played live "Fade Away And Radiate" was one of the first songs the band wrote. The band were somewhat short of material for Parallel Lines, and hadn't been considering these songs for an album, but producer Mike Chapman liked them.
- Refrain from Assuming: "Rapture" is not titled "The Man From Mars" even though the rap portion of the song, providing a detailed list of actions by that man, is more memorable than the singing portion that ends with the word "rapture".
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Debbie Harry did almost all of the vocals on "Atomic."
- Shout-Out: "Dreaming" makes one to Bob Dylan's song "Watching the River Flow."
- Small Name, Big Ego: The titular "her" in "Rip Her To Shreds".
- Stalker with a Crush: "One Way Or Another" was inspired by one of Harry's ex-boyfriends who stalked her.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: "Sunday Girl"."I know a girl from a lonely street
Cold as ice cream but still as sweet."
- Teenage Death Songs: "Suzy and Jeffrey", about a teenage couple who die in a car crash.
- Telephone Song: "Call Me" is about the day to day business of a call girl.
- Uncommon Time:
- Yes, Blondie of all bands have an example of this trope, and in one of their best known songs to boot. In the instrumental parts of "Heart of Glass" the band will frequently skip a beat three times in an eight-measure pattern, meaning that there is a popular disco song containing examples of Uncommon Time. (The exact pattern, in case you're wondering, is 4+3+4+3+4+3+4+4/4, meaning that there are twenty-nine beats in the cycle instead of the popular 32).
- They also skip a beat in "I'm on E", appropriately on the line 'skip a beat', and in "Detroit 442", which catches off people trying to play along to Clem Burke's drumming.
- Verbal Tic: They tend to insert French (or French-sounding nonsense) lyrics into most of their tracks. They even did this with their gender-flipped cover of "Denise".
- Visual Pun: The cover of Parallel Lines is the band standing in front of a background of black-and-white, well, parallel lines.
- Vocal Evolution: Debbie's voice becomes noticeably deeper and huskier during the '90s.
- Wanderlust Song: "Screaming Skin"."Following my lust for wander everywhere I've ever been,
I can't escape the sound of it — the sound of my screaming skin"
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Subverted in "Rapture", although considered an Ur-Example. Instead of someone else rapping in her song, Debbie Harry does it herself. Even when they had Coolio appear on "No Exit", they dodged having a true example of this trope - both Debbie Harry and Coolio were rapping in the verses.