Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 13 December 2010


Blondie's PARALLEL LINES (which has just been given away free here in an English newspaper) is a classic album featuring brilliant singles and it turned the group Blondie into massive international stars. It brings back a lot of memories of that late '70s early '80s time and its great hearing those songs like Heart of Glass, Picture This, Hanging on the Telephone, Fade Away and Radiate etc again. It has driven me back to their other material, classics like Rapture, The Tide Is High and Debbie Harry's I Want That Man.

This album shows the band at the peak of their powers. It reached Nr 1 in the UK charts in February 1979 and heralded a period when the New York group was one of the biggest in the world. I was just in my 30s then and it was all very relevant to me. They were 5 boys and one drop-dead gorgeous girl who burst on the music scene highlighting that New York vibe of the time. Female rock stars like Madonna and Lady Gaga owe many of their ideas to Debbie Harry.

PARALLEL LINES now looks like a vivid postcard from a cool, mixed up corner of late '70s New York, a time when disco, punk and art collided. The New York of those years was not the affluent city of today but was a lethal semi-derelict place where Blondie made their headquarters. Chris Stein the band's guitarist was Debbie's boyfriend and so-founder of the group. Their contemporaries were legends-in-waiting like Talking Heads but it was Blondie who bottled their sound and vision of the sound and attitude of New York and exported the city to the world's pop charts.

Their Call Me was also another giant hit, used over the opening credits of Paul Schrader's hymn to the era, AMERICAN GIGOLO. Their momentum stalled in 1982 when Stein developed a rare skin disease and Debbie Harry retired from the spotlight to nurse him back to health. They returned in the late '90s with more hits like Maria and a hit album, and there is a new album out in January - 3 of which tracks are on this free giveaway. It does whet one's appetite for more Blondie. Blondie are arguably the greatest band of New York City and those years and PARALLEL LINES captures every element of their brilliance. It was good too to see Debbie during her solo years and when she performed with the Jazz Passengers. Cool is the word.

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