Blondie, Still Number One

Blondie recently released their ninth album, Panic of Girls which is full of international flowing flavors like Latin, French, reggae…all of those multilingual sounds on one album scream where they’ve been and breathe like a fine wine that improves with age. I’ve been sipping Blondie with deliberate pleasure since I saw them last week at Dallas’ Granada Theatre.

Blondie has an ethereal and infectious sound that is singularly identifiable and emotionally haunting; they are respected and appreciated to this day.

Harry says, “Music is a funny thing; kind of like this creature that’s always evolving and layering and forming different identities.”

Hearing Blondie, you are exposed to so many genres: disco, punk, club, new wave, dreamy pop, rock, rap… all rolled into one great band. With this wide range of genres comes a wide range of demographically diverse fans. The Blondie audience cannot be stereotyped.

They were so prevalent during the 70s and 80s; hearing them today it is obvious that they are still relevant.  Being able to hear from so many artists from this time period like Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, The Cars, The Pretenders, The Go Go’s creates reflections on a great time in music. Hearing Blondie with a line-up of old and new feels very right, very current, and very Blondie.

Blondie’s name derived from comments made by truck drivers who catcalled “Hey, Blondie” to Harry, and the name just stuck.

Debbie Harry, the voice and face of Blondie, has a sexy maturity that adds to her je ne sais quoi; it’s smoky, husky, sophisticated, and still exudes her signature flirty vibe. She is mesmerizing; she demands stage presence placing her hands on her hips and staring into the audience. You can’t take your eyes off of her.

She walked out onto Dallas’ Granada stage wearing Audrey Hepburn style sunglasses and a long romantic style tutu. It was like a Tim Burton costume and with each song; she’d peel off a layer to add more drama– changing her costume right before our eyes… going from white to black…oh so Blondie!

I imagine Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe inspired some of Debbie’s confident style. Debbie Harry has always been a style icon. She was a dancer, Playboy bunny, and one of the sexist women in the world. Harry’s fashion forward style is legendary; once wearing a double-sided razor blade dress she inspires current artists like Lady Gaga. Debbie Harry made that type of avant-garde fashion a swirly part of her performance signature long before Lady Gaga.

The band Blondie has been around for nearly forty years now and is still the coolest of the cool. Debbie Harry says about finding inspiration, “I like to go out dancing and dance around to stuff. You can just, you know, feel it.”

Debbie Harry is sixty-six and admits that she finds ageing to be rough saying, “I rely on looks a lot. Women’s calling cards, unfortunately, are based on their looks. I’m trying my best now. I’m healthy and I exercise like a fiend and do all that stuff that recovered drug addicts do.” She also says when asked if she was sorry she did not have children of her own, “Sometimes, sometimes. I guess it never struck me as being part of survival and for many people it is, it’s a way of surviving.”

There are places that have such a heavy past it’s almost like they are haunted. I’d like to go back in time to the heyday of Studio 54 and CBGB’s. I’ve visited both of those places in NYC (seeing Cabaret at Studio 54 and my sister perform at CBGB’s). I couldn’t help but think of all the good times that were had. Blondie wrote a love song to another NYC club, Mother, that holds mesmerizing memories of their musical past.

Two highlights that weren’t on the menu for the Dallas show were when Blondie blended “Rapture” with Beastie Boys’ You Gotta Fight for your Right to Party and as a surprise for Dallas played a ZZ Top cover of Sharp Dressed Man that had everyone singing along.

Blondie’s Heart of Glass was the final encore that left everyone feeling so good. Blondie’s music gives off so many emotions…Maria and Dreaming are some of my favorites, she can bring tears to your eyes. My daughter can’t get enough of her new Latin song, she’ll sing Papi, papi ven y bésame as we drive home. I honestly love everything Blondie does; they’re still my number one!

The tide is high but I’m holding on
I’m gonna be your number one
I’m not the kind of girl who gives up just like that
Oh, no

Blondie original members include Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Clem Burke, along with new players Leigh Foxx, Tommy Kessler, and Matt Katz-Bohen.

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