Oh… your hair is beautiful — well, that lyric divides people. I’ve read high-falutin’ rock critics slam its superficiality, embedded in a track that hardly has words anyhow, and certainly none that make sense. But you know, every time she sings that phrase, I melt. And love the whole song.
Back in the day when the band had hits on the radio I liked every one of them, and when they didn’t any more, I bought The Best of Blondie and man, I’m not sure there’s ever been a pop recording with more end-to-end concentrated excellence. I noticed when my kids were young, I’d put it on and every time, they’d both start dancing right away.
The songs are great, the arrangements are razor-sharp, and then Debbie Harry, on top of being a fine singer, has in certain periods been the hippest, coolest, most fashionable human being on the planet. I saw a show in the Nineties when she was touring under her own name; and got pretty close to the stage. She was wearing this dull-silver one-piece dress with a fine diamond pattern on it, neither tight nor loose, matching shoes, and when the spotlight caught her, there was just absolutely no looking away; I don’t know how that “star quality” thing works, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never been a room with anyone who had more. What’s remarkable about it is, she carries it off without even being much of a dancer.
Anyhow, I could have picked a half-dozen songs off the Best Of to be today’s song, and made a strong case for every one of them. My personal favorite is Call Me, but there’s a dark side; I read an interview with one of the band members, who was bitter: “You got to understand that Blondie wasn’t a band, it was Debbie and Chris Stein’s project, they went off in the studio and made Call Me for the American Gigolo sound-track, and none of us ever got to play a note, and then the band broke up, so I never played it in concert either.”
Links · Spotify playlist. This tune on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes. Now, as for live video, here’s Blondie in 1979, super-young and in fine form. Now snap forward thirty-five years to Glastonbury 2014 - give Debbie a verse to warm up her pipes, then she’s great. But what’s wonderful is the this shot at 4:17 of the side of the stage where, watching sixty-something Debbie tear it up, are what look like a thirty-something mom and her pre-teen daughter, dancing hard together and smiling wide. Their hair is beautiful. Put another dime in the jukebox baby, I so love rock-n-roll.