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.

Atomic by Blondie

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.”

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

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.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Gordon Haff (Mar 12 2018, at 14:09)

Deborah Harry was great. I also loved Pat Benatar from roughly the same era.


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March 10, 2018
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