Queens of Vinyl is a series where we will explore the sounds, styles, and impact of some of the most incredible and influential female artists ever pressed to vinyl.
This week: Debbie Harry.
If you walked into the famous CBGB in the ’70s, it was a pretty safe bet that the new-wave punk pumping off of the stage was coming from Debbie Harry. As the founder and lead singer of Blondie, as well as a successful solo artist, she’s been called a punk icon, one of the greatest women of rock, and one of the sexiest artists of all time.
With her iconic two-toned blonde hair, powerful voice, and over 14 studio albums under her belt, there’s no doubt in our minds that this playboy bunny turned punk goddess belongs amongst the ranks as a Queen of Vinyl.
It was 1974 when Chris Stein and Debbie Harry formed the new-wave punk masterpiece known as Blondie. Blondie’s initial success was found in Australia. This is attributed to a television program accidentally playing “In the Flesh, which was the B-Side of their single at the time, “X-Offender”.
It would be another 3 albums and 8 singles, before Blondie would break out in America. It was the fourth single off of 1978’s Parallel Lines titled “Heart of Glass” that sent Blondie and Debbie Harry straight to the top of the charts across the world.
Quick to follow, off of 5 albums, came 11 more powerful singles including, “One Way or Another”, “Sunday Girl”, “Call Me”, “The Tide is High”, and “Rapture”.
Shortly after, the band took a break in 1981 and announced their breakup in 1982. During that time, Debbie Harry went solo and put out 17 singles from four albums until the band reunited in 1997. While Harry saw some success as a solo artist, her popularity never matched that of her time with Blondie.
As Blondie’s early work began to come back to popular culture in the late ‘80s and ‘90s via artists like Madonna and Gwen Stefani, Blondie reconvened to show that they still had it. In 1996, Harry and Stein “got the band back together”.
With 1997’s No Exit and 2003’s The Curse of Blondie, Debbie Harry is still enjoying her reign as Queen. Blondie and Debbie Harry were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Today, Debbie Harry is still fronting Blondie. With their newest release, this year’s Panic of Girls, Blondie has embarked on tour. Panic of Girls first single, “Mother”, shows that Debbie Harry is hanging onto her rock roots, one way or another.
For all those local rockers who are dying to see Harry live, you’re in luck. Blondie’s current tour is headed to Chicago’s House of Blues tomorrow, September 7. Tickets are still available through Live Nation.