Blondie, led by the unforgettably platinum blonde Debbie Harry, was one of the great mainstream successes of the '70s downtown New York scene.
Still, in the annals of pop history, what many remember Blondie for are the biggest and most obvious singles, from the dance-ified reggae cover "The Tide is High" to the megahit "Heart of Glass." Surely, those two, along with other American chart smashes -- "Telephone," "Call Me," or "Dreaming," just to name another few -- should all turn up during Blondie's headlining show at the Hard Rock Live on March 25.
But beyond the hits, the group's relatively deeper cuts yielded a number of underrated tracks over the years. Here are five of those.
"Rip Her to Shreds" (1976)
This cut from the group's self-titled album is a slightly glossed-up
slab of punk that sounds like a dis track. Harry has claimed it's meant
to be a comment on gossip columns, but either way, it's a track with
"In the Flesh" (1976)
Another mid-album track from the self-titled record, this comes off as a
post-punk take on girl-group fare that's just syrupy enough.
"I'm Always Touched By Your Presence Dear" (1977)
This song, from the album Plastic Letters, was written by bassist
Gary Valentine for his then-girlfriend, but when he left the band
shortly after, the song stayed. Harry made its sweet ode to infatuation
convincing, but the track only achieved major lift-off in the U.K., and
failed to chart in the band's home country.
"Die Young Stay Pretty" (1979)
With the contrast between its fatalist lyrics and super-bubbly
pop-reggae surface, this comes off as ironic commentary that also froths
Whenever a band popular in one specific era -- in Blondie's case, the
late '70s and early '80s -- comes back in another, its new musical
offerings are often politely received but not necessarily taken
seriously. Blondie's comeback album, No Exit, appeared in 1999, scoring
serious chart success in the U.K., though less in the U.S. That's too
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bad, because single "Maria" is actually a scorcher, with a delicious
verse-chorus build-up and a hook worthy of singing in the shower.