Five Underrated Songs By Blondie; Hard Rock Live Show March 25

Blondie's Debbie Harry onstage in 1977
Blondie's Debbie Harry onstage in 1977
Image CC by 2.0, via Jean-Luc on Wikimedia Commons

Blondie, led by the unforgettably platinum blonde Debbie Harry, was one of the great mainstream successes of the '70s downtown New York scene. 


The magic was a sound that artfully blended any number of genres -- punk, reggae, even rap -- but blended it all together with unabashed pop hooks and a seriously great look. Blondie's appeal was often as visual as it was audible, but original songwriting, tight musicianship, and of course flexible, fun vocals meant this was a group to be taken seriously.


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

teeth.

"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

and fizzes.

"Maria" (1999)

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

bad, because single "Maria" is actually a scorcher, with a delicious

verse-chorus build-up and a hook worthy of singing in the shower.

Blondie. 7 p.m. Sunday, March 25 at Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $45 to $65. Click here


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