Blondie is an American rock band co-founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein.
The band were pioneers in the American punk and then the new wave scene of the mid-1970s in New York. Its first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although highly successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including "Heart of Glass", "Call Me", "Rapture" and "The Tide Is High". The band became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, reggae, and early rap music.
Blondie's single, the Grammy-nominated "Call Me", was the result of Debbie Harry's collaboration with the Italian songwriter and producer Giorgio Moroder, who had been responsible for Donna Summer's biggest hits. The track was recorded as the title theme of the Richard Gere film American Gigolo. Released in February 1980 in the US, "Call Me" spent six consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the US and Canada, reached No. 1 in the U.K. and became a hit throughout the world. The single was also No. 1 on Billboard magazine's 1980 year-end chart. In the summer of 1980, the band appeared in a bit part in the film Roadie starring Meat Loaf. Blondie performed the Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire". The live recording was featured on the film soundtrack, and on a later CD reissue of the Eat to the Beat album.
In November 1980, Blondie's fifth studio album, Autoamerican was released; it contained two more No. 1 US hits: the reggae-styled "The Tide Is High", a cover version of a 1967 song written by John Holt of the Paragons, and the rap-flavored "Rapture", which was the first song featuring rapping to reach number one in the US. In the song Harry mentions the hip hop and graffiti artist Fab Five Freddy who also appears in the video for the song. Autoamerican featured a far wider stylistic range than previous Blondie albums, including the avant-garde instrumental "Europa", the acoustic jazz of "Faces", and "Follow Me" (from the Broadway show "Camelot"). The album went on to achieve platinum success in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
In October 1981, Chrysalis Records released The Best of Blondie, the group's first greatest hits compilation. The band reconvened in late 1981 to record a new album, The Hunter, released in May 1982. In contrast to their earlier commercial and critical successes, The Hunter was poorly received. The album did have two moderate hit singles: "Island of Lost Souls"and "War Child". The album also included "For Your Eyes Only", a track the band had been commissioned to write and record for the 1981 James Bond film of the same name, but was rejected by the film's producers.
For the brief North American tour (July-August 1982) to promote the Hunter album, guitarist Frank Infante was replaced with session musician Eddie Martinez. Also added to the live lineup were second keyboardist Abel Domingues, and a three-man horn section (Douglas Harris, Joseph Kohanski, and Arthur Pugh.) The concert tour was not particularly successful, with shows typically playing to less-than-capacity crowds.
With tensions within the band on the rise due to the act's commercial decline and the attendant financial pressures that brought, as well as the constant press focus on Harry to the exclusion of the other band members, events reached a breaking point when Stein was diagnosed with the life-threatening illness pemphigus.
As a result of Stein's illness, coupled with drug use by members of the band, financial mismanagement, and slow concert ticket sales, Blondie canceled their European tour plans early in August 1982. Shortly thereafter, the band broke up. The band's breakup was announced publicly in November 1982.
A remix album entitled Once More into the Bleach was released in 1988, and featured remixes of classic Blondie tracks and material from Harry's solo career.
Blondie disbanded after the release of its sixth studio album, The Hunter, in 1982. Debbie Harry continued to pursue a solo career with varied results after taking a few years off to care for partner Chris Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin.
After the 80s
The band re-formed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with "Maria" in 1999, exactly 20 years after their first UK No.1 single ("Heart of Glass").The group toured and performed throughout the world during the following years, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Blondie has sold around 40 million records worldwide and is still active. The band's tenth studio album, Ghosts of Download, was released in 2014 and their eleventh studio album, Pollinator, was released on May 5, 2017.