In my book, Debbie Harry can do no wrong. Whether with Blondie or as a solo artiste, Ms. Harry has made this little planet of ours a much better place—even if it is for just for 3 minutes of pop heaven at a time. Here the talented and iconic singer gives an excellent interview to Annie Nightingale—who is no slouch herself, and was the British first female DJ on BBC radio 1. Interviewed for the series One to One while promoting her album Def, Dumb & Blonde, Ms. Harry allows access to all areas of her career, and gives Nightingale some very honest and revealing answers.
I miss Tony Wilson. I miss the idea of Tony Wilson. Someone who had an enquiring mind and was full of intelligent enthusiasms, like Tony Wilson. And who also didn’t mind making a prat of himself when he got things wrong. Or, even right.
I met him in 2005 for a TV interview. He arrived on a summer’s day at a small studio in West London. He wore a linen suit, sandals, carried a briefcase, and his toenails were painted a rich plum color - his wife had painted them the night before, he said.
Wilson was clever, inspired and passionate about music. He talked about his latest signing, a rap band, and his plans for In the City music festival before we moved onto the Q&A in front of a camera. He could talk for England, but he was always interested in what other people were doing, what they thought, and was always always encouraging others to be their best. That’s what I miss.
You get more than an idea of that Tony Wilson in this compilation of the best of his regional tea-time TV series So It Goes. Wilson (along with Janet Street-Porter) championed Punk Rock on TV, and here he picks a Premier Division of talent:
Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Buzzcocks, John Cooper Clarke, Iggy Pop, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Penetration, Blondie, Fall, Jam, Jordan, Devo, Tom Robinson Band, Johnny Thunder, Elvis Costello, XTC, Jonathan Richman, Nick Lowe, Siouxie & the Banshees, Cherry Vanilla & Magazine….. The tape fails there!
The uploader ConcreteBarge has left in the adverts “for historical reference” that include - “TSB, Once, Cluster, Coke is it, Roger Daltery in American Express, Ulay, Swan, Our Price, Gastrils, Cluster & Prestige”.
So, let’s get in the time machine and travel back for an hour of TV fun.
Blondie: One Way or Another (2006) is a terrific BBC documentary full of energy and groovy interviews from the likes of Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Tommy Ramone, Roberta Bayley, Mike Chapman and Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.
Blondie’s self-titled debut album never left my turntable for the first few weeks that it was released (1976). I was living in a hotel and had very few possessions. The Blondie album along with The Ramones and Patti Smith’s first lps were among the handful of stuff I owned - vinyl treasures that were soon joined by Television and Mink DeVille.
Spend a pleasurable 71 minutes with some of New York’s finest alumni of CBGB: Debbie, Chris, Jimmy and Clem.
The fabulous Debbie Harry turns 67 today—she was born on July 1, 1945—and in her evergreen rock goddess honor, here is one of the little-known music videos directed by Oscar-winning Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger for her 1981 solo album KooKoo (for which Giger also did the now iconic cover art).
“Now I Know You Know” was written by Harry and Chris Stein and produced by Chic’s resident geniuses, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. At the time of KooKoo‘s recording, sick of being “Blondie” and taking a year off from the band, Harry had dyed her signature two-tone bleached-blonde hair brunette and was pictured on the album cover with four spikes going through her head and neck (something inspired by Giger’s visit to his acupuncturist).
The video was shot in H.R. Giger’s studio in Switzerland, in it Harry cavorts around in a sexy black wig, with make-up and a body-hugging catsuit painted by Giger.
Another video was shot by Giger—and he’s in it, too, judging from the hairstyle of the masked male “magician” character—for KooKoo‘s first single, “Backfired,” but it’s pretty weak, actually.
Debbie Harry and Chris Stein interviewed by the very nearly hip Pierre Salinger, former press secretary for President Kennedy, on TV show 20/20 in March of 1980.
This is surprisingly good for network TV. Some cool live footage. Chris discusses his nervous breakdown after binging on LSD.
Among the many interesting aspects of Pierre Salinger’s career was the fact that he stuck to his guns after declaring “If Bush wins, I’m going to leave the country.” George W. won and Salinger moved to France.
Age may weary and death may claim, but the ears will not condemn this fine selection of essential listening from Blondie, Joe Strummer, Ian Dury, Sonic Youth, David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen taken from Later with Jools Holland.
01. Blondie - “Heart of Glass” from 1998
02. Joe Strummer - “London Calling” from 2000
03. Ian Dury - “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” from 1998
04. Sonic Youth- “Sacred Trickster” from 2009
05. David Bowie - “Ashes to Ashes” from 1999
06. Johnny Cash - “Folsom Prison Blues” from 1994
07. Leonard Cohen - “Dance me to the End of Love” from 1993
This Dutch TV documentary from 1977 captures some brilliant performances by The Stranglers, Blondie and The Sex Pistols. The bands are firing on all cylinders as they perform in Amsterdam.
In 1977, this is what was moving my world. I had just arrived in New York City and I felt like a sail in a hurricane. Slept all day and hit the clubs at night to see a rock revolution in the making.
The Stranglers at the Second Avenue Theater were particularly awe-inspiring. Unsung heroes of rock and roll, which is probably as it should be - no more heroes. Though, I have my share.
The Stranglers - No More Heroes, Something Better Change
Blondie - Detroit 442, Love at the Pier
Sex Pistols - E.M.I., Pretty Vacant, Anarchy in the UK
The video quality is pretty rough, which seems appropriate - like an underground transmission from the distant past. It’s also in Dutch without English substitles, but it hardly matters. The music speaks for itself.
This Channel 4 UK program from the mid-80s compiles some incredible performances culled from Tony Wilson’s late 70s Granada TV series, So It Goes. Includes the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop (with horsetail sticking out of his ass and saying “fucking” on 70s TV), The Fall, The Jam, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69 and ending with the classic clip of Joy Division performing “Shadow Play.” Many of the groups represented here were making their TV debuts on So It Goes, a regional tea-time program.
Demo of “Platinum Blonde” produced by Alan Betrock in 1975. It wasn’t released until 2001 as a bonus track on a re-master of Blondie’s self-titled debut album.
I gotta be a platinum blonde!
I gotta be a platinum blonde.
I gotta be a platinum blonde!
I’ll hit the bottle baby.
The video includes some shots of CBGB and the Lower East Side just before they became rock and roll Meccas. I have the feeling that former art student and Blondie founder Chris Stein directed this. But I don’t know it for a fact. Anyone know?
Update: DM reader Michael says the video is a segment from from Amos Poe’s Blank Generation. Been awhile since I’ve seen Poe’s film, but it makes sense to me - right place, right time.
When I was growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Top of the Pops was essential, nay compulsory viewing. You see, for a certain age group TOTP was the only music show on British TV. Yes, there was the excellent Old Grey Whistle Test with “Whispering” Bob Harris, which had Zappa, The New York Dolls, Deep Purple and alike, but that went out long after sundown and well past most young uns bedtimes. It would really take until the arrival of the pop promo for music shows to become ubiquitous, which meant back in the days of mop tops, glitter and platform boots, Top of the Pops was King.
Top of the Pops was the BBC’s legendary, Top 40 chart run-down show. It ran between 1964 and 2006, when it was pulled by the Beeb bosses due to a lack of viewers or, too much competition - depending who you read. It was an inevitable demise for music had changed after Rave, and the diversity and choice available meant what most youngsters listened to was rarely reflected by a show centered around the record sales of bland and talentless groups squeezed out by music industry execs.
Moreover, because TOTP was a chart run down show, you were likely to see David Bowie in the same studio as The Osmonds or, The Sex Pistols on the same show as Hot Chocolate. Even so, there was always moments to treasure from Jimi Hendrix, to Bowie’s “Starman”, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”, The Smiths with a gladioli-waving Morrissey singing “This Charming Man”, to Blondie “Dreaming”.
And yes, there was The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Move and so on, right up to The Damned, The Jam, Marc Almond, and even Nick Cave. But for all the great and the good, there was always a lot of shit. Something that is more than apparent in this 2-hour compilation of forty years of Top of the Pops. It’s an odd mix with some great, and some inexcusable songs, and a lot of brilliant ones missing. Yet, for all the good, the bad and the ugly, it does tell a story of how music has changed for better and worse over the past four decades.
Top of the Pops 40th Anniversary 1964 - 2004
1964: Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas - “Little Children”
1965: Sandie Shaw - “Long Live Love”
1966: The Seekers - “The Carnival Is Over” (Performance was from 1965)
1967: Procol Harum - “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
1968: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - “Fire”
1969: The Hollies - “Sorry Suzanne”
1970: Free - “All Right Now”
1971: T.Rex - “Get It On”
1972: Roxy Music - “Virginia Plain”
1973: Slade - “Cum on Feel the Noize”
1974: The Three Degrees - “When Will I See You Again”
1975: Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)”
1976: The Real Thing - “You to Me Are Everything”
1977: Queen - “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy”
1978: The Jam - “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight”
1979: Ian Dury & The Blockheads - “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”
1980: Adam and the Ants - “Ant Music”
1981: The Human League - “Don’t You Want Me”
1982: Culture Club - “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”
1983: UB40 - “Red Red Wine”
1984: Wham! - “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
1985: Eurythmics - “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)”
1986: Pet Shop Boys - “West End Girls”
1987: Bee Gees - “You Win Again”
1988: Yazz And The Plastic Population - “The Only Way Is Up”
1989: Lisa Stansfield - “All Around the World”
1990: Sinéad O’Connor - “Nothing Compares 2 U”
1991: Seal - “Crazy”
1992: Stereo MCs - “Connected”
1993: New Order - “Regret”
1994: Blur - “Parklife”
1995: Take That - “Back for Good”
1996: Oasis - “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
1997: Spice Girls - “Wannabe”
1998: Manic Street Preachers - “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next”
1999: Ricky Martin - “Livin La Vida Loca”
2000: Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Spiller - “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)”
2001: Texas - “I Don’t Want a Lover”
2002: Status Quo - “Rockin’ All Over The World”
2003: The Darkness - “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”
2004: Michael Andrews Featuring Gary Jules - “Mad World”
Post modern bubble gum. Blondie on Japanese teen show Popteens in January 1978.
Way before they scored a hit in the States, Blondie were huge in Japan. They were the rock and roll version of Andy Warhol’s Campbell soup can, a distillation in one indelible image of something so American yet so universal. Pop!
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
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