Sunday, June 15, 2008
Parallel Lines Turns 30!
Blondie made a big splash on the West Coast when they played a week of shows at the Whisky a Go Go in February of 1977, first on a bill with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and then opening the much-anticipated return of The Ramones on a big NYC punk rock weekend right after Valentine's Day.
They toured the world relentlessly supporting their eponymous debut album and their follow-up, Plastic Letters. With each tour, the fan support and fan base grew. After each jaunt to Europe, Blondie was even more adored in the USA.
Of course, people began to start equating the group name "Blondie" with its female singer, referring to Debbie as Blondie.
In the spring of 1978, the band toured the United States and had souvenirs proclaiming Blondie Is A Group! - buttons and t-shirts. A banner that was often seen hanging behind them on stages proclaimed Welcome Back Blondie in the same hot pink on black color scheme.
Blondie, while very much the brainchild of Chris Stein, was a group... and remains one to this day. The core of Debbie, Chris and drummer Clem Burke have been performing as Blondie to sold out crowds for a few years now, after a hiatus that gave us a few Debbie Harry solo albums, a few guest appearances/memberships in bands by Clem with the likes of artists like Eurhythmics, Chequered Past, Dramarama, The Ramones and The Romantics, to name a few (when he's not doing Blondie duties, Clem now plays with power pop masters Magic Christian which features former Flamin Groovies Cyril Jordan as well as Plimsouls' Eddie Munoz)... and of course, during their time off from Blondie, Chris Stein got his health back.
Did any of them or us know in 1978 that the record they were to release that fall - Parallel Lines would be the one to land them on mainstream pop charts, make them a very-much-in-demand concert attraction and get their faces and music on the likes of American Bandstand and other music television programs? Most of all, did anyone anywhere realize just how BIG Blondie would become?
Blondie did a lot for punk rock, power pop and independent music when they rose through the ranks of pop success... from covering songs by the likes of Nerves member, Jack Lee ("Hangin On The Telephone") to having The B Girls sing back up on a hit single ("The Tide is High") - but their position at the top of the pops was encouragement for bands and audiences alike.
Blondie is currently on tour celebrating 30 years of Parallel Lines and you should try to catch them if you can. Their official website has up to the minute tour dates and info!
In honor of this tour, Punk Turns 30's punkrockgiftshop.com is offering a very limited edition special on one of your favorite images of Debbie Harry and Blondie, printed on metallic paper. Please see the post below for more details.