Plus One

The 11 best Blondie songs

Why have a Top Ten when you can have one more? As Blondie head out on tour with a slew of summer dates and festival slots, we rank their top tracks

Blondie is the name of the band. 

Co-founded by vocalist Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein in the mid 70s, Blondie helped put NYC’s new wave scene on the map. Known for their eclectic fusion of musical stylings and punchy live performances, Blondie fought their way from dive bars and sticky dancefloors to worldwide recognition in the space of just a few years.

Plus, Blondie gave us a new icon. Thrift store glamorous and wearing a platinum-bleached crown, Debbie Harry’s combination of Studio 54 disco kitten and don’t-f*ck-with-me New Jersey swagger still makes her one of the world’s most recognisable frontwomen. A 70s Marilyn Monroe wearing punk ankle boots, Harry is (and always will be) the epitome of cool.

Boasting 11 studio albums and a plethora of smash hit awesomeness, Blondie are back on tour in 2023. Here’s a little reminder of why you need to book tickets. Right now.

11. Maria

(No Exit, 1999)

Blondie’s first new release since 1982, this single was a smash hit that felt like it had been around for years – proof that after two decades the band still had its sh*t together. Harry’s sensual yet sassy vocals, the cathedral bells, new wave riffage… A glorious return to form.

10. The Tide Is High

(Autoamerican, 1980)

Originally recorded by rocksteady trio the Paragons, ‘The Tide Is High’ was covered by Blondie in 1980. A departure from their signature new wave sensibilities, this reggae style anthem boasted plinky percussion, a swaying brass track, and glorious backing vocals. Also worth watching the video for the odd Darth Vader-esque cameo.

9. One Way Or Another

(Parallel Lines, 1978)

‘One Way Or Another’ is a track that truly brings Harry’s talent to the fore. Insanely catchy and powerfully aggressive (the song was inspired by a stalking incident she experienced during the early 70s), it’s Harry’s snarled ‘getcha getcha getcha’s’ alongside the scuzzy guitar licks that give this song its edge. Plus the ending is wild.

8. Denis

(Plastic Letters, 1978)

From the bobby-sox jukebox opening to the bouncy vocals and jangly guitars, Blondie’s 1978 cover of ‘Denis’ (or ‘Denise’) by doo-wop group Randy & The Rainbows is sweeter than cherry pie. The whole thing is over in the time it takes to make a cuppa, but it’s guaranteed to always put a smile on your face (if you aren’t already humming along with the ‘doobie-doo’s).

7. Union City Blue

(Eat To The Beat, 1979)

Co-written by Harry and bassist Nigel Harrison, ‘Union City Blue’ features on Blondie’s 1979 album Eat To The Beat. With lyrics drawn from Harry’s New Jersey upbringing, the track’s tragi-sweet vocal melody combined with Stein’s soft rock riffing makes this track one of Blondie’s best-loved live tracks. Also, Debs’ dancing in the video is nothing short of spectacular.

6. Dreaming

(Eat To The Beat, 1979)

Isn’t it nice when drummers are given the limelight? 1979 single ‘Dreaming’, aside from being a floaty piece of new wave chicanery, features a frantic yet mesmerising drum performance from Clem Burke – who, apparently, didn’t know that his ‘run through’ take would be used on the final track. It’s also said that ‘Dreaming’ was inspired by ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. What else?

5. Rapture

(Autoamerican, 1980)

Ok, so while Harry might not be the most naturally gifted rapper in the world, one thing ‘Rapture’ did teach us was that Blondie could 100 per cent read the room. After being taken to a rap battle event in the Bronx by friend Fab 5 Freddy Brathwaite in 1978, both Harry and Stein were blown away by the skill of the MCs. Following that, ‘Rapture’ was born, fusing new wave, disco and hip hop together in an hypnotic homage to a scene that was starting to make its presence truly felt in the music industry. Plus, Jean-Michel Basquiat makes a cameo in the video which is all kinds of wonderful.

4. Hanging On The Telephone

(Parallel Lines, 1978)

Originally written by Jack Lee for his band The Nerves in 1976, ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ was re-recorded by Blondie in 1978 and featured on Parallel Lines. Featuring the tell-tale ringtone opener and Harry’s fast-paced and urgent vocals, this could be called one of Blondie’s rockier, heavier tracks with its double backbeat drumming pattern and catchy riffs. Stick it on next time you’re putting the hoover round and you won’t be disappointed.

3. Call Me

(Autoamerican, 1980)

Composed by Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder and featuring Harry’s punchy lyrics, ‘Call Me’ was written as the main theme for 1980 flick American Gigolo and went on to become one of Blondie’s biggest singles – the irony being that aside from Harry, none of the band actually feature on the main recording because Moroder decided that session musicians sounded tighter. That being said, this glammed-up jam celebrates Blondie’s ability to move fluidly between genres, plus Harry’s european lyrical yippings are a super fun addition.

2. Atomic

(Eat To The Beat, 1979)

That unmistakable guitar riff. Harry’s climactic vocals. The plethora of musical bit-parts. ‘Atomic’ is probably one of Blondie’s strangest yet most accomplished tracks to date. It twists, it turns, it spirals skywards with no rhyme or reason, yet everything is glued together by the stomp of that guitar line. All of this glorious and gutsy meandering makes ‘Atomic’ an undeniable slice of 70s cool, plus when Harry lets out that soaring vocal key change on ‘toniiiii-iiiiii-iiiight’? Complete arm-raised dance floor euphoria. 

1. Heart Of Glass

(Parallel Lines, 1978)

Initially recorded as a demo entitled ‘Once I Had A Love’ in 1975, ‘Heart of Glass’ was actually one of the first songs Blondie ever wrote, but without a clear vision of how they wanted it to sound, it took another few years for it to be recorded properly. Featuring on 1978’s Parallel Lines, the track’s distinctive double-tracked bass drum intro together with Harry’s high-stacked vocal cements ‘Heart of Glass’ as the jewel in Blondie’s crown. The irony that their greatest song is an out-and-out disco banger (a brave move for a band who were famously part of the disco-hating NY punk and new wave scene…) gives ‘Heart of Glass’ extra clout. Also it’s just really, really awesome to dance to.

Blondie is playing the Isle of Wight and Lytham festivals as well as Iggy Pop’s Dog Day Afternoon event, and will also be headlining summer dates in Cardiff and Scarborough. Find Blondie tickets here.