Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

It was august 25th 1975. Another pivotal night at CBGB’s. As the NYC scene (latterly marketed as punk) gradually took shape. Richard Hell’s Blank Generation joined ex-Doll Johnny Thunders’ Chinese Rocks in The Heartbreakers’ set. David Byrne’s Talking Heads featured Psycho Killer in their 16th CBGB appearance in ten weeks, and Blondie kicked off the night with a romp through Martha Reeves’ Heat Wave and the rest they say is history.

CBGB’s The storefront and large space next door to the club served as the “CBGB Record Canteen” (record shop and café) for many years. In the late eighties, the record store was closed and replaced with a second performance space and art gallery, named “CB’s 313 Gallery” The gallery went on to showcase many popular bands and singer-songwriters who played in a musical style more akin to acoustic, rock, folk, jazz,
or experimental music, such as Dadadah and Toshi Reagon, while the original club continued to present mainly hardcore bands and post-punk, metal, and alternative rock acts.

Here are some interesting trivia facts about Blondie/Debra Harry.

Blondie originally, they had two back-up singers known only as “Jackie,” “Julie,” “Tish,” and “Snooky” which they later shed.

Blondie’s formation came from the fruitful New York neighborhood around CBGB in the 1970s, and so shared new-wave and punk roots with Patti Smith (briefly sharing guitarist Ivan Kral), Ramones, New York Dolls, and the Talking Heads.

At the beginning of Blondie’s success in 1977, producer Mike Chapman took the band under his wing. Chapman was quite experienced with punk-type female leads – he had previously worked with Suzi Quatro. With the smash-hit single “Heart Of Glass,” the group had established themselves as a consumer-friendly pop-new-wave alternative band, with just enough of a punk tinge to be edgy. Under Chapman’s care, the album Parallel Lines became their breakout success, selling 20 million copies worldwide.

Debbie Harry has said that Marilyn Monroe was an influence on her style; however, her main intention was to invoke being blonde by itself, since it is associated with glamour, success, and desire.

A number of pressures led to the breakup of Blondie by 1982. The media focused on Harry to the point where the rest of the group felt like they didn’t exist (think No Doubt). Their popularity was starting to wane and they weren’t seeing the money they were used to. Morale was low and bickering broke out.

Blondie briefly re-formed in the late 1990s to early 2000s, and again in the late 2000s, with the original members Harry, Stein, and Burke. In 2008, they toured with Pat Benatar.

Debbie Harry was a Playboy bunny at the New York City Playboy Club from 1968-1973.

Chris Stein briefly played guitar in the 1960s in the short-lived garage band The Morticians, which later became the Baroque Pop quartet The Left Banke.

Harry suggested the name Blondie, inspired by the catcalls from men after she bleached her hair.

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were in a serious relationship for many years. They broke up on the same day their friend and fan Andy Warhol died: February 22, 1987.

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