10 of Blondie's best ever songs

29 June 2018, 18:04

Debbie Harry
Picture: PA

By Tom Eames

Blondie were one of the coolest and most successful bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Led by their charismatic frontwoman Debbie Harry, the group scored many hits, and are still touring to this day.

Here are Blondie's greatest songs ever, in no particular order...

  1. 'Denis'

    Originally titled 'Denise', this song was written by Neil Levenson about his childhood friend, Denise Lefrak. In 1963, it was a hit in the US for doo-wop group Randy & the Rainbows.

    In 1978, Blondie reworked it as 'Denis', and it became one of their breakthrough tracks. It featured a verse with improvised lyrics in French by Debbie Harry.

  2. 'Hanging on the Telephone'

    This track was first performed by writer Jack Lee's short-lived band The Nerves.

    Blondie released a cover version as the second track off their huge album Parallel Lines in 1978, and it gave them a top five hit in the UK.

  3. 'Heart of Glass'

    This song saw Blondie truly hit the mainstream, reaching number one in the UK in 1979.

    Taking on a disco vibe, this song was written as a slower track titled 'Once I Had a Love' a few years earlier. Harry later said it "was one of the first songs Blondie wrote, but it was years before we recorded it properly. We'd tried it as a ballad, as reggae, but it never quite worked", and that "the lyrics weren't about anyone. They were just a plaintive moan about lost love."

  4. 'Sunday Girl'

    This poppy new wave track reached number one in the UK in 1979.

    Written by Chris Stein, the band also released a French-language version at the time.

  5. 'One Way or Another'

    Written by Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison, this rock classic was inspired by one of Harry's ex-boyfriends who stalked her after their breakup.

    One Direction later scored a number one with a cover in 2013, as a mash-up with 'Teenage Kicks' by The Undertones.

  6. 'Call Me'

    This song was recorded as the main theme for the 1980 movie American Gigolo. It was written by Debbie Harry alongside electronic producer legend Giorgio Moroder.

    The lyrics were written from the perspective of the main character in the film, a male prostitute. Harry said the lyrics were inspired by her impressions from watching the film, and that "When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California."

  7. 'Atomic'

    A song of few words, but a number one hit for Blondie in 1980. Debbie Harry once said of the song’s lyrics: “A lot of the time I would write while the band were just playing the song and trying to figure it out. I would just be scatting along with them and I would just start going, ‘Ooooooh, your hair is beautiful’.”

    The word ‘atomic’ in the song apparently carries no fixed meaning and functions more as a signifier of power and futurism. 1970s model Gia Carangi appears briefly in the post-apocalyptic music video.

  8. 'The Tide is High'

    This was originally a 1996 track written by John Holt, performed by the Jamaican group The Paragons, with Holt as lead singer.

    Blondie covered the song in 1980 with a reggae feel, and it topped both the UK and US charts. Atomic Kitten later reached number one in the UK with a cover of their own.

  9. 'Rapture'

    This track featured elements of disco, electronica and early forms of hip-hop.

    While it was not the first single featuring rapping to be commercially successful, it was the first to top the US chart.

  10. 'Maria'

    After 17 years away, Blondie returned with a new album with 1999's No Exit.

    Its lead single saw them return to number one in the UK, their sixth in total.