Rarities, oddities, and other fun stuff

Out Of The Vault: Blondie – July 14, 2013

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Photo: Mark Weiss

Playing The Santa Fe Opera House with X on 9/23 - Debbie Harry's birthday on July 11

Blondie is an American rock band founded by singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid-1970s. Their first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles, including "Call Me", "Atomic" and "Heart of Glass" and became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, rap, and reggae, while retaining a basic style as a new wave band.  Blondie broke up after the release of their sixth studio album “The Hunter” in 1982. Deborah Harry continued to pursue a solo career with varied results after taking a few years off to care for partner Chris Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin.

The band reformed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with "Maria" in 1999. The group toured and performed throughout the world during the following years, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Blondie has sold 40 million records worldwide and is still active today. Their ninth studio album, Panic of Girls, was released in 2011.

Blondie –THEME FROM “A SUMMER PLACE” (THEME) - "Theme from A Summer Place" is a song with lyrics by Mack Discant and music by Max Steiner, written for the 1959 film “A Summer Place”, which starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. It was recorded for the film by Hugo Winterhalter. Originally known as the "Molly and Johnny Theme", the piece is not the main title theme of the film, but a love theme for the characters played by Dee and Donahue.  Percy Faith recorded the most popular version of the tune, in the Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City, which spent an at-the-time record of nine consecutive weeks at number one on the still-young Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in early 1960. It remains the longest-running number-one instrumental in the history of the chart.  The band used this as an opening number on early tours.  Recorded in Boston, 11/4/78.

Blondie – X-OFFENDER - "X Offender" is the debut song by band Blondie. Written by Gary Valentine and Debbie Harry for the band's self-titled debut album, “Blondie”, the song was released as the album's lead single on Private Stock in June 1976.  The title of the song was originally "Sex Offender". Bassist Gary Valentine originally wrote the song about an 18-year-old boy being arrested for having sex with his younger girlfriend. Debbie Harry changed the lyrics so that the song was about a prostitute being attracted to the police officer that had arrested her. The track was co-produced by Richard Gottehrer who had worked with 1960s girl group The Angels, and the song is reminiscent of that era in its style.  Private Stock insisted that the name of the single be changed to "X Offender" because they were nervous about the original title.

Blondie – DENIS - "Denise" is a 1963 hit by the American doo wop group Randy & the Rainbows.  "Denis" was a 1977 gender-swapping cover of the song by Blondie. The cover of the song helped the band break into the international market. It featured on the band's second studio album, Plastic Letters (1978), and was the second UK single release by Blondie on Chrysalis records.

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Blondie – I’M GONNA LOVE YOU TOO - "I'm Gonna Love You Too" is a song written by Joe B. Mauldin, Niki Sullivan and Norman Petty, originally recorded by Buddy Holly in 1957.  It was recorded 20 years later by American New Wave band Blondie and released as the first single in the U.S. from their multi-platinum 1978 album “Parallel Lines”.  There is controversy about the authorship of the song. Jerry Allison has stated that Buddy Holly was the actual author of the song. William Ruhlmann[2] noted:  “The song is credited to Joe B. Mauldin, Holly's bass player; Norman Petty, his producer; and Nikki Sullivan, his sometime rhythm guitarist (who was not heard on the recording). There have long been questions about the songwriting credits assigned to the original songs Holly recorded, and Jerry Allison, his drummer, has gone on record stating that "I'm Gonna Love You Too" actually was written primarily by Holly, with Allison composing the bridge. Certainly the song sounds characteristic of the man who wrote "That'll Be the Day." It is another up-tempo number with an infectious tune and boastful lyrics that only thinly veil heartbreak.”  Of the song's credited authors, two (Mauldin and Sullivan) were members of Holly's band The Crickets; the third, Petty, was Holly's first manager and also his recording engineer.  Holly included the song on his self-titled second album, Buddy Holly. It was released as a single on Coral Records but failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100.

Blondie – (I’M ALWAYS TOUCHED BY YOUR) PRESENCE, DEAR - "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear" is a song from the 1977 album Plastic Letters by Blondie, and was the second single off that album, following up the international breakthrough single "Denis", reaching number 10 in the UK in May 1978. It was never released as a single in the US.  It was written by former bass player Gary Valentine, for his then girlfriend Lisa Jane Persky before his departure from the band. Valentine had also written the band's first single, "X-Offender".

Blondie – MARIA - "Maria" is a song by Blondie, taken from their 1999 album “No Exit”. This song was Blondie's comeback single, their first since "War Child" in July 1982. In the UK, it was the band's sixth no. 1 single, topping the charts exactly 20 years after their first UK number one "Heart of Glass" in the spring of 1979. The song was written by the band's keyboardist Jimmy Destri, who had also penned some of their earlier hits such as "Atomic". In the US, the single reached number 14 on the Adult Top 40 listing, although it stalled at a disappointing #82 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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Blondie – 11:59 – Written by Jimmy Destri.  Originally recorded on Parallel Lines, the third studio album by American new wave band Blondie, released in 1978 by Chrysalis Records.  This version is taken from “Picture This Live’, 1998.  Recorded live in Dallas, TX, 1980.

Blondie – DETROIT 442 – Written by Jimmy Destri and Chris Stein.  A bonus track from the “Plastic Letters” reissue, 2001.  Recorded live 11/6/78 at the Walnut Street Theater, Philadelphia, PA, from a radio concert.

Blondie – RING OF FIRE – Written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore, and first recorded by Johnny Cash in 1963.  This version was recorded for the soundtrack of the movie “Roadie”.  Recorded live circa 1979, location unknown.

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Blondie – HANGING ON THE TELEPHONE - "Hanging on the Telephone" is a song written by Jack Lee and first performed by Lee's short-lived US West Coast power pop trio The Nerves, who placed it as the lead-off track on their 1976 EP, the band's only release. New wave band Blondie popularized the song when it was released as the second single off Parallel Lines in both the U.S. and the UK, eventually reaching number 5 in the UK in November 1978 as well as inspiring other cover versions. This version is taken from “Picture This Live’, 1998.  Recorded live in Dallas, TX, 1980.

Blondie – LOUIE LOUIE - "Louie Louie" is an American rock 'n' roll song written by Richard Berry in 1955 and best known for the 1963 hit version by The Kingsmen. It has become a standard in pop and rock, with hundreds of versions recorded by different artists. The song was originally written and performed in the style of a Jamaican ballad. It tells, in simple verse–chorus form, the first-person story of a Jamaican sailor returning to the island to see his lady love.  The Kingsmen's edition was the subject of an FBI investigation about the supposed but non-existent obscenity of the lyrics, an investigation that ended without prosecution. "Louie Louie" has been recognized by organizations and publications worldwide for its influence on the history of rock and roll. A partial list (see "Recognition and rankings" table below) includes the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, National Public Radio, VH1, Rolling Stone Magazine, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Recording Industry Association of America. In addition to new versions appearing regularly on YouTube and elsewhere, other major examples of the song's legacy include the unsuccessful 1985 attempt to make it the state song of Washington, the celebration of International Louie Louie Day every year on April 11, the (now cancelled) annual Louie Louie Parade in Philadelphia, the annual LouieFest in Tacoma, and the annual Louie Louie Parade and Festival in Peoria.  Recorded live in London, circa 1979.

Blondie – BANG A GONG (GET IT ON) - "Get It On" is a song by the British glam rock group T. Rex, featured on their 1971 album Electric Warrior. Written by frontman Marc Bolan, "Get It On" was the second chart-topper for T. Rex on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, the song was retitled "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to avoid confusion with a number of the same name by the group Chase.  Bolan claimed to have written the song out of his desire to record Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie", and said that the riff is taken from the Berry song. In fact, a line (And meanwhile, I'm still thinking) of "Little Queenie" is said at the fade of "Get It On".  During a December 1971 Top of the Pops performance, Elton John mimed a piano on the song.  The track was recorded at Trident Studios, London and the piano glissando on the record was performed by Rick Wakeman. Wakeman, who was desperate for work at the time to pay his rent, had bumped into Bolan in Oxford Street, who offered him the session. Wakeman pointed out to Tony Visconti that the record did not actually need a piano player. Visconti suggested that he could add a gliss; Wakeman said that Visconti could do that, to which Bolan replied, "you want your rent, don't you?" Wakeman did and earned £9 for his efforts. Grand piano was played by Blue Weaver and saxophones by Ian McDonald of King Crimson. Producer Visconti later recalled: "He played all the saxes, one baritone and two altos. I kept the baritone separate but bounced the altos to one track. I bounced the backup vocals to two tracks, making an interesting stereo image." Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of The Turtles (later known as Flo & Eddie, and later still as members Mothers of Invention) fame provided back up vocals on the song.  Taken from the Blondie CD compilation “Blonde and Beyond”, 1993.  Recorded live in Boston, 11/4/78.

Blondie – MOONLIGHT DRIVE - "Moonlight Drive" is a song from The Doors' second album, Strange Days. Although it was only a B-side (of "Love Me Two Times"), it is a favorite in The Doors canon. Though a conventional blues arrangement, "Moonlight Drive"'s defining feature was its slightly off-beat rhythm and, more significantly, Robby Krieger's 'Bottle-neck' guitar which creates an eerie sound.  The song is known to fans as being one of the first written by lead singer Jim Morrison. According to the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, Morrison wrote it (as "Moonlight Ride") during his halcyon days on a rooftop in Venice Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles, California in 1965. Later on, when he happened upon friend and soon-to-be fellow band member Ray Manzarek, he uttered the memorable lines, "Let's swim to the moon, let's climb through the tide, penetrate the evening that the city sleeps to hide." Reportedly Manzarek was immediately awestruck, and they decided at that moment to form a band; Morrison already had a name picked out: The Doors.  Recorded live circa 1976, location unknown.

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Blondie – I FEEL GOOD - "I Got You (I Feel Good)" is a song by James Brown. Recorded and released as a single in 1965, it was his highest charting song and is arguably his most widely known recording.  "I Got You (I Feel Good)" is a twelve-bar blues with a brass-heavy instrumental arrangement similar to Brown's previous hit, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag". It also features the same emphasis "on the one" (i.e. the first beat of the measure) that characterizes Brown's developing funk style. The lyrics have Brown exulting in how good he feels ("nice, like sugar and spice") now that he has the one he loves, his vocals punctuated by screams and shouts. The song includes an alto sax solo by Maceo Parker.  Recorded live in London, circa 1979.  Location unknown.