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Debbie Harry is a singer and actress who became famous for leading the new wave band Blondie. Her blond hair and cool sexuality made her an instant music icon.
Debbie Harry - Pop vs. Punk (2:22)
Debbie Harry - Star Power (1:47)
Blondie - Full Biography (45:20)
Learn about the members of the band Blondie.
Debbie Harry's band Blondie was often advertised as a punk band but many of their sounds resembled pop music of the time.
Debbie Harry, the lead singer of the band Blondie, had a star power that transcended every facet of her life and career.
Blondie emerged from the burgeoning New York Punk and New Wave scene of the mid-70s to take the world by storm. Deborah Harry became the sexy and glamorous face of the band that scored hits with "Heart of Glass," and "Call Me."
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Born in Florida in 1945, Debbie Harry met guitarist Chris Stein in the 1970s, and the two started a band that would later become the world-famous group Blondie. Creating new wave, a type of rock music inspired by punk and other music styles, including reggae and funk, Blondie soon met with commercial and critical success. The band's third album, Parallel Lines, catapulted Harry to stardom, and the song "Heart of Glass" reached the top of the charts. With her white-blond hair, high cheekbones,
and full lips, Harry soon became a pop music icon, influencing many female singers to come.
Debbie Harry was born Deborah Ann Harry on July 1, 1945, in Miami, Florida, and was adopted by Richard and Catherine Harry when she was 3 months old. Growing up in Hawthorne, New Jersey, Harry sang in the church choir. She tried college for two years before dropping out and moving to New York City. Harry ended up waiting tables at Max's Kansas City, a popular club that was part of the downtown art and music scene.
Harry later joined the Stilettos, a female trio. She met guitarist Chris Stein, who became a member of the group. Over time, Stein and Harry became romantically involved. The two started their own band in 1974, which would eventually become the world-famous group Blondie. The new band played many of the legendary clubs in New York, including CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. Their music was considered to be new wave, a type of rock music inspired by punk and other music styles, including reggae, ska and funk.
Bondie's first self-titled album was released in 1976. The following year, the band toured in support of their second album, Plastic Letters, which scored the No. 2 spot on the British charts with the song "Denis."
Blondie's third album, Parallel Lines, helped catapult the band to pop music stardom. The song "Heart of Glass" reached the top of the U.S. charts in 1978. Harry was not only the lead vocalist for the group, she wrote many of the songs with Stein. With her white-blond hair, high cheekbones, and full lips, Harry soon became a pop music icon. At the time, she was one of the few female recording artists to rise to the top. Her cool, sexy style paved the way for later recording artists, such as Madonna.
Blondie continued to be successful with their next two albums Eat to the Beat (1979), which included "Dreaming" and "Atomic," and Autoamerican (1980), which featured "The Tide Is High" and "Rapture." Besides her work with the band, Harry found time to take on a few film roles, including in Union City (1980) and Videodrome (1983).
Blondie broke up in 1983. Around this time, Stein became ill with a rare skin disease. Harry took time out from her career to look after him.
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The DIY aspect of punk rock made it easier for a woman such as Siouxsie Sioux, Deborah Harry, Marianne Faithfull and Kim Deal to find a place in music. "That was the beuty of the punk thing," Chrissie Hynde later said. "[Sexual] discrimination didn't exist in that scene."
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