Before Blondie, punk and disco were enemies, pop and reggae were strangers and rock and hip-hop were at war. Through groundbreaking songs, Blondie changed all that and the band's influence on generations of artists that followed is undeniable. They were the first group to emerge from New York's new wave/punk renaissance with an album (1976's Blondie), the first to chart a #1 single, a revolutionary blend of punk and disco ("Heart of Glass") and the first to top the charts with both a rap song (1981's "Rapture") and a reggae tune ("The Tide is High").
The original Blondie was formed in 1974 by art student/guitarist Chris Stein and ex-folkie and ex-Max's Kansas City waitress, vocalist/songwriter Deborah Harry. Drummer Clem Burke and keyboard player Jimmy Destri joined in 1975. The band played the fabled New York downtown circuit of CBGB's, Max's Kansas City and Mothers, amassing a major following before recording a series of well received '70s albums including Blondie (1976), Plastic Letters (1978), Parallel Lines (1978) and Eat to the Beat (1979).
Blondie kicked off the '80s with Autoamerican, their fifth full-length effort and third in a row with British producer Mike Chapman. A radical departure from previous efforts, the soundtrack-esque Autoamerican found Blondie placing the emphasis as much on experimentation as style for the first time. Ambition and success coalesced with the aforementioned polar opposite #1 singles "The Tide Is High" and "Rapture."