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 their well received first album Blondie in 1976 for the Private Stock label.
1978 follow-up and first for the Chrysalis label, Plastic Letters unveiled the diversity the group is famous for with 13-tracks that run the musical gamut including gender-swapping breakthrough cover "Denis," power pop love song "(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear," progressive rocker "Cautious Lip," and humorous expose "I'm on E." On their second outing, Blondie achieved a notable broadening of their vision; a sharp development of compositional, vocal and instrumental skills; a new authority in their delivery; and opened up some important new musical avenues along the way.