Blondie: Eat To The Beat – US – CD – 
- The Hardest Part
- Union City Blue
- Eat To The Beat
- Accidents Never Happen
- Die Young Stay Pretty
- Slow Motion
- Living In The Real World
I was late to the Blondie train. Like many, I first heard them when “Heart Of Glass” took to the airwaves and entranced a nation. I first heard “Heart Of Glass” in 1978 while visiting relatives in South Carolina. This is important, because the song had not yet gotten to the Orlando airwaves where I had grown up. Alien as it may seem, things moved very slowly in America before the dawn of the 80s and MTV arrived on the scene. Records may build in one market and sweep slowly across the map… or not. The Charleston stations had jumped on that record in advance of the excruciatingly conservative overseers of Orlando’s airwaves. I was struck by the eeriness of the vocal, and how it had minor key verse structure in spite of being a disco song. Most disco did not roll this way! Even though I was burning out on disco by ’78, I mentally checked off the band for future reference. They had… something.
It was the next year when I fell hard for the band. By that time, I had jumped the Top 40 ship for FM Rock, and WDIZ-FM played a new album every night at midnight. When “Eat To The Beat” dropped, they played it in full and didn’t waste more than week or so before buying that album. I played it a lot. When Chrysalis released all of Blondie’s canon on the shiny silver discs in one fell swoop, I immediately bought this one since it was a favorite album that I could not wait to have on CD. By 1985, I’d swapped all of my Blondie LPs for CD trade value; confident that they would be releasing the compact discs soon – and I was right. At the same time, I also bought a CD of the followup album, “Autoamerican,” due to my historical antipathy towards that release, just to see if I had a different take on it at that time [but that’s another story].
The hyperactive power pop of “Dreaming” was the first single from this one and I was appalled as it barely scraped into the US Top 30 at a number 27 that did nothing to honor the song’s exuberant, almost giddy rush. The hyperkinetic drumming of Clem “Lord of the Fills” Burke pummeled this one along furiously while the vocals of Debbie Harry on lead and Ellie Greenwich on backing soared like birds overhead. I delighted whenever Debbie name-checked the preceding album’s “Fade Away And Radiate” in the lyric. This track, like several from the album, would be the last time that Blondie drew on the girl group traditions that had been a formative influence on their kitsch’n’synch aesthetic. I think that once the band moved fully away from that, they kind of lost their artistic moorings. Finally, I also love the energy that Chris Stein’s e-bow guitar adds to this one. It all hangs together tightly and fills me with hope and energy every time I listen to this single. Which, over the course of 37 years has been a prodigious amount!
The notion that Blondie were going to get very eclectic was unleashed with the next track. “The Hardest Part” was a funk rock number about knocking off an armored truck. I recall Blondie hosting The Midnight Special on TV at the time this album was released. The band did a curious blend of live performance, obvious lipsynch, and even a video was played from their ground breaking video album over the course of the evening. I also remember Robert Palmer on the show and a bit of Frippertronics from Robert Fripp himself; he being chummy with Blondie to the point of playing that solo on the aforementioned “Fade Away And Radiate” the previous year. I recall seeing the band perform this song [lipsync] on the show and there was a good reason why; the tune became the second single in North America, but nowhere else. The tune was never heard by me on the airwaves and barely made the Hot 100 at 84.
Next: …Bliss on demand