This morning, I was the the gym, as usual for a Monday. My wife and I had completed our workout and were in the process of having our stretch on the mats afterward. The gym’s sound system was set to a curiously timeless blend of hits, the oldest of which I recognized was Van Halen’s “Dance The Night Away;” the deceptively agreeable single from their almost completely worthless sophomore album. There were many songs which I did not recognize, and I supposed that they were radio hits from the last 25 or so years where I would not have had a clue.
Then another song that I did not know began playing. It had a good melody and was beginning to hook me in. The volume level of the sound system at the gym was loud enough to hear above the sound from the workout floor, but not so loud that one could easily hear the details of the lyrics; particularly in the echoey acoustics of the large room. As I listened I thought to myself “that sounds like Deborah Harry” when all of a sudden my wife said to me, out of the blue, “…now that song doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Do you know who that is?” I said to her. “That’s Deborah Harry!”
“Are you sure?” she questioned.
I countered with “I’m positive… I’ve just been listening to a lot of Blondie lately and that’s her phrasing.” While straining to hear the choral hook, it seemed like Ms. Harry might have been singing “Maria,” which I knew to be the single off of the 1999 Blondie reformation album “No Exit.” It was a record that I’ve never heard a note from until now.
I then mentioned that I thought the song was the single “Maria” from the reformation album I’d not heard. I mentioned to her that since reforming in the late 90s, the band had released several new albums; none of which reside in the Record Cell. I then said “after that traumatic experience” I was ill-inclined to pick any of them up!
The “traumatic experience” of which I speak of was a 1994 Deborah Harry show at an Orlando club called The Edge, where she did a track date concert that we both attended at least a good half year before we met and became a couple. It was an all-time worst musical experience from one of my favorites and a black mark on my wife’s concert going list as well. It was a track date show, where Ms. Harry sung to backing tapes like any up and coming disco dolly rather than the star she was. She seemed out of it and it was an embarrassment. As soon as I resolved to get out of that club right now, about a half hour into the horror, the lights suddenly came up and it was over! Insult to injury! I was not even able to leave with a shred of my dignity intact!
So with that sort of experience, I have been extremely Blondie-shy, and this has been the reason why. Years later, the reformed Blondie actually played a show in my city in August of 2004, and I had only seen a killer Debbie Harry solo gig from back in 1990 [thank goodness] and had never seen Blondie. Yet I still passed on this. But hearing this song, which was clearly beguiling, has opened me to the possibility of buying and finally hearing some of the modern Blondie records. Is this folly? Discuss below.
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