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As part of the 'class of 77', Blondie, along with The Damned, have often been seen as 'traitors' by champions of the punk movement. Deborah Harry's angry scowl first heard on 'Rip Her to Shreds' soon turned into a sultry pout and provocative smile as she harnessed the popularity of disco and the band moved to a slicker, more polished sound.
'Parallel Lines', Blondie's third album, is almost universally lauded as their best record. It's a sentiment I share. While there isn't much of an overarching theme in terms of the album's content, other than having fun, it is a great album in the sense of being stuffed full of great singles. As the sole girl in a band full of guys, lead singer Deborah Harry will always be the group's talisman and most easily identifiable member. It's also the platform she used to broaden her style and become a superstar. With an opening salvo of 'Hangin' on the Telephone' and keeping up the tempo on 'One Way or Another', it's a record that hits the ground running. 'One Way...' has long been a favourite of mine, with Harry's snarling yet alluring vocals
clashing superbly with the spiky guitar chords. One wonders whether she's out for revenge, lust, or both. It's unusually structured as well, highlighting their ability to keep arrangements spicy and fresh.
The band show their eclecticism and broad influences throughout. 'Picture This' and 'Sunday Girl' are nuggets of pop perfection, with Harry showing a more innocent side than one might have previously thought her capable. 'Fade Away and Radiate' is haunting, the title coming from a line in their previous hit single 'Dreaming'. Disco beats pervade on 'Heart of Glass', which has aged remarkably well considering it is very much of an era.
They don't forget their snotty side either. Closer 'Just Go Away' is a right bitch-fest with an Oi style chorus, and it does come across as all a bit playground cat-fight, which I find a bit tiresome. The sheer gift for melody they show throughout more than makes up for it. It's a record that is barbed with hooks, but shining with its pop sensibilities. Their sassy attitude pervades without becoming grating (for the most part), and it is well-produced too. It's also apt to raise a toast to Blondie' unsung hero, drummer Clem Burke. His ability behind the drumkit is one of flexible adaptability, and of understated professionalism. Clearly a whizz with the sticks, he doesn't let his ego ruin the record and can turn his hand to any style and pepper a track with fills and shuffles that one wouldn't expect to find in there. The USP of Blondie was always going to be Debbie Harry, and he was smart enough to know it. Phil Collins eat your heart out.
This is lauded as Blondie's best studio effort, and rightly so. All killer and no filler (unless you're referring to the dance floor), it's stood the test of time as a post-punk/New Wave/indie oh what the hell it's just damn good pop music. Perfect for brightening up this current slump of cruddy weather.
Parallel Lines was the third album released by Blondie in late 1978 on Chrysalis records and reached number one in the UK album chart in February 1979. It has been released and reissued on numerous occasions since, the latest being a deluxe collectors edition released in 2008. Parallel Lines is arguably the best album the band ever released and one which I consider to be a classic of the period. There were four tracks from this album that were originally released as singles. 'Picture This' was the first less successful release but 'Hanging on the Telephone', 'Heart of Glass' and 'Sunday Girl' were major hits for the band, the latter two reaching number 1 in the UK charts.
Former waitress and Playboy bunny Debbie Harry had to wait a long time before achieving success as a singer. She originally began singing in the late 1960s in a folk-rock outfit called 'The Wind in the Willows' before joining a rock band called 'The Stilettos' where she was to meet her long time future partner Chris Stein. Stein and Harry formed Blondie in 1975 and were joined by fellow band members on this album Clement Burke (drummer) and Jimmy Destri (keyboard). The band was originally named 'Angel and the Snake' but changed their name to Blondie in late 1975 - some say after Hitler's German Shepherd dog 'Blondi'. This however may have more to do with punk propaganda of the time and it's more likely that the band's title is simply derived from a nickname given to the bleach-blonde lead singer.
Parallel Lines benefited greatly from Mike Chapman's production and expert ear for a catchy melody. Chapmen had previously had experience co-writing a number of songs for British glam rock artists such as The Sweet and Mud and was able to pick out songs from the Stein and Harry back-catalogue. There were however, plenty of contributions from other band members and outsiders, in particular songwriter Jack Lee, who was responsible for the opening classic track 'Hanging On The Telephone' - a cover of a 1976 song by Lee's band 'The Nerves'. Another significant contribution came from prog rock guitarist Robert Fripp who had only recently finished working on the David Bowie 'Heroes' album. His input can be heard on the haunting slow ballad 'Fade Away and Radiate'.
Although Blondie's music is rooted in the New York punk scene of the mid 1970s they became a quintessential part of New Wave music of the late 1970s early 1980s and Parallel Lines defines the moment of that transition. The album might be considered a post-punk album of pop-oriented material infused with an eclectic range of musical genres. The songs very much fit the New Wave genre possessing elements of electronic music, disco, and funk all fuelled with a 60s revamped rock/pop sound. The album can also be linked with the mod/ska revival circa 1979 and this is symbolised by the two-tone album cover. Remnants of punk can be detected in the frantic vocals of the opening track 'Hanging on the Telephone' as well as in the aggressive rock sound of 'One Way or Another', the fast paced 'I'm Gonna love You Too' and the dramatic upbeat eighth track 'Will Anything Happen?'.
Many of the tracks take the form of short and sweet infectious pop songs - the prime example being 'Sunday Girl' with its beguiling melody and Harry's captivating vocal (the title of this review is derived from the lyrics of this song in case you're wondering). Some of the lighter pop compositions incorporate 60s influenced multilayered vocal harmonies - none more so than on the catchy 'Pretty Baby' with its spoken introduction reminiscent of the Shangri-Las. The first use of a reggae beat by the band can be heard on the finale of 'Fade Away and Radiate'. A hint of reggae can also be detected on 'Heart of Glass' - originally a rock song but transformed into what became the classic disco track that has been reissued and remixed much to it's detriment ever since. The original recording remains the best in my opinion with the famous guitar riffs imitating those used by the 70s disco/R&B band Chic and, according to Clem Burke, a drum beat derived from the Bee Gee's groove on "Stayin' Alive" combined with a Kraftwerk-like use of a drum machine. The unique swirling synth sound was down to keyboardist Jimmy Destri who was able to master the relatively new electronic keyboard technology of the period. The instrumental arrangements are enhanced further by Deborah Harry's unforgettable sugar coated vocal.
I'm hard pushed to pinpoint a weakness on this album. The sixth track 'I Know But I Don't Know' is my least favourite and relies more heavily on what I consider to be an American Rock based sound - it's perhaps the nearest to what might be described as 'filler material', but at least it divides what are my two favourite tracks: '11.59' with its frenetic percussion, cheery organ and uplifting liberating lyric, and the addictively tuneful 'Pretty Baby'. Both these tracks along with the beautifully rendered 'Picture This' - one of the less animated and more pop-orientated tracks - exemplify the quality song writing on this album
Parallel Lines was a defining moment in the post-punk New Wave period; its genre-defying timeless appeal and iconic imagery paved the way for many new artists, particularly female singers (I won't mention the obvious), throughout the subsequent decades. For me the tracks on this album still have a freshness and vibrancy that makes them sound contemporary even though they were produced more than thirty years ago.
1. Fade Away & Radiate
2. Hanging On The Telephone
3. One Way Or Another
4. Picture This
5. Pretty Baby
6. I Know But I Don't Know
8. Will Anything Happen
9. Sunday Girl
10. Heart Of Glass
11. I'm Gonna Love You Too
12. Just Go Away
Remastered CD available from £3.98 on Amazon
I bought this album purely on the strength of a dance tune that I heard in a club I danced in as they had sampled some of the vocals and opening bars and the voice was so hauntingly beautiful that I wanted to hear the original.
The song they had sampled was Heart of Glass which has a wonderful almost ghostly quality to the vocals.
Blondie were a very popular band in the late seventies and ealy eighties and were frinted by the blond haired lead singer Debbie Harry. The and hailed from the New York new wave scene.
Track List and record timings (sourced from Wikipedia)
"Hanging on the Telephone" (Jack Lee) - 2:17
"One Way or Another" (Nigel Harrison, Deborah Harry) - 3:31
"Picture This" (Destri, Harry, Stein) - 2:53
"Fade Away and Radiate" (Stein) - 3:57
"Pretty Baby" (Harry, Stein) - 3:16
"I Know But I Don't Know" (Frank Infante) - 3:53
"11:59" (Destri) - 3:19
"Will Anything Happen" (Jack Lee) - 2:55
"Sunday Girl" (Stein) - 3:01
"Heart of Glass" (Harry, Stein) - 3:52 (later editions 12" Disco Mix - 5:50)
"I'm Gonna Love You Too" (Joe B. Mauldin, Norman Petty, Niki Sullivan) - 2:03
"Just Go Away" (Harry) - 3:21
As well as Heart of Glass I also really like Sunday Girl which has an upbeat tune and slightly dark lyrics and One Way or Another which is a moody brooding song which focuses on gaining revenge on a former lover.
I like the faily simple style of this band and the rich voice that Harry gives to the songs, it feels strange liking something your parents listend to and if it was not for a dance track I would have never heard of them, funny thing is I have no idea who did the dance track indeed it may just have been the club DJ doing the mixing, I never actually asked him.
The sultry, well defined cheek boned face of a young Miss Deborah Harry is probably not difficult to imagine as once the pretty face of a playboy bunny girl. The low but cheeky voice of the female lead of Blondie formed the band with her boyfriend way back in 1974 in New York. After a mixed line up change every so often and a couple of uninteresting singles, they finally hit Britain with Heart Of Glass taken from the album Parallel Lines.
Frank Infante, a guitarist, later rhythm guitarist joined the band in Autumn 1977 after the release of the first Blondie album at Christmas 1976, simply titled, Blondie. It was this album that failed to make the charts although a new song featured was Ripe Her To Shreds, a song that was later made known to growing fans in other albums as well as live sets. Nigel Harrison joined very shortly after Frank in November 1977. It was then that Frank switched to rhythm guitar and Nigel took bass. With Chris Stein, Debbies boyfriend on guitar, Clem Burke on drums and Jimmy Destri on keyboards, the line up was complete and there, they stayed until the bands first split in 1982.
A punk outfit at first with a splash of sixties fizzy pink girlie pop, Miss Harry, a severely bleached throw back to the later years of Marilyn Monroe, she was the perfect punk goddess to stand amongst the moppy haired, young suited and booted boys. Surprisingly American, they had always come across severely British. The cover for Parallel Lines, a design thought from their manager, Peter Leeds and photographed by Edo was to Miss Harrys disgust. She hated the shot and immediately said that it looked flat. It was, however, to become an iconic view of the band. The sharpness of the black and white, bold stripes behind the black suited band and Debbie in a white dress and shoes denoted the new wave feel that the music held within. For 1978, it was design ahead of its time and a style that was soon adapted to the up and coming Ska movement of that time. Blondie, were very much the fore runners for a new type of sound. It is within this album, that the listener can generate the music tastes that were going to happen in the near future. Very much a Blondie album, it experimented with different music genres that were big in the late seventies. The examples of this are, Heart Of Glass, a fusion of disco and glam to suit the diverse vocals of Harry. Hanging On The Telephone is pure Blondie punk, although not their own song, it was originally the product of a band called The Nerves, even so this very immature, sweaty sound of hard thumping, microphone stand shaking new wave might as well have been natural to Blondie as throughout this album, they adapt gracefully to each and every style.
This entirely, timeless classic album is still admired by fellow musicians to day as being one of the most influential and inspiring of the era. Along with its striking sleeve, it contains a small piece about the making of the album and the first meeting with Blondie by album producer Mike Chapman. He recalls in the appraisable and touching account his incredible nervousness on his first encounter with Stein and Harry. Being called in to produce, he had only become a big name from producing glam and glitter rock albums and was not prepared for a futuristic punk rock band with an attitude. He tells of the tensions with the recording, how arguments would occur and yet the genius of the creative writing capabilities between Harrison, Harry and Stein.
With an insight into the stresses of a recording band hard at work and the dramatic force of the cover, we are eager to sample the strengths of the album, and hope not to encounter any weaknesses. We discover there are nine tracks on the album that have been written collaborations between band members. It was an up and fast moving idea to be a songwriter as well as a singer. Since the decade of serial covers that was the sixties, the seventies stole the show by almost everything being original. Having to keep up with the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zep and Clapton who were imaginative to the extreme, a band without the sensitively, multi talented musicians that these other bands had, was a hard job.
Track one, our opening and already mentioned track, Hanging On The Telephone, starts with a phone ringing and Harrys vocal quickly enters before the band has a chance to start playing. Mixing sixties style keyboards, it also uses a bridge of Mersey beat drum and cymbal tapping to give a fundamental British edge. A track that was very of the punk generation. Full bodied and mostly untuneful, it involves a lot of fast lyrics. All in all, I feel the need to dig out my winkle pickers and drain pipes rather than don a pink Mohican. This was in itself, the very idea of new wave. For those of you unfamiliar with this fairly dead genre, it literally was a amalgamation of punk and pop It did take on a different form after the age of Blondie and took hold of The Police, but they became so big that they became a music genre all on their own. For this track, it was a definitive introduction to new wave. It had meaningless lyrics, that could never be so deep they could be analysed to any great length. A noise rush of guitars, none actually playing a tune and a lot of lighter than light drums with very little bass. A track that on the whole, could only have any meaning to the listeners who remembered it the first time around. The new wave sound was short lived and eventually breathed it last fast and frantic puff of life around the early to mid eighties by the likes of Duran Duran, but by this time, it had been so commercially watered down, it had become practically unrecognisable. For Hanging On The Telephone, it took only around five years for this track to sound incredibly dated. Released in mid November 1978, it managed a sturdy number five and stayed around for 12 weeks.
One Way Or Another, and only recently brought to life again by a slimming advert where we are subjected to a handful of girls trying desperately to get into tight jeans puts me in mind to when this track came out anyway. The advert, it would seem was very close the truth. There were millions of girls and guys fighting and sweating hard to get into the tightest jeans possible without causing internal damage. With its grungy guitar riff and basic drum accompliment, its gives a steady background to the catchy, yet simple lyrics of the song, one way or another, Im gonna get ya, Im gonna get ya, get, ya, get ya, get ya . not too hard to pick up, in fact I think it took only two plays of this record to get the lyrics from beginning to end. Again, a pointless new wave lyric and dull, dirty sound of a repeated riff. Totally devoured of meaning and thought, it was the right kind of sound to keep us twiddling our thumbs whilst the punk era drew to a close and the eighties new romanticism began. It was, if you like the perfect bridge, and with snappy, plain records like this to keep us going, there were very few that were likely to complain.
Picture This, was a slower, more tuneful track that calmed the pace down on the track and comes as a little light relief. It enlightened us with backing vocals to give it some thought, and speaking of thought, some had actually gone into the lyrics this time. It has a bubble gum theme, all Cindy dolls and seven inch record players on the floor with a stack of records dropping at the end of each. Its dreamy as far as Blondie could ever dare to be so, but today, it seems flat and un adventurous. Harrys vocal sounds tired, almost as if she cant wait to get the track over and done with. Strangely it reached number twelve over here and hang around for eleven weeks. It was Tracey Ullman before Tracey Ullman started making records
Fade Away And Radiate was written by Harrys other half, Chris Stein. We wonder what on Earth had been on television or put in his tea when he wrote this. With its opening more morgues and depressing than a Celine Dion B side, it reminds me of Stereotype by The Specials, which had not been their finest moment. Like Joan Of Arc being led to the stake, it punctures our ear drums with military drums before we feel the urge to turn it off, Harrys voice sounds like it has had surgery, it comes across as soft and unconvincing. Stein, possibly has a crack at a guitar solo, but thankfully that fades away very quickly. With misbeated drums and wobbly backing, we really rather hope that this track would fade away soon. Robert Fripp guests on this track playing guitar.
We wonder, actually what this genre this was aiming for at the time of writing. It is quite depressing, and even the touch of early UB40 reggae doesnt do enough to lift this track from bad to reasonably better.
The up-tempo and barely optimistic jangle of the guitars at the beginning of Pretty Baby is welcomed after the previous. Again, it struggles to fit into a them when the first two tracks were so strong and able of creating their own cult. This album falls by the way side somewhat. Harry tries her hand at the old style of all girl, sixties Motown where the lead talks a lyric and the backing singers sing it back rather like a Supremes style. This feature is warmly received by the listener, but all we crave for now is the same sit up and listen anthems of the beginning of the album.
I Know But I Dont Know, Is a vocal collaboration between Harry and one of the guys. It is limp to say the least. Both voices, one singing, one talking each verse, it is pure, authentic new wave, I can bet you that, but I feel that this style of boy/girl pop punk lyric was better done by the one hit wonders of the time. There doesnt seem much to be said about this track. Perhaps the title should say it better than me, for the style and the content of music from within, I should just say, I know, but I dont know Perhaps its the howling dog moment by Harry plus another that probably knocked it off the turntable for me..
11.59, is the one and only title for this next track, albeit, numerical. Very rocky and nearer to punk in its opening that the rest of the album. It is dominated in verse by keyboards. The lyrics are clear and reminding me of that timeless classic youll always find me in the kitchen at parties . Blondie, it has to be said, brought us legends of new wave. They were gods (and a goddess) in their own right for a handful of classic pieces of music that will follow one generation to the next, but I feel that the majority, and I will include this highly acclaimed album, was pretty much flat. For a piece of new wave history in our British music industry, it was uneventful, thankfully this is something else we can blame the Americans for
Will Anything Happen, perhaps starts to pick the album and attempt to put it back on its feet again. With a guitar riff not sounding unlike a ripping machine gun, it has punch where the other tracks appeared less than average. Once more we are back to straining our ears for lyrics. It was seem that we have to for go something for the appearance of something else. We lose the lyrics and the music sounds better. This feels although the band have been asleep for the duration so far and suddenly someone has given them a punch (I think Ive said that about another album before!) It finishes before we have had a any time to get into it
Sunday Girl, is one of those tracks that we know and love. Remember me mentioning that Blondie had a handful of classics? Well, this is one of them. It was this track that went straight to number one over here and stayed thirteen weeks in the chart. Jolly, with a pretty drum beat, this is hardly fault able. It has a touch of hand clapping at a off count beat. It is still flat, but tuneful and pleasant to listen to. Harry had such a versatile voice, she sings with a soft, interesting, pink fluffy voice. A track that would probably get on ones nerves after too many plays, but the whole point of new wave was that it didnt require any real musicians of any intelligence. Because punk had been generated by the media for kids to get into easily, in the same vein, new wave had done the same thing, except tone punk down a little and make it sound more acceptable. As with this track, the acceptance is there only the irritation of your mother turning this up on the radio was this tracks only down fall.
Heart Of Glass. Was and still is a disco favourite and will be played somewhere, somehow at a middle aged, drunken party where bank managers dance with their thumbs in the air and wear streamers around their necks anywhere in the world at any time of the day. With is indication of Rod Do you think Im Sexy Stewart drums and twinkle of Donna Summers I Feel Love. Harry was at her sultry, new age Monroe best. On Top Of The Tops, she looked drugged up (and probably was) her eyes sat heavily on those fantastic cheekbones and the whole band came alive with this track. It epitomised the rock glam, glitzy, disco and anything you like mix of everything that could get you up on your feet. Perhaps my only grip is that the nah nah nahs went on too long at the end This record went straight to number one in the UK charts in Jan 1979. It was re issued in July 1995, but failed to go any higher than number 15.
Those of a certain age, will recognise this next track and be surprised at this track actually working for a band like Blondie. Originally a song written for Buddy Holly and also recorded by him (it wasnt a hit, but a track that would crop up from time to time on compilation albums), Im Gonna Love You Too, includes the Hollyisms usually found in his records. The first feature of this is the group ha, ha, ha, ha ,ha, ha, ha, has which is probably a touching tribute from Blondie to the man himself. She tries a little to style the short, quipped lyrics that was Holly. Its a fun track, not to be taken too seriously. Lots of jumping up and down on the spot very quickly wouldnt go a miss when listening to this record. A fairly passable new wave twist to a B side rock and roll song.
Just Go Away, written by Harry alone, its rather middle of the road. Lacking in all that is Blondie, it features the most appalling backing vocals echoing the lead in the chorus. The guys play at being an imitation of The Young Ones backing Cliff, on Living Doll. its a pretty flat song that probably didnt deserve a place on this album. What must be remembered here, that despite the fair pieces of rubbish on this album, this had been marked down in history as a cult album. Simply because it was the epitome of new wave music. Albeit, a very quick wave perhaps a microwave? Bad joke
The digitally remastered album on compact disc features four bonus tracks, (my heart sank.) The first is titled Once I Had A Love (aka The Disco Song) 1978 version, but those with half a brain cell will recognise it as Heart Of Glass. Recorded, according the sleeve note, on the 6th of March 1978 at The Record Plant in New York. Unfortunately, the main thing that listening to this track does is hurl towards the listener that Blondie were lousy at performing life. Particularly a track as this which requires the keyboards, the backing vocals and all the other trimmings to create the full, in your face disco record that it was supposed to be. This terrible live recording is a basic, jingly guitar and drum version without the sparkle. Skip it, its not a version of a classic discotheque track, its something less than that.
Bang A Gong (Get It On) was enough for me to turn off the CD and forget the whole thing. I am a passionate follower of Marc Bolan. I was that generation and we looked up to Bolan as some sort of glitter God. However, Blondies messy version of this Bolan classic is criminal. I was shocked, actually to hear this on the album. Parallel Lines was a historic moment, we understand that. What I dont understand is the want and the need to sling on a handful of dire tracks on the tail end of it to justify its remastering. This track was recorded on the 11th of April 1978 in Boston. Blondie gave this song a grunge theme and far too much thrash that I feel the song never deserved in the first place. The track goes on for too long and the vocals of Harry that dont sound sober come across as amateur and un rehearsed.
Yet another live track follows. Recorded at the Walnut Theatre, PA. This time we hear, I Know But I Dont Know, which, even a little credit here, doesnt sound too bad. I feel the mark of a good track and a good band is to see if they can produce a record live, that is the perfect copy of the studio version. This track, that sounded durgy in the studio, has been given some extra guitar thrashing here and from what I can pick out, Rick Wakeman has sneaked some keyboards in at the back .but I guess he probably had better things to do that day. A track inexcusably thrown against the wall to see if it would bounce off the audience, it sounds just as bad as the studio version
Hanging On The Telephone, sounds even better. I feel that with these last four tracks, they are a journey through the life of Blondie live and that the last track is when they got it right. The vocals, it has to be said re fairly easy, in pitch and note, to be repeated perfectly on stage. New wave lyrics never needed a good strong singing voice, a lot of it was shouted anyhow, so this track is passable without surgery.
That was new wave, a musical stage that passed a lot of us by. Actually what was happening to music after new wave was far more intriguing. It is surprising to learn that Blondie were one of a handful of bands in the world who created so many number ones in such a short space of time. Between Jan 1979 and November 1980, they racked up five in total. Their last number one was with Maria in February 1999 after reforming the band in 1998. A long string of compilation albums were churned out every so often between 1982 and 2003 with also No Exit and The Curse Of Blondie.'
Although weve yet to see anything from the band in the 21st century, we can be safe in the knowledge that we will always have the late seventies new wave movement to fall back on. It is ironic actually, that the historic Blondie and leader of all that came after them, have grown more both musically and performance wise in recent years.
Perhaps the very curse of Blondie was new wave .
Bought at Music Zone around five pounds Feb 2006.
One of the first albums I bought was Parallel Lines by Blondie. Debbie Harry, who fronted the band, burst into our lives in the late 1970’s, after the band had formed in 1973. Debbie had attitude and it showed. She was sassy, peroxide blonde and good looking, as well as being THE Lady of Punk. Debbie was involved with Chris Stein, who played guitar in the band and they had formed Blondie together. Parallel Lines is timeless. The songs still sound as fresh today as they did back in the late 70’s. This was the third album release from Blondie and can be bought for £10.99 from HMV. The cover of the album shows the band standing against a backdrop of thick black and white lines, hence the title. BAND **** VOCALS: Deborah Harry GUITAR 12 String and E-Bow: Chris Stein PREMIER DRUMS VOCALS: Clement Burke ELECTRONIC KEYBOARDS: Jimmy Destri GUITAR: Frank Infante BASS: Nigel Harrison 1. Hanging on the Telephone (2:22) The song begins with the ringing of a telephone, quickly followed by fast and frenetic drums and crashing of cymbals which carries on throughout the song, The end of the song is a lot faster and as Debbie sings “Hang up and run to me” her voice sounds angrier and angrier. The song is about continually ringing a lover who is choosing to avoid you. “Don't leave me hanging on the telephone I heard your mother now she's going out the door Did she go to work or just go to the store? All those things she said I told you to ignore Oh why can't we talk again?” Rating 7/10 2. One way or another (3:35) This track begins with the guitar, and sounds rather similar to The Undertones, keeping a fast tempo by the guitar and then drums , Debbie comes in, and when she sings “I’ll see you around” she sounds like a witch, Debbie talks through the chorus later in the song, and also pr
ovides backing, The chorus has a siren sound effect. The song is about an almost stalker-like obsession. “And if the lights are all out I'll follow your bus downtown See who's hangin' out One way or another, I'm gonna lose ya' I'm gonna give you the slip A slip of the lip or another I'm gonna lose ya' I'm gonna trick ya', I'll trick ya'” Rating 8/10 3. Picture This (2:56) Picture This starts with the guitar and drums, before the vocals. It’s a slower song and quite soft, but goes on to get angrier in true punk style. The end of song sees Debbie’s voice rising to a crescendo with the drums. “I will give you my finest hour The one I spent watching you shower I will give you my finest hour oh yeah All I want is a photo in my wallet A small remembrance of something more solid All I want is a picture of you” Rating 10/10 4. Fade Away and Radiate (4:02) Fade Away and Radiate begins with a single drum beat and sounds very like the beginning of “Vienna” by Ultravox. Debbie’s voice starts off being very soft, and then a soft guitar comes in, with echoing guitars throughout. By the second verse, Debbie’s voice gets louder, although the instruments do not. A great guitar solo, lots of echo, with drums coming in at end and the song finishes off with the guitar on its own. “Fade away and radiate The beams become my dream My dream is on the screen Fade away and radiate Fade away and radiate” Rating 10/10 5. Pretty Baby (3:18) Pretty Baby starts off with a fast drumbeat and I have to say is slightly reminiscent of The Bay City Rollers once Debbie’s vocals come in. The drumming again is fast throughout the song with the cymbals being used to their full potential! The song is about love falling in
love. “Pretty baby you look so heavenly A neo nebula from under the sun Eyes that tell me "incense and peppermints" Your looks are larger than life Long live innocence Petite ingenue I fell in love with you” Rating 7/10 6. I know but I don’t know (3:56) This track begins with the synthesizer first on its own, then fast drumbeat and guitar follow on. Debbie’s vocals begin but on this song she is accompanied by one of the males in the bed and the song is talked rather than sang. As the song progresses, the singing picks up. A great guitar solo in the middle, followed by a drum solo, with the bass kicking in at the end. “I'm your dog but not your pet Now I know but I don't care Then I know but I don't see Now I see but I don't know I care but I don't care I could but I won't be You can but not with me It's all a mystery” Rating 3/10 7. 11:59 (3:20) The songs begins horrendously fast but in the days of punk this was the done thing! Debbie’s voice is very strong in this track but again there are underlying connotations of The Undertones on this track. Another fast song, not one of the best tracks. “Today can last another million years Today could be the end of me It's 11:59 and I want to stay alive Hanging on a frequency burning like a fire Boy you've got the motion down It's getting late I'm tired and I've lost control” Rating 6/10 8. Will Anything Happen? (3:00) An echoing guitar starts this track, followed by a very fast drum beat and accompanying guitar. The vocals then come in. Debbie almost seems to talk and sing at the same time on this track. The end comes with a fading guitar echo. This song is about how people change even though they have said they never will. “You sai
d you'd be through here again Please don't forget I'm here waiting You always said that you would never change Like the people that you've met and the places that you've been And if you do will anything happen?” Rating 7/10 9. Sunday Girl (3:05) This starts with a very short guitar introduction then the vocals come in. A softer song, with Debbie sounding almost angelic. “She can't catch up with the working crowd The weekend mood and she's feeling proud Live in dreams Sunday girl "Baby I would like to go out tonight" "If I go with you my folks'll get uptight" Stay at home Sunday girl” Rating 10/10 10. Heart of Glass (5:50) Who could forget this song and video, which accompanied it which was basically taking the pee out of the disco scene? This was Blondie’s first ever worldwide hit The song begins with a sound like a xylophone, then the guitars and drums come crashing in. Debbie’s voice is great in this one, and there’s quite a few high notes to hit. The ending is great with the men doing “Na na na” bits in the background. I bet they were miffed to have to do that. The song is about love and all the problems it brings. “Once I had a love and it was divine Soon found out I was losing my mind It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind Much o' mistrust Love's gone behind” Rating 10/10 11. I’m gonna love you too (2:06) The vocals start this song, accompanied by the guitars and the drums. Another very fast song but of course this was what the punk era was all about. The style of this is similar to some of the Showaddywaddy tracks but I’m sure Blondie would not thank me for saying it! “I'm gonna do my best to hook ya' after all is said and done I don't c
are what you told me You're gonna say you'll hold me and you're gonna say you love me 'Cause I'm gonna love you too” Rating 9/10 12. Just go away (3:33) The track begins with the guitars, echoing, and the crashing of drums. I have to say this is not a favourite track on the album as Debbie is talking rather than singing. This is another fast track and has the blokes as backing singers, but they do screech a lot and sound a bit like singers in a “Grease” production. “If you talk much louder you could get an award From the federal communications board Don't be cruel Be a thing sweet thing as a rule Don't be sad” Rating 5/10 Picture this, Hanging on the Telephone, Heart of Glass and Sunday Girl were all released a singles and all were big hits. Blondie went on to make other albums, but none had the success of their third album release, Parallel Lines. Debbie made a comeback in 1999, when she released the track “Maria” and a new album, although I don’t think she has done anything since. All lyrics copyright the artist
Parallel Lines was released in 1978 and features one of the most striking covers of a Blondie album, Debbie and the five guys standing in front of a bold black and white background, suitably showing off Debbie's famous blonde hair. The quality of this album is very high, it is one of their best in my opinion. However, a general admirer of Blondie's music will probably be better off buying one of their Greatest Hits type albums, as you will always find a couple of 'weird' tracks on their others. Parallel Lines begins with Hanging On The Telephone, which must be one of the most memorable introductions to any song, with the telephone ringing, then Debbie's distinctive vocals : "I'm in the phone booth, it's the one across the hall ..." Brilliant ! One Way Or Another follows and this is much rockier, but still very catchy and another of my favourites. Picture This was also a hit single and another of their gentler songs with beautiful lyrics. There are a couple of weaker tracks, as usual, with Just Go Away being one at the end of the album. But the excellent tracks more than adequately compensate for any weak ones. Sunday Girl and Heart of Glass illustrate this brilliantly - two of the best songs ever written in my opinion. They once again show Blondie's versatility, as Heart of Glass is quite fast and would probably be classed as disco, whereas Sunday Girl is quite a 'cutesy' pop song, with very easy lyrics to learn and sing. I would definitely recommend this album, it is Blondie at their best.
"Parallel Lines" is Blondie at their most commercial - and, unlike with some artists, in the case of Blondie, their 'most commercial' album also happens to be their best, I think. The Blondie 'best of' albums are superb, but you really should have "Parallel Lines" too, or you miss out on some excellent tracks. "Hanging on the telephone" has one of the best beginnings to a song ever (well in the 70s anyway) - the telephone ringing quietly, Debbie Harry sings "I'm in the phone booth?" and Clem Burke kickstarts proceedings with his drums. Of course it was a big hit. This album was produced by Mike Chapman (of glitter pop fame, he worked with bands like Sweet and Mud), and included more other smash hit singles: "Picture this", "Sunday Girl" and Heart of Glass". All of these songs, for me, are timeless pop. "Sunday girl" is my absolute favourite on here, and it contains one of my favourite lyrics ever: "Cold as ice cream and still as sweet". There was also a version released that was sung in French, and sounded so-o-o sexy. Shame they couldn't have added it on here as an extra track, but no matter. "Heart of glass", as the disco song, certainly stands out on this album as something quite different, but it still sounds great, and just seems to belong on here. Elsewhere, there's a fifties girl-group sound to things at times ("I'm gonna love you too"). On "Fade away and radiate" Harry sounds like the acceptable, pop version of Patti Smith, and those guitars are nicely atmospheric. "One way or another" has some laidback vocals from Debbie Harry, delivered with an insinuating air. Also, on "I know but I don't know" they seemed to be trying to be 'punk' (lyrically at any rate), but, even though they were lumped in with the punk / new wave movement, Blondie essent
ially had too much pop knowhow and too many good tunes to belong in that category, and were probably closer to Abba (nothing wrong with that, either!) Whatever, they produced a classic record in "Parallel Lines".
This is an all time classic album from 1978, I can't believe its over 20 years old! Containing the hit singles 'Hanging on the Telephone', 'Picture This', 'Sunday Girl' and 'Heart of Glass' it also includes such gems as '11.59' one of my all time favourites and the Buddy Holly Cover 'I'm gonna Love you Too'. The band had a quality sound and even today it doesn't really sound that dated. Clem Burke has always been one of the best drummers in my opinion, Jimmy Destri used his keyboards cleverly and the Guitars blend perfectly topped off those vocals from Debbie Harry. This album is not really representative of the era as they had a sound of their own. Do yourself a favour, buy it!
An album that boasts the best "A-Side" (the first six songs) of all time! But after a perfect first half, the quality starts to vary a bit during the latter half of it - especially over the last couple of tunes which aren't worth much: an inferior and out of place cover of Buddy Holly's "I'm Gonna Love You Too" and a shouty "Just Go Away". Apart from these, it's virtually a smooth sailing all the way; from an excellent reworking of The Nerves' Power Pop classic "Hanging On The Telephone" to the best disco song in the world (ever!), "Heart Of Glass". Thru it all we get some of the classiest pop songs ever recorded: "Picture This", "One Way Or Another", "Pretty Baby" (written about a very young Brooke Shields) and the unforgettable "11:59" - to name but a few. Oh, and "Sunday Girl" is there too: Cold as ice cream but still as sweet?
This has got to be the best, and most classic Blondie record 9as it was originally) ever. Every track is so well known, that in blondies world tour last year, the fans chanted alot of the sonds word for word! Sunday girl is my personal favourite, but theres so many to choose from, including Call me and hanging on the telphone. This album can compete today, with its solid rock beats, and the way you are carried along by the tracks.
People still think of Blondie as basically a singles band, and they did indeed release a dozen or more classic singles - I might even count last year's 'Maria' in that category. But at the height of their powers in 1978 they also delivered one of the greatest pop albums ever written. PARALLEL LINES is one of those rare albums that contain absolutely no fillers. Every single song on the album is fantastic; 'Picture This' is perhaps their greatest single moment, a marvellously catchy yet moving pop song; 'Heart of Glass' is a brilliant fusion of disco and punk; 'Sunday Girl' a bouncy, but semi-tragic commentary on the cruelty of love ("Hey, I saw your guy with a different girl/Looks like he's in a different world"; '11.59', with its urgent piano and keyboards; 'Hanging on the Telephone'; 'One Way or Another'; 'Will Anything Happen?'; and so on. EVERY SONG great! It's not just the quality of song-writing. The group as a whole play with such verve and emotion that it's hard to see how how musically any track could possibly be any better. And Debbie Harry's vocals are perfectly judged for each song; soft and tender one moment, then harsh and frantic the next. Blondie had new wave pretensions for a time, but by the release of this album they were nothing more substantial than a pop band. But when pop is this good, who cares?
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Hanging On The Telephone
2 One Way Or Another
3 Picture This
4 Fade Away And Radiate
5 Pretty Baby
6 I Know But I Don't Know
8 Will Anything Happen
9 Sunday Girl
10 Heart Of Glass
11 I'm Gonna Love You Too
12 Just Go Away
13 Once I Had A Love
14 Bang A Gong (Get It On)
15 I Know But I Don't Know
16 Hanging On The Telephone