DEBBIE HARRY is a household name because she fronted the legendary 70’s post-punk band BLONDIE. But amazingly her solo work has gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream after being unfairly overshadowed by the emergence of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper in the 80’s. So, in celebration of Debbie’s 5th solo album “Necessary Evil” being released today, let’s look back on her solo career…
In 1981, Debbie Harry released her first solo album Koo Koo, a sharp departure from the genre-bending punk/disco/reggae/pop that Blondie had become famous for. The record took Debbie in a more dance-oriented direction, produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of CHIC. H.R. Giger directed two music videos for the album – ‘Backfired’ and one of my favorite Debbie Harry songs ‘Now I Know You Know’.
‘Backfired’ from Koo Koo (1981)
‘Now I Know You Know’ from Koo Koo (1981)
Blondie broke up in 1982 after the album “The Hunter” was released. In 1983, Debbie released the Giorgio Moroder produced single ‘Rush Rush’, taken from the soundtrack to the Al Pacino classic Scarface. 1985 saw the release of the Jellybean Benitez produced single ‘Feel the Spin’, taken from the Krush Groove soundtrack.
‘Feel the Spin’ from the Krush Groove soundtrack (1985)
Debbie’s second solo album Rockbird was released in 1986, spawning her most famous solo single ‘French Kissin’. The album artwork was designed by Stephen Sprouse, featuring a background painting by Andy Warhol.
‘French Kissin’ from Rockbird (1986)
‘In Love With Love’ from Rockbird (1986)
‘Free to Fall’ from Rockbird (1986)
When Def, Dumb & Blonde was released in 1989, she suddenly became embraced by modern rock radio stations, who helped the first single ‘I Want That Man’ become a modest success. Around this time, Debbie embarked on the “Escape From NY Tour” with The Ramones, Tom Tom Club, and Jerry Harrison (of Talking Heads).
‘I Want That Man’ from Def Dumb & Blonde (1989)
‘Sweet & Low’ from Def, Dumb & Blonde (1989)
‘Brite Side’ from Def, Dumb & Blonde (1989)
In 1990, Debbie teamed up with Iggy Pop for the Red, Hot & Blue compilation. Their music video for the duet ‘Well, Did You Evah’ is really humorous.
‘Well Did You Evah’ (w/ Iggy Pop) from Red, Hot & Blue (1990)
1993 saw the release of Debbie’s fourth solo album Debravation. The album was met with lukewarm reviews, but pleased her fans (me included) nonetheless. A somewhat controversial music video was made for the album’s second single ‘Strike Me Pink’, but cannot currently be found on YouTube.
‘I Can See Clearly’ from Debravation (1993)
Throughout the 90’s Debbie executed a string of collaborations and fronted the avante-garde jazz ensemble The Jazz Passengers. In 1999, Blondie reunited and released the album No Exit, followed by 2003’s The Curse of Blondie.
In 2006, Moby featured Debbie on his single ‘New York, New York’, which was included on his 2006 hits compilation GO: The Very Best of Moby.
‘New York, New York’ (w/ Moby) from Go – The Very Best of Moby (2006)
And today sees the release of Debbie’s fifth solo album Necessary Evil. The album features 17 new tracks, the first single being the opening track ‘Two Times Blue’.
‘Two Times Blue’ from Necessary Evil (2007)