HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Blondie vocalist Deborah Harry!!!

Born in Miami, Florida,  Angela Tremble, she was adopted at three months by Richard Smith Harry and Catherine, gift shop proprietors in Hawthorne, New Jersey, and renamed Deborah Ann Harry.  Harry learned of her adoption at four years old and later, in the late 1980s, she tracked down her birth mother, who refused to have any contact with her.  Harry attended Hawthorne High School, and graduated in 1963.  She graduated from Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey with an Associate of Arts degree in 1965. Before beginning her singing career, she moved to New York City in the late 1960s, and worked there as a secretary at BBC Radio’s office for one year.  Later, she was a waitress at Max’s Kansas City,  a go-go dancer in a Union City, New Jersey discothèque,  and a Playboy Bunny.

In the late 1960s, Harry began her musical career as a backing singer for the folk rock group The Wind in the Willows, which released an eponymous album in 1968 on Capitol Records.  The group also recorded a second album, which was never released.

In 1974, Debbie joined the Stilettoes with Elda Gentile and Amanda Jones. Her eventual boyfriend and Blondie guitarist, Chris Stein, joined the band shortly after. 

After leaving the Stilettoes, Harry and Stein formed Angel and the Snake with Tish Bellomo and Snooky Bellomo. Shortly thereafter, Harry and Stein formed Blondie, named after the catcall men often directed at Harry after she bleached her hair blonde.  The band quickly became regulars at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB in New York City.   After a debut album in 1976, commercial success found them in the late 1970s and followed through the early 1980s.

With her distinctive photogenic features and two-tone bleached-blonde hair, Harry quickly became a punk icon.  Her look was further popularized by the band’s early presence in the music video revolution of the era. She was a regular at Studio 54.

In June 1979, Blondie was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Harry’s persona, combining cool sexuality with streetwise style, became so closely associated with the group’s name that many came to believe “Blondie” was the singer’s name. The difference between the individual Harry and the band Blondie was emphasized by a “Blondie is a group” button campaign by the band in 1979.

Blondie released their debut album in 1976; it peaked at No. 14 in Australia and No. 75 in the UK. Their second album, Plastic Letters, garnered some success outside the United States, but their third album, Parallel Lines (1978), was a worldwide smash-hit and catapulted the group to international success. It included the global hit single “Heart of Glass”. Riding the crest of disco’s domination, the infectious track made #1 in the US and sold nearly two million copies. It also reached #1 in the UK and was the second highest-selling single of 1979. The band’s success continued with the release of the platinum-selling Eat to the Beat album in 1979.  Happy Birthday Debbie!!!  CRV

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