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Blondie Parralel Lines
Debbie Harry Warhol

 

 

 

 

Parallel Lines is the third studio album by the American rock band

 Blondie . It was released in September 1978 by Chrysalis Records

to international commercial success. The album reached number 1

in the United Kingdom in February 1979 and proved to be the

band's commercial breakthrough in the United States, where it

reached number 6 in April 1979. As of 2008, the album had sold

over 20 million copies worldwide.

 

In February 1978, Blondie released their second studio album

Plastic Letters. It was their last album produced by Richard

Gottehrer whose sound had formed the basis of Blondie's new

wave and punk output. During a tour of the west coast of the US in

support of Plastic Letters, Blondie encountered Australian

producer Mike Chapman in California. Peter Leeds, Blondie's

manager, conspired with  Chrysalis Records  to encourage

Chapman to work with Blondie on new music. Drummer Clem

Burke recalls feeling enthusiastic about the proposition, believing

Chapman could create innovative and eclectic records. However,

lead vocalist Debbie Harry was far less enthusiastic about

Chapman's involvement as she only knew him by reputation;

according to Chapman, her animosity towards him was because

"they were New York. He was L.A.". Harry's cautiousness abated

after she played Chapmans early cuts of "Heart of Glass" and

"Sunday Girl" and was impressed.

 

In June 1978 the band entered the  Record Plant  in New York to

record their third album, and first with Chapman. However,

Chapman found the band difficult to work with, remembering them

as the worst band he ever worked with in terms of musical ability.

Although praising Frank Infante as "an amazing guitarist", sessions

with Chris Stein were hampered by him being stoned during recording and Chapman

encouraged him to write songs rather than play guitar. Similarly, according to Chapman, Jimmy

Destri would prove himself to be far better at songwriting than as a keyboardist and Clem Burke

had poor timing playing drums. As a result, Chapman spent time improving the band, especially

with Stein who Chapman spent hours with rerecording his parts to ensure they were right.

Bassist Nigel Harrison became so frustrated with Chapman's drive for perfectionism that he

threw a $50,000 synthesizer at him during recording. Chapman recalls the atmosphere at the

Record Plant in an interview for Sound on Sound:

                                                                              The Blondies were tough in the studio, real tough. None of them liked each other, except  Chris and Debbie , and there was so much animosity. They were really, really juvenile in their approach to life—a classic New York underground rock band—and they didn't give a fuck about anything. They just wanted to have fun and didn't want to work too hard getting it.

 

 Mike Chapman  took an unorthodox approach when recording with Harry who he describes as "a great singer and a great vocal stylist, with a beautifully identifiable voice. However, also very moody". Chapman was far more cautious of demanding much from Harry as he saw her as a highly emotional person who would vest these emotions in the songs they made. He remembers Harry

disappearing into the bathroom in tears for several hours during recording. During a day of recording, Harry sang two lead parts and some harmonies, less work than she did so previously with Gottehrer. This was due to Chapman encouraging her to be cautious about the way she sang, particularly to recognize phrasing, timing and attitude.

 

 

"TITTER YE NOT"

****************** 

 

Why can't a blonde dial 911?


She can't find the

eleven.

 

*******************

 

A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first

football game. They had great seats right behind

their team's bench. After

the game, he asked her

how she liked the experience. "Oh, I really

liked it," she replied, "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents."

 

Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you

mean?"

 

"Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it, and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was, 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!' I'm like, hello? It's only 25 cents!"

 

******************

 

A guy was driving in a car with a blonde. He told her to stick her head out the window and see if the blinker worked.

 

She stuck her head out

and yelled,

 

"Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes..."

*******************

 

Did you hear about the blonde that got excited?

She finished a jigsaw

puzzle in six months,

when the box said, "two to four years."

 

*******************

Blondie recorded Parallel Lines in six weeks, despite being given six months by Terry Ellis, co-founder of Chrysalis Records, to do so. A traditional set-up was used and Chapman fitted Neumann microphones to the toms, snare and hi-hat, as well as several above the site. When recording, Chapman would start with the basic track, which was difficult to record at the time by way of "pencil erasing". Chapman explained in an interview for  Sound on Sound , "that meant using a pencil to hold the tape away from the head and erasing up to the kick drum. If a bass part was ahead of the kick, you could erase it so that it sounded like it was on top of the kick. That's very easy to do these days, but back then it was quite a procedure just to get the bottom end sounding nice and tight."

A DI/amp method was used to record Harrison's bass and Destri's synthesizer, while Shure SM57 and AKG 414 microphones were used to capture Infante's Les Paul guitar.

 

After the basic track was complete, Chapman would record lead and backing vocals with Harry. However, this process was

hampered by many songs not being written in time for the vocals to be recorded. "Sunday Girl", " Picture This " and "One Way Or Another" were all unfinished during the rehearsals of Parallel Lines. When recording vocal parts, Chapman remembers asking Harry if she was ready to sing, only for her to reply "Yeah, just a minute" as she was still writing lyrics down. Chapman notes that many "classic" songs from the album were created this way.

 

During the last session at the Record Plant, the band were asleep on the floor only to be awakened at six o'clock in the morning by Mike Chapman and his engineer  Peter Coleman  leaving for Los Angeles with the tape tracks. Despite Blondie's belief that Parallel Lines would resonate with a wider audience, Chrysalis Records were not as enthusiastic and label executives told them to start again, only to be dissuaded by Chapman's assurance that its singles would prove popular.

 

Parallel Lines took its name from an unused track written by Harry, the lyrics of which were included in the first vinyl edition of the album. The cover sleeve image was photographed by  Edo Bertoglio  and was chosen by Blondie's manager, Peter Leeds, despite being rejected by the band. The photo shows the band posing in matching dress suits and smiling broadly in contrast to Harry who poses defiantly with her hands on her hips while wearing a white dress.

 

According to music journalist Robert Christgau, Parallel Lines was pop rock album in which Blondie achieved their "synthesis of the Dixie Cups and the Electric Prunes". Its style of "state-of-the-art pop/rock circa 1978", as All Music's William Ruhlmann described it, showed Blondie deviating from new wave and emerging as "a pure pop band."  Ken Tucker  believed the band had eschewed the "brooding artiness" of their previous albums for more hooks and pop-oriented songs. Chapman later said, "I didn't make a punk

album or a New Wave album with Blondie. I made a pop album." The album's eleven pop songs have refined melodics, and its sole

disco song, "Heart of Glass", features jittery keyboards, rustling cymbals by drummer Clem Burke, and a circular rhythm. Burke credited Kraftwerk and the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever as influences for the song and said that he was "trying to get that groove that the drummer for the Bee Gees had".

 

Blondie Hanging On The Telephone

Lyrically, Parallel Lines abandoned what Rolling Stone magazine's Arion Berger

called the "cartoonish postmodernist referencing" of Blondie's previous new wave

songs in favor of a "romantic fatalism" that was new for the band. "Sunday Girl"

deals with the theme of teen loneliness, while " Fade Away and Radiate " is about

falling in love with dead movie stars. On the latter song, Debbie Harry, who day

dreamed as a child that Marilyn Monroe was her birth mother, compares a flickering

image on screen to the light of a dying sun. Music critic Rob Sheffield said that the

lyric "dusty frames that still arrive / die in 1955" is the "best lyric in any rock'n'roll

song, ever, and it's still the ultimate statement of a band that always found some

pleasure worth exploiting in the flashy and the temporary."

 

Parallel Lines became an international success when it was released in September

1978 by Chrysalis Records. In a contemporary review for The Village Voice,

Christgau said although Blondie still could not write a perfect hit single, the record

was a consistent improvement over Plastic Letters. He wrote in retrospect for

Blender that it was "a perfect album in 1978" and remained so with "every song

memorable, distinct, well-shaped and over before you get antsy. Never again did

singer Deborah Harry, mastermind Chris Stein and their able four-man cohort nail the band's signature paradoxes with such

unfailing flair:

                    lowbrow class, tender sarcasm, pop rock."  Darryl Easlea  from BBC, who felt there cord combined power pop and new wave styles, credited Mike Chapman's production and flair for pop songwriting for helping make Parallel Lines an extremely popular album in the United Kingdom, where it was a number-one hit and charted for 106 weeks during the late 1970s. Q magazine called the album" a crossover smash with sparkling guitar sounds, terrific hooks and middle-eights more memorable than some groups' choruses."

 

In a review of post-punk albums from the 1970s, Spin magazine's Sasha Frere-Jones said Parallel Lines may have been "the

perfect pop-rock record" and Blondie's best album, while Christian John Wikane from Pop Matters called it "a creative and commercial masterpiece by Blondie ... indisputably one of the great, classic albums of the rock and roll era." In the opinion of Pitchfork Media critic  Scott Plagenhoef the album popularized "the look and sound of 1980s new wave" with classic songs that showcased the depth and complexity of Harry's sexuality and singing. Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine was also impressed by her singing, which he felt varied from "purring like a kitten and then building to a mean growl", and cited "Heart of Glass" as the album's best track because of her "honey-dipped vocal".

 

Parallel Lines was ranked at number 140 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, number 18 and 45 on NME's 100 Best Albums of All Time and 500 Greatest Albums of All Time respectively, and number 7 on Blender's 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time.  Rolling Stone  wrote that the album was "where punk and New Wave broke through to a

mass U.S. audience". The album was also ranked at number 94 by Channel 4's list of 100 greatest albums of all time.

 

Blondie Picture This

Parallel Lines contains several of Blondie's best-known hits, including

"Heart of Glass", " Hanging on the Telephone ", "Sunday Girl" and 

"One Way or Another". Six of the twelve tracks were issued as singles,

either in the US or the UK. It is notable that the original album version

of "Heart of Glass" was replaced with the longer disco version on

pressings of the album released as of March 1979. However, the

original surfaced on some later reissue editions.

 

The album was reissued and remastered in 2001 along with Blondie's

back catalog and featured four bonus tracks:

                                                                      a 1978 demo of "Heart of

Glass", live cover of T. Rex's song " Bang a Gong  (Get It On)" and two

live tracks taken from Picture This Live live album.

 

On June 24, 2008, an expanded 30th Anniversary Edition of the album

was released, which featured new artwork and bonus tracks along with

bonus DVD. The liner notes once again featured lyrics to the

unfinished "Parallel Lines" song. The Parallel Lines 30th Anniversary

Edition included the 7" single version of "Heart of Glass", which was

featured on the original pressing of the album, the French version of

" Sunday Girl " and some remixes, plus a DVD with albums, promo

videos and TV performance.

 

The band also launched a world tour of the same name to promote the re-release and celebrate the event.

 

The album version of " Heart of Glass " was replaced with the disco version (5:50 minutes long) on pressings of the album released

as of March 1979. The original length version of "Heart Of Glass" appeared on the original US CD release in 1985 Chrysalis VK 41192 [later F2 21192] although the CD artwork proclaimed it was 'Disco Version'. Later editions of the Capitol disc had the mistake removed from the inlay but it remained on the disc until its deletion. 1994 DCC Compact Classics Gold CD release [Capitol Special Markets USA] GSZ 1062 features original version (3.45) with 5'50 version as a bonus track – this edition also featured booklet with full song lyrics. Chrysalis through EMI/Toshiba in Japan issued Parallel Lines with a mini LP card sleeve in 2006 - notable for its reproduction inner sleeve complete with lyrics and Chrysalis Records label on the actual disc.

 

A promotional CD of the album was given away free with the British newspaper  The Mail on Sunday  on 5 December 2010,

including the bonus tracks "What I Heard" and "Girlie Girlie" from the band's 2011 album Panic of Girls.

 

 Deborah Ann "Debbie" Harry  (born July 1, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter and actress, best known as the lead singer of the new wave and punk rock band Blondie. She recorded several worldwide number one singles with Blondie during the 1970s and 1980s. She is sometimes considered the first rapper to chart at number one in the United States due to her work on "Rapture". She has also had success (mainly in Europe) as a solo artist before reforming Blondie in the late 1990s. Her acting career spans over 60 film roles and numerous television appearances

 

 Christopher "Chris" Stein  (born January 5, 1950) is the co-founder and guitarist of the new wave band, Blondie. He is also a producer and performer for the classic soundtrack of the hip hop film, Wild Style, and writer of the soundtrack for the film Union City.

An acclaimed photographer, Stein has taken thousands of images documenting the early New York City punk music scene, the

visual allure of Debbie Harry and Blondie, and his collaborations with artistic luminaries including Andy Warhol and H.R. Giger.

Stein's photography was published most recently in September 2014 by Rizzoli International in his book, Chris Stein Negative:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PICTURE THIS - BLONDIE 

                                                                                                      "Picture This" is a song by the American rock band Blondie. It was released in 1978 as the first single from their third album Parallel Lines.  It reached number 12 in the UK music charts , giving Blondie their third UK Top 20 hit. It also charted in various other countries

but was not issued as a single in the US.

"Picture This" was written by Chris Stein, Debbie Harry and Jimmy     Destri.  Debbie Harry wrote the lyrics  while Destri and Stein each     wrote portions of the music. The B-side of the single, "Fade Away   And Radiate", featured Robert Fripp on guitar and was also included international version of the band's first 'greatest hits' compilation The Best of Blondie, released in October 1981.

 

Music critic  Arion Berger  of Rolling Stone called "Picture This" "the   tenderest new wave love song put to vinyl".A music video was           produced to promote the single featuring a straight performance by   the band and Debbie Harry wearing a yellow dress designed by         Stephen Sprouse.

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