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Debbie Harry. Jersey Girl?

Blondie's iconic lead singer splits time between Gotham and the Garden State, talks to Atlantic City Weekly about that hit song she still wants again.

By Ed Condran
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Sep. 8, 2010

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Blondie of today

Debbie Harry wants another hit. That’s so even though the new-wave icon is a senior citizen. It’s not easy for pretty young things to hit the chart, let alone those in their twilight years.

“I love having hits,” Harry tells Atlantic City Weekly. “It’s nice having one of your songs on the radio.”

The quirky 65-year-old singer has enjoyed plenty of airplay with Blondie as well as her solo work. “Once you experience what it feels like to have a hit, you want more,” Harry says. “That’s the way it is for me. It could happen for me.”

It’s certainly possible. Blondie, which will perform Saturday, Sept. 11, at the House of Blues, will release its next album, Panic of Girls in 2011. Could an act longer of tooth chart?

Harry proved a decade ago that it’s within the realm of possibility when the Blondie track “Maria,” charted.

“It was amazing,” Harry says. “Who says someone over 50 can’t have a hit? I want more. I still get that creative spark.”

Mike Peters of the Alarm had such doubts about penning a song that could score airplay that he wrote a collection of songs under the moniker The Poppy Fields in 2004. He made up a faux bio and recruited a bunch of teenagers to record videos as the Poppy Fields.

The group hit the Top 40 since it pulled the wool over tastemaker’s eyes.

“I felt like it was something I had to do,” Peters says. “It was an experiment that worked. It would have been easier for me to write a hit if people thought that someone much younger than I wrote and recorded it. That’s the painful truth. There just isn’t as many opportunities for recording artists over 40.”

There are exceptions. U2 and Madonna are mid-lifers who chart, but those recording artists reside in the upper echelon of the music industry. There will always be interest in their releases.

However, it’s not easy for the rest of the grizzled artists.

“I would like to have something on the radio, but I’m realistic about it,” former Men At Work frontman Colin Hay says. “If it were to happen, great but if not, I can live with that. The great thing is that I experienced the hits. I remember what it was like. It was a fun ride.

The most important thing for me now isn’t the hits, but just the chance to make new music.”

Harry and Blondie will take their chances with fresh material.

“We still come up with some incredible stuff,” Harry says.

Blondie is a collective, but Harry has always been the focal point.

Images of Manhattan are conjured when Harry’s name is mentioned. Her electrifying voice helped make a name for her band at such legendary New York clubs as Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s during the mid-’70s and Harry was a regular at Studio 54 during the ballyhooed disco venue’s glory days. Harry has epitomized the cool glamour of Manhattan, where she moved in 1965.

“I’ve always enjoyed New York and fit in well there,” Harry says. However, Harry is also attached to the Garden State, where she came of age during the ’50s and ‘60s in Hawthorne.

“I’m a Jersey girl,” Harry says, while calling from central New Jersey recently.

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1. Daniel said... on Sep 9, 2010 at 03:25PM

“They put on a really fantastic show, you'll love it!”

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2. Butch said... on Sep 9, 2010 at 03:29PM

“Jersey rocks Debbie and so do U!!! As a dancer Call Me made me what I am today.”

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3. InAtl said... on Sep 9, 2010 at 04:07PM

“Just got back to Atlanta from the long drive to my hometown NY with 2 friends to see Blondie in Times Square and Westhampton Long Island - wish I didn't have to go back to work because I would have hung around for the Jersey show.

They always do a great show and each one has differences and the band is definitely in tune with each audience and location. Its great. The new songs are amazing, though I have to say with the state of corporate controlled radio they could be releasing Heart of Glass or Call Me or Maria and it may not get radio play. Then again in some ways I like some of the new songs even better than there old hits.”

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