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Blondie is an American rock band founded by singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the early American New Wave and punk scenes of the mid-1970s. Their first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including "Call Me", "Atomic" and "Heart of Glass" and became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, rap, and reggae, while retaining a basic style as a New Wave band.
Blondie broke up after the release of their sixth studio album The Hunter in 1982. Deborah Harry continued to pursue a solo career with varied results after taking a few years off to care for partner Chris Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin.
The band reformed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with "Maria" in 1999. The group toured and performed throughout the world during the following years, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Blondie has sold 40 million records worldwide and is still active today. Their ninth studio album, Panic of Girls, was released in 2011.Inspired by the burgeoning new music scene at the Mercer Arts Center, Chris Stein sought to join a similar band. He joined The Stilettos in 1973 as their guitarist and formed a romantic relationship with one of the band's vocalists, Deborah Harry, a former waitress and Playboy Bunny. Harry had been a member of a folk-rock band, The Wind in the Willows, in the late 1960s. In 1974, Stein parted ways with The Stilettos and Elda Gentile, the band's originator. Stein and Harry formed a new band with drummer Billy O'Connor and bassist Fred Smith. By 1975, after some personnel turnover (including sisters Tish and Snooky Bellomo on backing vocals), Stein and Harry were joined by drummer Clem Burke, keyboard player Jimmy Destri and bass player Gary Valentine. Originally billed as Angel and the Snakes, they renamed themselves Blondie in late 1975. The name derived from comments made by truck drivers who catcalled "Hey, Blondie" to Harry as they drove by.
Blondie became regulars at Max's Kansas City and CBGB. Their debut album Blondie (UK No. 75, AUS No. 14) was issued in December 1976. In September 1977, Blondie bought back its contract with Private Stock and then signed with Chrysalis Records. The first album was re-released on the new label in October 1977. Rolling Stone's review of the debut album observed the eclectic nature of the group's music, comparing it to Phil Spector and The Who, and commented that the album's two strengths were Richard Gottehrer's production and the persona of Deborah Harry, saying she performed with "utter aplomb and involvement throughout: even when she's portraying a character consummately obnoxious and spaced-out, there is a wink of awareness that is comforting and amusing yet never condescending." It also noted that Harry was the "possessor of a bombshell zombie's voice that can sound dreamily seductive and woodenly Mansonite within the same song".Parallel Lines (UK No. 1, US No. 6, Australia No. 2) Blondie's third album, released in September 1978 was produced by Mike Chapman, became the group's most successful effort, selling 20 million copies worldwide. The album's first two singles were "Picture This" (UK No. 12) and "Hanging on the Telephone" (UK No. 5).