Music legends Blondie play the Miller Lite Mainstage Sunday, June 12 at 8:00 P.M.
Reserved premium seating for the Sunday night headline show, also featuring GGOOLLDD, is available Wednesday, March 16. General admission tickets include access to all shows on all stages, but do not guarantee seating.
Let’s face it: this is Blondie’s world and we just live in it.
For the last four decades, Blondie has become and remains a true national treasure: a punk band from New York City whose influence both shaped and continues to inform the worlds of music, fashion and art. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein have kept their ears to the ground, creating trends, never following them. They helped push punk onto the dance floor at the dawn of the new wave era and introduced a wider audience to hip-hop sounds, all the while building a catalog of enduring pop hits along the way.
Their instincts, attitude and style are just as sharp today. To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, Blondie is not merely looking back but continuing to move forward, with a new two-disc package of music. Blondie 4(0) Ever, which includes a greatest hits album and a brand new album, was released in March 2014.
Deluxe Redux: Greatest Hits sees the band saluting its storied past by reprising eleven of its biggest songs in a set of new studio recordings that sound just as impeccable, fresh and fun as the first time we heard them. On Ghosts Of Download, the group brings their journey right up to date with 12 incredible brand-new tracks. Blondie is performing months of concerts around the world in support of Blondie 4(0) Ever.
Among the tracks they revisit on the Deluxe Redux: Greatest Hits disc are the groundbreaking rock-disco hybrid “Heart of Glass,” the equally influential hip hop fantasia, “Rapture,” and the lilting calypso, “The Tide Is High,” all part of a catalog that has generated sales of more than 40 million records worldwide and led to the group’s 2006 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. These new renditions are more than just faithful: “One Way Or Another,” for example, makes humorously explicit that the narrator is more unhinged stalker than lovesick teen.
Ghosts Of Download, Blondie’s 10th studio album, was recorded over two years, almost immediately following the completion of its acclaimed 2011 album, Panic Of Girls. It’s an exhilarating mix of dance-floor-ready sounds, with more than a little pop radio flavor stirred into it and a few surprises along the way.
Front-woman and songwriter Harry and guitarist/conceptual mastermind Stein have been with Blondie since the beginning, as has drummer Clem Burke, whose powerhouse playing has always distinguished Blondie’s sound. Joining them on tour and in the studio are Leigh Fox (bass) Tommy Kessler (guitar) and Matt Katz-Bohen (keyboardist and songwriter on Blondie’s last two discs).
Blondie’s impact is greater than the sum of its record sales: Harry’s persona, and the band’s boundary-pushing pop, has shaped the look and sound of many chart-topping female artists who followed in the last three decades.
Lady Gaga declared her fandom in a 2011 interview with Harry for Harper’s Bazaar. But, as Harry has put it, “I can’t really say we are the chicken or the egg, the birth of our kind of music. You end up putting your own sort of interpretation on the music you’ve heard and learned from, and it’s an ongoing process. And that’s in all the arts, the layering, a folding-over of styles. It’s what gives it that beautiful depth.”
Artists and fans around the globe have joined in the Blondie celebration. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel offered their own Buddy Holly-flavored take on “Sunday Girl” as part of their third She & Him disc. The Killers and Franz Ferdinand have covered Blondie at their live shows. Blur famously dressed as the band in a re-creation of the Parallel Lines album cover. Alicia Keys covered “Rapture” for the Sex and The City 2 soundtrack and, most recently, One Direction released their very own rendition of “One Way Or Another.”
At the Red Bull Academy, an international group of young musicians, deejays and producers assembled to hear Harry and Stein riff on their colorful scuffling days in Greenwich Village and the Bowery, recalling the people they befriended along the way, from Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat to Iggy Pop and Giorgio Moroder. Then the ultra-mainstream Project Runaway All-Stars tapped new music from Blondie as inspiration and featured Harry herself as a guest judge, coolly appraising the work of contestants faced with a punk challenge. Harry reduced the winning designer to grateful tears when she learned that the perennial style icon would actually wear the asymmetrical leather jacket she’d designed.
When Debbie Harry and Chris Stein appeared on BBC TV’s The One Show in London last June, at the start of Blondie’s summer Blast Off tour of Europe, the excited hosts wanted to demonstrate just how beloved — and well-memorized — the group’s many hits had become for more than a few generations of British fans. What followed was a sort of flash-mob karaoke, a montage of workers throughout the U.K. breaking into Blondie songs: the staff of an ice cream parlor doing “Sunday Girl”; the head-set clad employees of a call-in center performing “Call Me”; the employees of a glass factory singing – what else? – “Heart Of Glass.”
“This past summer when we did our European dates, it was a revelation how strong our following was,” admits Harry. “It was really extraordinary. We had a great time.”
From an irreverent Lower East Side punk outfit to bona fide international ambassadors of New York cool, Blondie will forever be synonymous with that punk spirit that lives somewhere in all of us.
The premiere single from GHOSTS OF DOWNLOAD, “Sugar On The Side,” can be purchased online.