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Blondie

Blondie is perhaps the most commercially successful band to emerge from the 1970s punk scene. They formed in New York in 1974. The original lineup consisted of Clem Burke (drums / percussion), Jimmy Destri (keyboards), Debbie Harry (vocals), Chris Stein (guitar / bass guitar) and Gary Valentine (bass guitar / guitar). Blondie released their first album Blondie in 1976. The album was mildly successful and spawned the Australian hit single "In The Flesh". Gary Valentine left the band later that year, and they continued briefly as a foursome, recording Plastic Letters which contained the hit "Denis". They added Los Angeles-based musician Frank Infante (guitar / bass guitar) in 1977 who replaced Gary Valentine. Infante had already played guitar on one track on Plastic Letters. The band went out playing live with Infante and Stein swopping between playing guitar and bass guitar through out each concert. They then also added British born but LA-based Nigel Harrison (bass guitar), making Blondie a six piece for the first time. Harrison was a former member of the glam band Silverhead. In 1978 they released the album that would make them international stars, Parallel Lines. The album spawned several hit singles, including the number one hit "Heart Of Glass", "Sunday Girl", "Hanging On The Telephone" and "One Way Or Another". They released three more albums (1979's Eat To The Beat, 1980's Autoamerican (containing the number one singles "The Tide Is High" and "Rapture") and 1982's The Hunter) and a number one single "Call Me" in 1980. In 1980, Harrison contributed several unused Blondie songs to ex-Silverhead singer Michael Des Barres solo album I'm Only Human. In 1981, Harry released a solo album Koo Koo, Destri released a solo album Heart on a Wall. Burke recorded and played live with Eurythmics, and Stein started a record label named Animal Records. In 1982, health problems, declining sales and inter-band tension caused the band to split. Harry kept a low profile for a few years while she nursed (now former) boyfriend Stein through a serious illness, but then continued a solo career as an actress/singer. Reformation plans begun in 1996 with a line-up that included Harry, Stein, Destri, Burke, Valentine, and Harrison. Infante was not invited to the reunion. Valentine and Harrison were eventually (and unceremoniously, they claim) replaced by Paul Carbonara (guitar) and Leigh Foxx (bass). The band released No Exit in 1998, which did quite well in both US and UK charts and contained the number one hit single "Maria". The album did not include any song contributions from Valentine or Harrison, despite them recording early sessions for the album and Valentine being assured by Stein that they would use his already recorded song "Amor Fati". Harrison and Infante later filed an unsuccessful lawsuit claiming breach of contract for not including them in the reunion. The Curse Of Blondie was released in 2003 and, while not matching its predecessor in sales, was critically acclaimed and spawned the global dance hit "Good Boys". Destri retired from touring in 2004, but is still listed as a band member on their official web site. Kevin Patrick (keyboards), Destri's former keyboard tech and assistant, has effectively replaced him. The band's 2006 induction ceremony into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was the scene of an awkward moment between Infante and Harry, during which he asked that the former members be allowed to play along with fellow inductees Harry, Stein and Burke during the band's set, since it was the original band that was being inducted. Harry replied "Can't you see my band is up there?" prompting Infante to counter "I thought it was Blondie that was being inducted." In 2006, the band toured as the opening act for The New Cars on the "Road Rage Tour." Although Harry was more than 60 years old, the band still managed incendiary versions of their old hits, while playing with enough fire to remind the audience of their punk roots. In 2007, the band embarked on a tour of Europe, to coincide with the DVD release of the first ever music video album "Eat To The Beat". Harry has since resumed her solo career, releasing 2007's Necessary Evil. Blondie will be on a United States tour Summer of 2009 with Pat Benatar called the "Call Me Invicible" tour.

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