Legendary group to be honored along with Black Sabbath, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sex Pistols

News release: 30 November 2005

New York, N.Y., November 28, 2005 — Before Blondie, punk and disco were enemies, pop and reggae were strangers and rock and hip-hop were at war. Through groundbreaking songs, Blondie changed all that and its influence on two generations of artists that followed is undeniable. They were the first group to emerge from New York's new wave/punk renaissance with an album (1976's Blondie), the first to chart a #1 single, a revolutionary blend of punk and disco ("Heart of Glass") and the first to top the charts with both a rap song (1981's "Rapture") and a reggae tune ("The Tide is High"). And now Blondie have added to their legacy by being selected for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its 21st ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on March 13, 2006 along with Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Sex Pistols and Miles Davis, as one of two first-time nominees (Davis is the other).

"This is a tremendous honor for us," said the band's Deborah Harry, who will be celebrating Blondie's 30th anniversary next year. "We're proud to take our place alongside some of our own idols."

"To join some of our idols in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a dream come true for us," said co-founder Chris Stein. "It means we've come full circle as a group, from following our own inspirations to passing the torch to the next generation of rockers."

Added drummer Clem Burke: "As a huge fan of Rock and Roll music, this means quite a lot for me. I can't express how proud I am to be included side by side with my own heroes." Jimmy Destri asked, "Will there be an open bar?"

The original Blondie was formed in 1974 by art student/guitarist Chris Stein and ex-folkie and ex-Max's Kansas City waitress, vocalist/songwriter Deborah Harry. Drummer Clem Burke and keyboard player Jimmy Destri joined in 1975. The band played the fabled New York downtown circuit of CBGB's, Max's Kansas City and Mothers, amassing a major following before recording their first album Blondie in 1976 for the Private Stock label. It was released in 1977 and was well received as the band toured in support of Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

The band went on to become a worldwide attraction, combining rock and pop with salsa, funk, disco, reggae and rap. They went to #2 on the U.K. singles chart with "Denis Denis" in 1978 even before topping the U.S. singles chart with "Heart of Glass," from their 1979 Parallel Lines album. Deborah Harry's punk pin-up girl graced the cover of every major magazine, paving the way for blonde pop chanteuses from Madonna to Gwen Stefani. The band made a major comeback with the 1999 release of No Exit, which spawned the international hit, "Maria," which topped the charts in 14 different countries.

Andy Schwartz, editor of the influential New York Rocker said about the band's groundbreaking fusion of rock and rap: "Can white bohos play da funk? Blondie's 'Rapture' offered a resounding Yes: a massive, left-field crossover hit, part tribute and part near-parody, that bridged the gap between the parallel worlds of punk-rock and hip-hop."

Debbie Harry and Blondie were also a major influence on superstars like Madonna, Garbage's Shirley Manson and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, among many others.

"When I was starting out as a singer and songwriter, I was hugely influenced by Debbie Harry," Madonna told author Cathay Che. "I thought she was the coolest chick in the universe."

Manson offers similar praise: "Doesn't every smart woman like Debbie Harry? There are so many who have followed in her footsteps, that don't hold a candle to her. Debbie did it with style, grace and humor, and never took herself too seriously. That's what makes her stand out among the pretenders to her throne."

Added Stipe: "Speaking as an unapologetic feminist, she was way ahead of the curve in term of what was going to come later... certainly it was part of what Madonna seized on."

Blondie are currently on a 28-date tour of the U.K. and Ireland coinciding with the European release of their Greatest Hits: Sight & Sound CD/DVD, which will be released in the U.S. this spring by Capitol/EMI Music Catalog Marketing. It includes the bonus track "Rapture Riders," a mash-up of the band's "Rapture" with the Doors' "Riders on the Storm," which features an accompanying video.

The band also received a double-platinum plaque from the RIAA representing more than two million units sold in the U.S. of its Capitol/EMI Music Catalog Marketing release, The Best of Blondie.

For more information, visit the official Blondie web site at

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Special thanks to author Cathay Che for her permission to include the Shirley Manson, Madonna and Michael Stipe quotes, originally published in her biography Deborah Harry: Platinum Blonde