05 November 2015

Heart Of Glass

Heart Of Glass is one of Blondie's most popular and well-known tracks, first appearing as track ten of the album Parallel Lines alongside four other well known Blondie hits: Hanging On the Telephone, One Way Or Another, Picture This and Sunday Girl.

The album Parallel Lines is considered by many to be Blondie's best album, and it must be said that if the Parallel Lines album was the one that catapulted Blondie into the public eye on both sides of the Atlantic, then Heart Of Glass was the song that made it all happen. A departure from previous styles, the driving bass and glimmering synths all layered beautifully over Debbie Harry's voice to produce a storming disco hit. Released as a single in April 1979, following the album release in September of the previous year, Heart Of Glass went to number one, leading bass guitarist Nigel Harrison to apologise for the sound, calling it a compromise with commerciality. Debbie Harry didn't see it that way, particularly since the phrase pain in the ass caused objections from some radiostations. (These radio stations were eventually issued with an alternate version missing the offending line...)

The song itself was given a reggae twist to produce the bonus track Once I Had A Love, and was also taken to greater extremes of synth-heaven with the Disco Version. What's more, Debbie took to opportunity to showcase her new haircut, and more extreme quantities of lipgloss than should ever appear in a pop video.

A 1995 re-release offered the opportunity for new single releases taken from the Blondie Beautiful remix album; one of the three songs chosen was Heart Of Glass. This remixed version (Diddy's Adorable Illusion Edit) reached 15 in the UK charts, though it stayed there for only three weeks. Also included were the full version of Diddy's Adorable Illusion Mix, Richie Jones Club Mix, MK 12" Mix and the Original 12" Mix.

Of course, such a popular song has appeared on a thousand compilation CDs, and has been covered many times, by such diverse bands as Erasure (who performed the track live before releasing it as a b-side, and went on to cover Rapture, complete with Vince Clarke rap), The Shadows, Lunachicks and a veritable range of cut-price Blondie-wannabe drag queens.

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

In between what I find is pleasing
And I'm feeling fine, love is so confusing
There's no peace of mind if I fear I'm losin' you
It's just no good, you teasin' like you do

Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone blind

Lost inside adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside
We coulda made it cruisin', yeah
Coulda made it cruisin', yeah

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass
But I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

Yeah, riding high on love's true bluish light...

Heart Of Glass was produced by Mike Chapman and was given a UK release in January 1979 and a US release in April of the same year. It reached number one in both countries, and spent twelve weeks in the UK chart. A July 1995 UK re-release reached only 15, spending three weeks in the chart.

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