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Blondie 

Wednesday, July 17, at Tower City Amphitheater.

Blondie's Deborah Harry
  • Blondie's Deborah Harry

"I wish I had invented sex," remarked Deborah Harry in an interview during Blondie's prime -- a quip she apparently regretted, as it kept coming back to flop in the face of these New York ironists like a stray peroxide lock. The thing is, no matter how much the band tried to control its image (remember the doomed "Blondie is a group" slogan campaign?), those flyaway strands were integral to Blondie's charm and thrill -- and eventually, its legacy.

"For years, Blondie was considered the standard joke," said Jimmy Wybrandt of the Miamis in Lester Bangs's slapdash 1980 biography, Blondie. "Not even a joke. The perennial opening band. Always sluggin' it out. Never making any money. Never knowing whether they were even gonna have a band. Just keepin' at it. And I'm sure no one in their wildest dreams around then would have imagined that this was where it was gonna wind up."

Where it wound up wasn't just the greatest American success story of the new wave, but the serendipitous reclamation of two elements that New York ironists had long sneered at: modern dance music and blond bombshells. And then, long after those elements had been passed on to dancing queens from Madonna to Gwen Stefani, Blondie returned to the underground whence it came for the best old-wave comeback album yet, 1999's No Exit. Now in her late 50s, Harry is finally able to revel in sex as just one element of a Weil-to-Warhol cabaret that knows its age. The flyaway strands are now all tucked neatly in place, and with them, Blondie's mark on history.

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