Gay Iconography: Blondie Bombshell Debbie Harry
The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but why is it that some figures amass more of a gay audience? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts.
Debbie Harry is a musician, actress and style icon. The legendary lead singer of Blondie has left her mark across punk, disco and new wave with a string of hits and an unmistakable cool.
Known for her signature peroxide-blonde hair and striking features, she's also appeared in films, television and even once as a Playboy bunny. She became something of an institution in the New York City scene at places like Studio 54 and CBGB.
It's there that she became closely tied to the gay community.
“Blondie has always been a part of the downtown community in NYC, with many, many friends who represent alternative lifestyles," she told the Huffington Post in a press release following the band's refusal to play in Sochi for the Winter Olympics. "We feel very strongly about these friendships and associations, and don’t feel good about participating in a situation where biases and prejudices are paramount."
She made headlines for tweeting a photo of the offer letter for the Sochi gig with the words "PASS human rights" scrawled over it. It's not the first time she's stood up for the LGBT community, as a long-time ally in the fight against AIDS, as well as appearing on Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour for the Human Rights Campaign. She told Gay Times Magazine: "I know its important to stand up for gay rights or letting people get over their hang-ups or their prejudices. But for me personally it's never been an issue and I feel like as an adult you are entitled to whatever sexuality you are and have and whoever you're in love with."
Celebrate Debbie Harry with some classic videos, and tell us your thoughts on the fabulous frontwoman, AFTER THE JUMP ...
Blondie's Parallel Lines may have been their third album, but it was their first smash success. It hit No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 6 in the United States. The album was full of classics like "Heart of Glass," "One Way Or Another" and (our personal favorite) "Hanging On the Telephone."
The band is known for crossing genres, including new wave ("Dreaming"), reggae ("The Tide Is High") and, famously, rap. Their song "Rapture," above, was the first No. 1 hit in the U.S. to feature rap.
Debbie Harry also released five solo albums. Her second album featured "French Kissin' In the USA." The song was written by Chuck Lorre (yes, the same guy behind Two And A Half Men), and its video features Peg Bundy herself, Katey Sagal. You may recognize a cover of this song used in the film Troop Beverly Hills.
Before Hairspray was a movie musical, it was just a musical. And before that, it was a movie from the brilliant John Waters, starring Debbie as Velma Von Tussle.
Comedian John Roberts told us about how he became friends with Debbie Harry after his band opened for Blondie. Debbie fits right into Roberts' over-the-top comedy style with her character "Fran."
What's your favorite Blondie song or Debbie Harry moment? Tell us in the comments.