Gay Iconography: Blondie Bombshell Debbie Harry

 

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.

Comments

  1. Jeff says

    I love Debbie. I was 6 or 7 when “Heart of Glass” came out and just the way it sounded blew my mind. “The Tide Is High,” “Call Me,” “Rapture”…. Blondie was the coolest.

  2. roy says

    Thank you Debbie, I still play your remixed album released awhile back due to a comeback, you were a part of my adolescence and I thank you for your strength and your music is always with me,

  3. danswon says

    I find all the talk of gay icons quite tiresome. Basically anyone with a distinctive look seems to be classed as a gay icon.
    Personally I don’t have, want, or need any icons.

  4. Eddie says

    ‘Gay icons’ seem to be folks, that as a gay man, you’d be able to chill and hang out with, without them having an issue with your sexuality. And if push came to shove, they would stick up for you.
    So far, Cher, Madonna, and Debbie seem to fit the bill.

  5. MIke says

    In the episode of AbFab where Eddy goes to New York to find her gay son Serge they both end up at a club where Debbie is performing and Eddy says “This is your Godmother” so of course she’s an icon.

  6. don't a tell la says

    Neck and neck with “The OXD Mirror” as the “the silliest, most pointless regular feature on Towleroad. I really wish you guys would kill it off.”

  7. MickyFlip says

    I saw Debbie Harry in Greenwich back in the mid nineties. She was hanging out in the back of some car looking bored. She saw me looking at her all google eyed. She was so cool but I was too shy to say hello. She’s still cool in my opinion. And, yeah, I’d def say Gay Icon.

  8. TampaGary says

    When Blondie broke up and Debbie went solo, she played numerous gay bars with sell out crowds. She’s always defended gay rights and AIDS issues. Last time I saw her in Tampa, she stood outside, signed autographs, took pictures and thanked her loyal gay fans! She is a true Gay Icon!

  9. says

    In the episode of AbFab where Eddy goes to New York to find her gay son Serge they both end up at a club where Debbie is performing and Eddy says “This is your Godmother” so of course she’s an icon…

  10. mitch says

    Debbie is an amazing artist and the group Blondie where for all the the dumb ass out there who where not around when she ruled the world from 1978 to 82 you all missed out. What ever you think Debbie is or isn’t. Who care she was the original where all else followed From Madonna Cindy, Annie, Gwen, Kylie, Gaga etc. They have all sighted Debbie as an influence on them. Blondie did the first NY Gay Pride in 1975 10yrs way before this shower above come on the scene. Debbie is a total Iconic Goddess of gay rights always has and been part of down town from the start.

  11. Qj201 says

    The only reason I would disagree is that Drag Queens don’t really “do Debbie.” LOL

    Whatever. I LOVE HER. When I was a gay teenager I threw a fit that my mother bought me a bike for my birthday instead of tickets to see Blondie.

  12. jamal49 says

    Always loved Blondie. Had a major, I mean, MAJOR crush on Jimmy Destri. However, I think this “gay icon” thing is a bit overdone. Debby Harry is an icon to anyone who ever felt the need and/or had the courage to be “different”, gay or straight, regardless of what others might think or say.

    I love Towleroad but the “gay icon” thing is past its shelf life.

  13. Matte says

    Add me to the list of those questioning the whole “gay icon” thing. Ugh. How about “Icons for those who need someone to identify with because they are not enough within themselves.” That phenomenon goes way beyond sexual preference.

  14. enchantra says

    Debbie Harry and Blondie are indeed an icon… of the late seventies and early eighties. Not limited to gay icon status, they were bigger than that. And to save you some time, the same thing goes for the B52’s and the Go Go’s.

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