Three of the most interesting new wave singers are women. They are different, their songs are different: they’re often worth reading. They talked to Georgina Howell.
DEBORAH HARRY of BLONDIE
Deborah Harry’s fan mail tells her two things over and over again: that she looks like Marilyn Monroe, and that she should have the words of her songs printed (Chrysalis have done so with the latest album, Parallel Lines). The group Blondie got its present line-up three years ago: Debbie, Clement Burke on drums, James Destri on keyboard, Nigel Harrison on bass, Frank Infanti on guitar, and Chris Stein – whom she may marry – on lead guitar. They were first seen here as the support group to Television at the time when Derek Jarman was making Jubilee. Daughter of a New Jersey garment salesman, Debbie Harry is not just a beautiful face: Denis, Denis and I’m Always Touched by Your Presence, Dear both made the top ten, one of them a Gold, and her style has developed since Sex Offender, her first single. She sings like no one else, whether she sings sweet or raucous, and no one looks as good: at the Hammersmith Odeon, dancing in a black rubber catsuit from Halston, shaking her hair over her face, singing “I’m gonna getcha”, she got her audience running for the stage. “Punk has been misunderstood. It’s not a style, it’s a time. Television and Dr Feelgood were two of the originals, but you couldn’t call either group Punk.
“Each song is individual. Sometimes one of us writes the words, another the music, or we do them together. I wrote the words for Parallel Lines, three of us did Picture This.
“We’ve just done an hysterical live TV show in Amsterdam… Jimmy fell over and his piano fell over, his feet were up in the air, Clem decided to jump over his drums, and Chris banged his head. The kids in the front row were all banging their heads.
“My favourite clothes are by Steven Sprouse, who used to work with Halston… short skirts, high boots… loose clothes, tight pants… monochrome, red, black, turquoise and a lot of yellow.”