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Blondie’s rapture in the UK: How Britain had huge influence on iconic rock band

In a new documentary iconic singer Debbie Harry reveals what it meant for Blondie to tour the UK in the late 1970s - and the major impact it had on the band

mirror.co.uk – 6th September 2023

By Nicola Methven – TV Editor

Debbie Harry says that coming to Britain was a major factor behind the success of Blondie.

The American New Wave band first played here in 1977 and a new film charts their enduring relationship with this country and how they left an indelible mark on our pop culture. Debbie says: “When I think back about all the times we’ve been to the UK, it’s been a tremendous influence on learning my craft – it’s been a big influence on us.

“I feel such a kinship to the British and the UK that when I don’t go there on a regular basis, I miss going. I like the culture. It had a deep effect on me.”

The band first played a students’ union gig in 1977 in Bournemouth before a ground-breaking TV debut on Granada TV where they played Rip Her To Shreds. Singing Denis on Top of the Pops followed in 1978.

Speaking about touring Britain in the early days, guitarist Chris Stein says: “I remember the physicality. Everybody went crazy and was pogoing and going nuts. We were all taken aback, it was very exciting. In New York there was really no rock dance going on.”

Drummer Clem Burke says: “That was the ultimate for us, to be on tour in the UK. It couldn’t have gotten any better in my mind. The music scene was taking off. It was a major catalyst for the success of Blondie. By the time we got to Top of the Pops I was like ‘yeah, this is success’.”

As well as band members past and present being interviewed for the BBC2’s When Blondie Came to Britain, there are also contributions from musicians including Squeeze’s Jools Holland, The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and Pauline Black of The Selecter.

Their story ends with Blondie’s performance on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage in June, where they performed big hits Call Me, Atomic and Rapture. The film airs this autumn and follows other …Came To Britain shows on legends Bob Marley, Nirvana and Tina Turner.


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