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Blondie, From Punk to the Present: A Pictorial History

(ed.)Allan Metz

(Musical Legacy Publications, 2004)


It's about time there was a comprehensive tribute to all things Blondie. This really is a compelling story, the history of one of the most influential punk to pop bands, and their more recent reinvention.

This 500 page tome is a fan's delight and a trainspotter's bible. It is presented with an academic zeal, so crammed full with references and information pulled in from a vast range of sources. These include musicians, journalists, magazines and other Blondie observers. There are essays aplenty. The rise, demise, and rise of the band is charted, and is set against the backdrop of late 'seventies New York punk life and the infamous CBGB's.

If you want to know about drummer Clem Burke's heart rate during Blondie's 1999 world tour, look no further. Yes, it's that detailed, and no doubt will fuel Blondie pop quizzes for the rest of the millennium.

The curious (or the unhealthily fixated) will also be pleased with the mass of previously unseen photographs of Deborah Harry. In this context, the strictly black and white publication doesn't really do justice to our icon, and some judicious colour shots would have been impressive, if maybe adding a little to the expense of the book and probably ensuring some more sticky fingerprints in the process.

In retrospect, Harry is seen very much as a trailblazer for women in rock, and many of the current crop of female stars own up to her influence, not least Madonna.

Skillfully and lovingly edited by Allan Metz this is an essential purchase for the fan, but of wider interest to those who wish to learn about one of the great pop phenomenons of the past thirty years. Others will simply ogle at the pictures. And why not?


Review by David Randall

Buy this CD

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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