Philadelphia Story: Blondie in 1979
by Marcia Resnick
From Punk to the Present: A Pictorial History"
by Allan Metz
Harry having health food backstage after the Tower Theater
concert, mugging for the camera. Credit:
© Marcia Resnick
[Click here for more pix]
Philadelphia was a natural background for the raucous dances
and frenetic Motown grooves that accompanied teenage life.
According to Phil Spector. It "was just the most insane and the
most dynamic city in the history of Rock and Roll" (DeCurtis and
Henke, 108). How appropriate, then, to experience Blondie at the
Tower Theater in Philly in July 1979.
I, Marcia Resnick, a fine arts educator and freelance
photographer (Soho News, New York Rocker, Rolling Stone) was
working on a project entitled "Bad Boys, A Compendium of Punks,
Poets and Politicians."
I was exploring both the nature of power, aggression, fame
and sexuality among controversial men and women, and also the
ironic gamut of meanings for the word "bad" — from "evil" to
"naughty" to "really cool" to "good." It was this very quality
of "badness" which rendered my subjects more formidable to their
opponents and more endearing to their audience.
In 1979, Blondie was a cool and crazy band with an inherently
mod aesthetic. Their unique aura was generated from the time
when the 50's met the 60's, when the Lords of Flatbush and other
ducktailed types hung out with their "hitter" girlfriends in the
backseats of cars or on neighborhood street corners before malls
existed. The boys of Blondie, in their pegged pants, narrow
lapels and pointy shoes, surrounded the one girl, Debbie, a
dazzling blond reminiscent of Ann-Margret in "Kitten With a
Whip" or Tuesday Weld in "Lord Love a Duck," wearing shades, a
miniskirt, tights and thigh-high boots, the kind that were "made
for walking." The group "digs" everything and is shocked by
These "enfant terribles" of the Lower East Side music scene
stood for the metamorphosis of the Beat Generation into the
Blank Generation. Inspired by their cultural heroes, William
Burroughs, James Dean, etc., they exuded a sense of villainy
co-existing with vulnerability. This time in the life of the
band was to become the time when friends, like myself, became
fans, and when they were to "find themselves" and finally find
their audience because they had found their "sound."