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Early Blondie in Philly

The Philadelphia Story: Blondie in 1979
by Marcia Resnick

from "Blondie, From Punk to the Present: A Pictorial History"
by Allan Metz

Deborah 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 nothing.

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."

 

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