Blondie Greatest Hits Review

Released 2002.  

BBC Review

...no arguments - Blondie were, in modern parlance, the bomb.

Chris Jones 2002

Many things were begotten by the New York class of 76 bands: Talking Heads gave us art-rock; the Ramones gave us freedom from anything using more than three chords and lasting more than two and a half minutes; Johnny Thunders gave us a template for Guns 'n' Roses (cheers Johnny) and Television gave us mind-bending guitars and bleating poetry. But what of Blondie? Always with an eye firmly superglued to the prize, they were often reviled for their ability to mould their perfect pop into chart-ravishing hits. Plus, they had a blonde singer with an appeal beyond the geeky new wave set, so they couldn't be taken seriously, could they? Wrong, and wrong again. History has, again proven that these boys (and girl) in skinny ties were one tough, pioneering bunch. Here's the proof.

Superceding previous hits collections due to their reformation (and subsequent #1 with ''Maria''), this collection brings us up to date. Despite the undoubted quality of the recent material, Blondie's place in the pop pantheon was assured by about 1980. How many other bands could fill an entire album with nothing BUT hits (including 7 #1s)? OK, the early singles from the first album (''Rip Her To Shreds'' and ''X Offender'') weren't really hits but check out the quality. It's clear that Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri and co. knew exactly what they were doing from the word go.

You know the score, from the tumbling naivety of ''Denis'', to the widescreen bluster of ''Atomic'' or ''Union City Blue'', they couldn't put a stiletto wrong. There's the proto-rap of ''Rapture'' (bad pun, great single), the disco heaven of ''Heart Of Glass'' and the purest pop of ''Sunday Girl''. In all this chart-worrying action it's also worth remembering that they culled these nuggets from albums that never even approached shabby. Parallel Lines still stands as an artistic whole that's as valid and era-defining as Marquee Moon or Remain In Light.

So, no arguments - Blondie were, in modern parlance, the bomb. Musical chops, sharp suits and a singer whose iconic resonance has yet to fade. Yet again, they're gonna be your number one...

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