Discover All Of Blondie’s Hit Cover Performances
Blondie, in particularly Debbie Harry, never shied away from taking on another musician’s song. And throughout her career, Harry has proven over and over again her versatility as a singer. Being faithful to the original version is almost always the safest route but Harry adds a bit of twist to her covers thus, essentially making the track her own.
Let’s revisit some of their most unforgettable renditions.
10. Please, Please Me (The Beatles)
The Beatles’ second single, John Lennon originally intended this to be slow and bluesy. Producer George Martin wasn’t a huge fan as he deemed it “rather dreary”. Martin revealed to The Observer Music Monthly in 2006, “The songs the Beatles first gave me were crap. This was 1962 and they played a dreadful version of ‘Please Please Me’ as a Roy Orbison-style ballad. But I signed them because they made me feel good to be with them, and if they could convey that on a stage then everyone in the audience would feel good, too. So I took ‘Love Me Do’ and added some harmonica, but it wasn’t financially rewarding even though Brian Epstein bought about 2,000 copies. Then we worked for ages on their new version of ‘Please Please Me,’ and I said: ‘Gentlemen, you’re going to have your first #1.'”
9. I’m Gonna Love You Too (Buddy Holly)
Blondie covered this two decades after its first release. It was the lead single of their 1978 album “Parallel Lines” but sadly, it did not chart in the US.
8. Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey)
This theme song from the 1964 James Bond film of the same name was originally recorded by Shirley Bassey but interestingly, Blondie was briefly considered. Harry said, “They just wanted me to sing on their track. We actually wrote a song, our own version, and submitted it.”
7. Venus in Furs (Velvet Underground)
It’s a controversial song because it explored BDSM. In 1993, this track was used in a commercial for tires.
6. Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)
An absolute classic, guitarist Keith Richards wrote in Life: “‘Wild Horses’ almost wrote itself. It was really a lot to do with, once again, f—ing around with the tunings. I found these chords, especially doing it on a twelve-string to start with, which gave the song this character and sound. There’s a certain forlornness that can come out of a twelve-string. I started off, I think, on a regular six-string open E, and it sounded very nice, but sometimes you just get these ideas. What if I open tuned a twelve-string? All it meant was translate what Mississippi Fred McDowell was doing – twelve-string slide – into five-string mode, which meant a ten-string guitar.”
5. Bang A Gong (Get It On) (T. Rex)
An essential glam rock song, Blondie recorded their live version on November 4, 1978 at The Paradise Ballroom in Boston, MA. It was then featured on the 1978 “Headlines” and the 2001 reissue of “Parallel Lines”.
4. Pet Sematary (The Ramones)
As the title suggests, it was originally written for a film adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel. The Ramones’ music video featured cameos by Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. And so it comes as no surprise that Blondie eventually covered it.
3. Heroes (David Bowie)
A timeless track from David Bowie’s “Berlin” period, it became one of his signature songs. It’s also part of his set at the 1985 Live Aid. He told Performing Songwriter, “I’ll never forget that. It was one of the most emotional performances I’ve ever done. I was in tears. They’d backed up the stage to the wall itself so that the wall was acting as our backdrop. We kind of heard that a few of the East Berliners might actually get the chance to hear the thing, but we didn’t realize in what numbers they would. And there were thousands on the other side that had come close to the wall. So it was like a double concert where the wall was the division. And we would hear them cheering and singing along from the other side. God, even now I get choked up. It was breaking my heart. I’d never done anything like that in my life, and I guess I never will again. When we did ‘Heroes’ it really felt anthemic, almost like a prayer.”
2. Denis (Randy & the Rainbows)
Blondie retitled this from “Denise”. It’s the song that helped propel them toward global stardom. It was a hit in several countries but not the US.
1. Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves)
One of Blondie’s best songs without a doubt. Harry recalled, “We were playing it in the back of a taxicab in Tokyo, and the taxicab driver started tapping his hand on the steering wheel. When we came back to the US, we found that the Nerves weren’t together anymore and we said, ‘Gee, we should record this.'”