When Blondie released their now-iconic disco-punk jam ‘Heart of Glass’ in 1979 the band produced reverberations that would rattle around the punk scene and confirm Blondie as new wave icons. It was with this song that Debbie Harry and Co. ushered in the era of new wave and made it okay to clean up punk’s grim dancefloor.
Just one year later, as the band were scheduled to perform a three-night residency at the illustrious Hammersmith Apollo in London, Blondie would kick up the disco-dancefloor infusion with a near-perfect cover of Donna Summer’s 1977 disco anthem, ‘I Feel Love’. It’s a joyful performance that confirms Blondie, and especially Debbie Harry, as all-conquering performers.
The three sold-out nights in one of London’s biggest venues was a mark of how far Blondie had come in such a short time in itself. Only truly bursting onto the scene in 1976, the band had carved their own path by 1980 with the tools at their disposal; rhythm, songwriting skill, panache and a dressed to kill attitude. Undeterred by punks aggrieved at their transcending sound and unstoppable on the stage—Blondie was nearing the peak of their powers.
For audiences arriving at the venue on the middle night of the three-night stint, the band had something special up their sleeve. As well as a performance littered with pogo-ing pearlers, Blondie also looked to cover some of the music world’s triumphant numbers. Harry and the band produced cover versions of The Nerves, Richard Berry, David Bowie, James Brown and, the reason we’re all here—Donna Summer.
The band dropped a bunch of hits and decided to record the night. What transpired from that was a live version of the song, which you can hear below. The cover of ‘I Feel Love’ was included as a B-side to Blondie’s 1995 re-issued single ‘Union City Blue.’ It even features King Crimson and longtime Blondie friend, Robert Fripp on guitar.
All that combined makes for a wonderful cover of one of disco’s pre-eminent tracks by one of punk’s most golden voices—it’s a treat. So we will leave you with Harry’s first words on the matter, simply: “Wanna hear somethin’ else?”
It’s a beautiful moment that sees Debbie Harry and Blondie transcend genre and category to deliver one of their finest covers.
Blondie, London Hammersmith Odeon, 1980, setlist:
‘Union City Blue’
‘The Hardest Part’
‘Living in the Real World’
‘Die Young, Stay Pretty’
‘Accidents Never Happen’
‘Heart of Glass’
‘Eat to the Beat’
‘Hanging on the Telephone’ – (The Nerves cover)
‘Louie Louie’ – (Richard Berry cover)
‘I Feel Love’ – (Donna Summer cover)
‘Heroes’ – (David Bowie cover)
‘I Got You’ (I Feel Good) – (James Brown cover)
‘One Way or Another’