Stepping back into the Far Out vault, we’re revisiting the moment that Blondie announced themselves in Japan by performing a rousing rendition of ‘Kidnapper’. The spectacle, which arrived as an iconic moment, has stood the test of time and is more than worthy of reflecting upon all these years later.
1978 was the band’s breakout year, a moment in which the mainstream woke up to what Blondie had been doing through the previous years and, while they were making a name for themselves on the underground punk movement, the band were about to become the poster boys (and girls) for the new wave crashing down across the globe.
Blondie’s success took off internationally before it did on home soil. Their 1977 song ‘In The Flesh’ made it to number two in the Australian singles chart and the New Yorkers were also making a name for themselves in the UK when their second album, Plastic Letters, entered the charts in the top 10 despite only reaching 78 initially in America.
This global reputation they were amassing led to an invitation to appear on the Japanese television programme ‘Sound City’ to coincide with the release of their sophomore record. It was an invitation they duly accepted and would see them make their debut appearance in Asia before they would be finally welcomed on to American television some months later.
For a band so entrenched in the American psyche, it’s strange to think that they were far more famous overseas than they were at home, at least in 1978. Having been the definition of what people from Europe and Asia think of when New York’s late 70s culture springs to mind, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri and Nigel Harrison were a welcomed slice of the Big Apple.
‘Kidnapper’ became an extra special release in Japan for Blondie, as well as being included on Plastic Letters, hence why the East Coast band were invited to travel halfway across the world to perform it on national television.
Harry’s look was particularly striking with audiences across the globe marvelling at her beauty. She was so much more than a pretty face and her presence will have undoubtedly felt otherworldly to the Japanese audience who were not as accustomed back then to seeing someone who looked like Harry. It must’ve wowed audiences tuning in to watch ‘Sound City’.
Later on, in 1978, Blondie would release their third record Blondie Parallel Lines which would catapult them to a newfound level of stardom that they wouldn’t have dreamt of some 12 months previously, with the album selling over 20 million copies worldwide to date and securing their iconic status at the same time.
This killer performance of the electrifying ‘Kidnapper’ on ‘Sound City’ is a high point in a year full of high points from one of the most siginificant artists of all time, devour it below.