In 1979, Blondie were on the cusp of greatness, thriving during an exciting stage that most fortunate bands of stature go through when there’s a glow that follows almost every release.
The band had just released their fourth album in as many years, Eat To The Beat, and the steam train looked like it’d run at lightspeed forever. When they weren’t on the road playing shows, Blondie were in the studio plotting their next step, and their tireless approach is what made them a powerhouse of the highest order.
Most Blondie fans would argue that 1978’s Parallel Lines was the group at the absolute peak of their powers, a project that subsequently led to their mainstream breakthrough and handed them their first number one album in the UK. Suddenly, Debbie Harry and Co. had a sea of eyes on them, a rise which added heavy pressure as their new fans craved another record. ‘Dreaming’ was elected to be their comeback single for their new album, Eat To The Beat, and Blondie were embracing their pop-infused intuitions.
While the pop side of their sound has always been prominent, Blondie expressed it to an unprecedented degree on ‘Dreaming’ and Eat To The Beat. While pop music may be perceived as a dirty word today, Blondie showed there was a different way of doing it. The New Yorkers proved the mainstream elements of the genre didn’t need to be bereft of soul and dark lyrical content.
Commenting on the track with EW, Chris Stein had no qualms about admitting that they were lucky to avoid getting sued for the number from a certain Swedish outfit. “‘Dreaming’ is pretty much a cop of [ABBA’s] ‘Dancing Queen,'” he said. “I don’t know if that was where we started, or if it ended up just happening to sound like that.”
Meanwhile, Harry added: “Sometimes Chris will come up with a track or a feel and pass it on to me, and he’ll say, ‘I was thinking ‘Dreaming/Dreaming is free,” and then I’ll fill it out with a story line or some more phrases. A lot of times it’s the rhythm track that suggests what the lyric is going to be. I like working like that.”
The creation of the track sums up the fluid relationship that served Harry and Stein so marvellously. While she was undoubtedly the face of Blondie, which many incorrectly presumed to be a solo project, behind the scenes, the band worked democratically and left their ego’s at the door.
Additionally, this footage from their concert at Astbury Park’s Conventional Hall shows just how electric they were as a live outfit at this moment in time, and looking back at it over 40 years later, their zeitgeist status in 1979 is irrefutable.