There isn’t much that Debbie Harry could do that wouldn’t please us. As the stunning face of Blondie, she quickly became an icon, but to relate everything Debbie Harry is to one vision of eighties splendour would be to miss out on the trained and talented musical ear of the singer. As proof of this educated penchant for music, Harry once selected her favourite musical moments in films, making for a perfect playlist.
The conversation arose as part of MrDeMilleFM, otherwise known as Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers, as part of an internet radio show from a few years back, he asked both Debbie Harry and Roxy Music icon Brian Eno to pick out their favourite music moments from films within the shows. While Eno’s episode stretched out across 80 minutes, as ever, Harry kept things short and sweet, with her show clocking in around the 47-minute mark. But, she doesn’t disappoint within the time frame and delivers a list of songs that will undoubtedly show not only her love for music but a budding interest in film too.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Sitting across the table form an old friend picking out moments in music, film or art that captivated your entire being and turned you into a humble and quivering fan. For Hugh Cornwell, that was a little bit different from you and I down the pub. That’s because the old friend that Cornwell was sitting across from was none other than Debbie Harry. Known for her quick-witted interviews, Harry is in fine form as she selects her favourite music moments in cinema.
Her selections share a love of classic cinema as well as a love for music. During the conversation, Harry discusses working with esteemed director David Cronenberg on Videodrome and the genius of John Waters on Hairspray but it is her selections that have got our tongues wagging.
There’s a nod to another New York great, as she picks out the appearance of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Waiting for the Miracle’ when it featured within the gruesome and acclaimed flick Natural Born Killers. Another tribute to the rock icons of the past came when she also picked out the titled track from Performance, a song delivered by none other than Merry Clayton and Jack Nitzsche, which can still rattle your bones to this day.
Harry pays tribute to some classic pictures, too, picking out Nina Rota’s ‘La Saraghina’ performance from Federico Fellini’s classic 8½ and Anton Jaras’ impeccable theme song from The Third Man. It’s not just the classics either; Harry also makes an effort to share the entire soundtrack from Fight Club by the Dust Brothers as one of the best she’s ever heard.
Another noted film is Martin Scorsese’s 1976 epic Taxi Driver which accurately captured the New York City that Harry was living in. Speaking of the film’s soundtrack from Bernard Hermann, she said: “I went to a screening of Taxi Driver recently and it was a restored version and Scorsese and Paul Schrader, who wrote the picture, did a Q&A at the end of the screening.
“Martin says, ‘I wanted Bernard Hermann to do it’,” continues Harry, paraphrasing the director, “‘I [Scorsese] went over to London and he wouldn’t even see me. He wasn’t interested. I kept pursuing him and I finally hooked up with him and got him the script and he read the script and said he would do it. But the only reason he said he would it was because he really liked the way the main character ate his cornflakes with cognac.” When listening to the theme tune, and the dusky trumpets, it’s hard not to hear this admiration come through.
Music always finds a way to make cinema more interesting. Whether it provides a more holistic tone to the visuals or provides yet another connection for the audience to achieve, music’s place in films is guaranteed for centuries to come. Below, we’ve collated all of Debbie Harry’s favourite musical moments in cinema into one perfect playlist.
Debbie Harry’s favourite film soundtracks:
- ‘Waiting for the Miracle’ by Leonard Cohen from Natural Born Killers
- ‘La Saraghina’ by Nino Rota from 8½
- What Is Fight Club? by Dust Brothers from Fight Club
- ‘O Nosso Amor’ by Luiz Bonfá and Antonio Carlos Jobim from Black Orpheus
- The Third Man by Anton Karas from The Third Man
- Taxi Driver by Bernard Herrmann from Taxi Driver
- ‘Performance’ by Merry Clayton and Jack Nitzsche from Performance
- ‘Calling You’ by Jevetta Steele from Bagdad Café