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Music

Debbie Harry and Blondie to release career-retrospective box set ‘Against the Odds 1974 – 1982’

Punk outfit Blondie have announced to release a retrospective album Against the Odds 1974 – 1982. The collection was pieced together from analogue tapes and was stitched together at Abbey Road Studios. The collection features the best part of three dozen extras, making it an insightful look at the band at work.

“It really is a treat to see how far we have come when I listen to these early attempts to capture our ideas on relatively primitive equipment,” Blondie vocalist Debbie Harry wrote in a statement. “Fortunately the essence of being in a band in the early 1970s held some of the anti-social, counter-culture energies of the groups that were the influencers of the 1960s. I am excited about this special collection. When I listen to these old tracks, it puts me there like I am a time traveller. As bad as it was sometimes, it was also equally as good. No regrets. More music.”

Harry has always served as frontperson for every iteration of Blondie, as has guitarist and songwriter Chris Stein. Keyboardist Jimmy Destri toured with the band until 2004, distancing himself from the group in an effort to wean himself off a cocaine addiction. This leaves Harry, Stein and drummer Clem Burke as the only members to have performed with every iteration of Blondie.

Contrary to popular belief, the band weren’t named after Adolf Hitler’s dog, but rather stemmed from the name audience members shouted at Harry, given her lush hair. Given Stein’s Jewish upbringing, it’s unlikely that the band would have countenanced a connection to The Third Reich, although other punk bands, notably Joy Division, had fewer compunctions with the association.

Harry was mistakenly seen as the leader of the band in certain quarters, which caused some tensions within the orbit. Harry and Stein were in a committed relationship until 1987. Clearly, the separation did not affect their working relationship, as they continue to steer the band. Interestingly, Harry is the godmother to Stein’s two daughters. Harry never married, although she is still dating, according to a piece in The Mirror. She released her memoir Face It in 2019.