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Music

The song that connects Debbie Harry to her "hippie past"

@notmyyaztattoo

Debbie Harry is a true queen of the new wave scene. As the talented singer, songwriter, and frontwoman of Blondie, she and her band have found themselves at No. 1 in the US and UK charts all the way from 1979 to 2017—quite the career if I’ve ever seen one. With hits that will be remembered for years to come, looking into the music taste that shaped her makes more than enough sense.

In order to find the kind of experience and music expertise to produce hits like ‘Heart of Glass’, ‘One Way Or Another’, ‘Rapture’, ‘Call Me’, and so many more, it makes sense that she would have found herself interested in a variety of genres throughout her life, adding colour to the mixture of her experience.

Even with her rock-driven synthy tunes that the world has come to know her for, Debbie Harry actually has quite a bit of a hippy past. Although she describes some of her favourite songs all across the map, think ‘Fight the Power’ by Public Enemy and ‘That’s the Joint’ by Funky Four Plus One, one of her favourite songs is rooted deep in those hippie years that she holds dear.

A bit of a deeper cut choice, Debbie Harry maintains that Donovan’s ‘Mellow Yellow’ is one of her favourite songs of all time, reminding her of a period in her life in the 1960s.

About this choice in music taste, she says, “The period where folk was crossing over into rock was really great. There were a lot of free concerts then, happenings and be-ins, with these hippy bands with masses of people in them, banging on something, droning away. A lot of those bands didn’t exist properly, of course – they just got together and strummed and banged and hooted – it was off the wall! But at moments, it did coalesce and become very interesting. Marc Bolan was very important to me at that time, but Donovan’s Mellow Yellow really reminds me of back then. I felt like I was swirling around in it all and everything was happening around me.”

Even though Debbie left her hippy days behind for her sweet new-wave sound that brought Blondie to smashing success, it’s always fun to take a look back at the songs that bring nostalgia.

Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan has so many iconic tracks to take a look at—like ‘Jennifer Juniper’, ‘Sunshine Superman’, ‘The Lovely Day’, ‘Season of the Witch’, and of course, ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’. Even if Donovan isn’t one of the major prevailing artists that even the kids know today, he definitely produced some hits worth remembering. 

Debbie Harry is clearly no stranger to eclectic taste, and you can even hear it in some of her songs. From the hip-hop influence on ‘Rapture’ to the laid-back nature of ‘The Tide is High’, her musical influences have truly combined to make the Blondie we know and love, and those hippie years were surely a part of that.

If you want to check out the song that Debbie Harry still loves for reminding her of her hippie years, you can listen to ‘Mellow Yellow’ by Donovan here.