Hey, Blondie! Congrats on making it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! What are you gonna do now?
So, anyhoo…questionable lapses in acceptance speech taste aside, Debbie Harry (along with long-time partner Chris Stein) continued making music after Blondie’s initial split in 1982 – well, actually, before.
“Koo Koo” was released in 1981, between Blondie’s “Autoamerican” and “The Hunter”. Basically driven by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Harry’s first solo shot was expected to be huge, coming off the massive success of “Autoamerican”. They must have printed millions upon millions of these suckers, ‘cuz boy, they filled cut out bins for years after. First single “Backfired” was probably a safe bet – “Hey, let’s do ‘Rapture’ again!” – but radio rejected its retread vibe. I don’t mind “Koo Koo”, but it’s not something I go out of my way to walk across the living room to my CD shelves to pick up and put on. I mean, not since I bought it and thought of posting it here, anyway.
After this stiff, Blondie returned to do the Contractual Obligation Shuffle with “The Hunter”, which bombed, too (although, my love for “Island of Lost Souls” has grown over the years). That then freed Debbie and Chris to continue putting out “solo” Debbie stuff through the ’80s, with fair to middling success (“French Kissin’ in the U.S.A.” anyone?). Her solo single output had one thing in common: None of it ever hit the Top 40, despite from fun stuff, including a collab with the Thompson Twins (“I Want That Man”).
However, Debbie (later Deborah, please), did quite well on the Dance Charts, where “Sweet and Low” made a bit of a mark near the end of the decade, complete with an excellent video that, if not directed by, was certainly influenced by Stephen Sprouse. With the exception of a Nagel print, it don’t get much more ’80s than that, kids.
“Backfired” peaked at #43 on the Billboard Hot 100, #71 on the Black Singles and #29 on the Club Play Singles Charts.
“Sweet and Low” peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart.