Top 10 Debbie Harry (Solo) Songs

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A pioneer of punk, pop, rap (“Rapture“), and a fashion and pop culture icon (that 1980 Andy Warhol print!), Debbie Harry was born July 1, 1945, in Miami and raised in New Jersey, and started her career in ’60s folk band Wind in the Willows before joining the Stilettoes, featuring guitarist—former husband, lifelong collaborator, and Blondie bandmate—Chris Stein.

Throughout her career with Blondie, which disbanded in 1982 and later reformed in 1997, Harry released several solo albums and also dipped into acting. First starring in David Cronenberg’s 1983 sci-fi horror Videodrome, Harry also appeared in Hairspray in 1988, the Tales From the Darkside movie (1990), and more through the 2000s in Deuces (2002), My Life Without Me in 2003, and the 2008 release Eulogy, also starring Matt Dillon and Norman Reedus.

In 2017, Harry released her 11th album with Blondie, Pollinator, followed by a worldwide tour and a document of their journey and live performances in Havana, Cuba in the short film Blondie: Vivir En La Habana, released in 2021.

In 2019, Harry also released her memoir “Face It,” baring all about drugs, loves, lovers, the music, and how wild the ride has been… so far.

“I’ve had great, happy times and I’ve had some confusion,” said Harry. “I kept going somehow and I don’t know if that’s from stubbornness or stupidity, but both those words start with an ‘st’… is anybody’s life all happy or all sad? It’s impossible. I don’t think it’s over yet. I feel like saying to everybody “Not dead yet! Not dead yet!”

Though Blondie is her root, Harry’s solo material since the 1981 debut KooKoo through her fifth album, Necessary Evil in 2007, is something to explore or revisit.

Here are a handful of purely addictive tracks within the Harry solo catalog that are worth a play, on repeat.

“French Kissin (in the USA)” (1986)

Written by sitcom legend Chuck Lorre, who would later go on to create TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, and more, “French Kissin in the USA” became a big hit in the UK. Harry promoted the track, performing it on Saturday Night Live and if you look close in the video, you’ll recognize actress Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) in her pre-Peggy Bundy Married with Children days.

“Chrome” (1981)

Still with Blondie at the time of recording her debut Kookoo, produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic, some of the band’s pop, rap, and funk beats spill into the album, but there are several stand-out moments for Harry as a solo artist, including the dreamier “Chrome.”

“Rush Rush” (1983)

Harry’s second collaboration with Italian producer Giorgio Moroder (the first, Blondie’s 1980s hit “Call Me”), “Rush Rush” was her first single after the breakup of Blondie in 1982. Recorded between her first and second solo album, “Rush Rush” is about many states of euphoria and even references yeyo, the Spanish colloquialism for cocaine.

“In Love With Love” (1987)

Written with Stein, “In Love With Love,” off her second solo album Rockbird, produced by Seth Justman of the J. Geils Band, was a sequel, said Harry, to Blondie’s 1979 hit “Heart of Glass.”

“Comic Books” (1989)

For the first time, Harry referred to herself as Deborah Harry on her third album Def, Dumb & Blonde. Never released as a single, “Comic Books” revives Harry’s punk side with the nostalgia and daydreams tied to all those paper periodicals, singing Long before I was 12 I would read by myself / Archie, Josie, super-heroes / I would read them by myself / I had the stars on my wall… 14 was a gas for me / Batman on TV / I would cheer the super-heroes / They were all I wanted to be. (Another more punk track off Def, Dumb and Blonde: “Bike Boy.”)

“Two Times Blue” (2007)

Released as the first single from Harry’s fifth solo album Necessary Evil, and Harry’s first solo release in 14 years, “Two Times Blue” hit it big on the international dance scene. There are several versions and remixes of the track by Soul Seekerz and The Stonebridge Vocal, and this one, featuring Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx side project Sixx:A.M.

“Brite Side” (1989)

Another track off Def, Dumb, and Blonde, “Brite Side” talks about looking at the positives in darker times—Whenever I feel trapped / Held by the inescapable / I try to put my mind at ease / Protect the heart worn on my sleeve / That’s when I feel brand new. Co-written with Stein, “Brite Side” was also featured on the 1980s TV show Wiseguy, which also starred Harry.

“I Can See Clearly” (1993)

Off Harry’s fourth album Debravation, which also featured instrumental backing from R.E.M. on the track “My Last Date (With You),” the first single “I Can See Clearly” was dance-y and showed off a slightly goth Harry in the video. Like many of her solo releases, Harry co-wrote many of the Debravation tracks with former partner, Blondie bandmate Chris Stein.

“Standing in My Way” (1993)

Featuring longtime friend, the late Joey Ramone, “Standing in My Way” leaves its punk mark on Debravation. Harry and Ramone (see her duet with The Ramones below) bang through the chorus with Harry’s empowering There’s a banging in my head / Every day I’m seeing red / Feel I can do nothing at all til I break the chains, tear down the wallToo many people tell me what to do, what to think, and say / Now it’s time for me to do what I want / You better get out of my way / I’m moving out, getting out of here / I can’t waste anymore time.

“I Want That Man” (1989)

Produced by Thompson Twins’ Alannah Currie and Tom Bailey, “I Want That Man” (Def Dumb, and Blonde) was Harry’s biggest hit, peaking at No. 13 in the U.S. and topping the charts internationally. At one point referencing actor Harry Dean Stanton in the lyric I want to dance with Harry Dean, the song—both ended up in a brief relationship—”I Want That Man” is a more empowering song, about getting “that man” and anything else desired in this lifetime—Here comes the twenty-first century / It’s gonna be much better for a girl like me / ‘Cause I want everything I can / But most of all I want that man.

_____

*BONUS TRACK (DUET) #1: ‘Go Lil Camaro Go” by The Ramones (Featuring Debbie Harry)

Though this track is technically by The Ramones, off their 1987 album Halfway to Sanity, it’s the perfect pairing of kindred music spirits, featuring the band’s longtime friend Harry. Though Harry has had some memorable duets (Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Perry Farrell, and more), this was a special moment in time with the late (great) Joey Ramone and Harry singing a simple tune around the summertime swoon of Girls, cars, sun, fun / Good times for everyone… Go lil’ Camaro go Oohh! Go lil’ Camaro go Oohh.

*BONUS TRACK (DUET) #2: “Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog

In 1980, two unlikely beings united for what would be one of the most iconic performances in network television. Still with Blondie at the time, Harry broke from the band to host The Muppet Show. In one of the rare performances in the five seasons of the series, a white kimono-clad Harry joined Kermit for a sweet rendition of his signature song “Rainbow Connection,” a song originally written by  Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher for The Muppets Movie in 1979. Harry later performed Blondie’s hit “Call Me” with the Muppets house band for the finale.

Photo: Press Here Publicity

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