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Heart of Glass

(Deborah Harry/Chris Stein)

This song was written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein sometime in 1973/4 and originally entitled “Once I Had Love”.  It was first recorded in 1975 by the newly formed new wave band Blondie.  It was a regular on their concert tours and at the time was a much slower version than the popular one known today.  In 1978 they re-recorded it and gave it more of a rock sound and then when it was decided to include it on their Parallel Lines album the producer, Mike Chapman, put on a disco slant and included the sound of the newly created drum machine under its new name of “Heart of Glass” which is the version that we now know.  It was released as a single in January 1979 and quickly rose up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, making the No. 1 spot in the US and UK.  The two different countries gave it alternative B-Sides with the UK adding “Rifle Range” and the US “11:59” and the video was filmed at New York’s Studio 54.

This new disco sound from Blondie caused much controversy for the group with their die-hard new wave fans and many new wave and punk bands of the time, accusing them of “selling out” and “pandering to the mainstream”.  Despite supposedly being part of the more popular music scene, the song was banned on Australian radio and was looked down on by the BBC in the UK for its use of “strong language”, but as is the norm when there are bans put on records, this made it even more popular to the buying public and brought the group to the fore, where they often referred to is as “The Disco Song” in fun.

Since its 1979 success the song has been sampled, remixed and re-released on several occasions, including on a seven-track EP, and once again hit the UK charts in 1995 where it reached No. 15. In 2000 VH1 ranked it No. 79 in their 100 Greatest Dance Songs in Rock and Roll.   Many other artists from all areas of the music industry have released cover versions including The Associates, Erasure, The Shadows, Chet Atkins, Paris Hilton, and Nelly Furtado and Missy Elliott used the drum intro on her hit single “Work It”.  In the film industry it has been used in at least nine movies that include Donnie Brasco, Endless Love, One Night Stand and The Business.

Blondie recordings
Chrysalis CHS 2295 (US 45)