Watch a Video About the Making of Blondie’s Classic ‘Heart of Glass’
When New Wave icons Blondie released ‘Heart of Glass’ in 1978, longtime fans accused the band of selling out. The song’s disco beat turned off a lot of people, who thought the group was jumping on a bandwagon.
But the band stuck behind its song, and in 1979 it reached No. 1, the first of Blondie’s four chart-topping hits. In a new video, the group’s founding guitarist and songwriter Chris Stein reveals how the track came about. (The five-minute mini-doc is the final episode of Red Bull Music Academy’s beat:repeat NYC series.)
“I loved that it pissed off our peers,” Stein says in the video. “Because it was like us being punk in the face of punk, you know?” You can watch the video above.
Influenced by dance, rap, reggae and ’60s girl-group sounds, ‘Heart of Glass’ came to Blondie’s third album, ‘Parallel Lines,’ late in the recording process. After many long sessions with producer Mike Chapman, the band was asked to come up with another song. Instead of trying to write a new one on the spot, they brought in a rough demo of ‘Heart of Glass.’
“We thought we were just referencing Kraftwerk,” Stein says. “We really didn’t focus on the disco aspect of it. It just came out.”
And a hit was born.
The above video also includes a tour of the equipment that the band used while recording the song — including the Roland CR 68 and 78, an instrument that even Stein admits was made for “schlocky lounge singers.” It was far from a respected piece of hardware at the time, especially for bands with punk and New Wave cred like Blondie.
Stein also recalls the group’s earliest days, when they played the legendary CBGB club regularly. “The New York scene was very incestuous,” Stein says. “We played at CBGB’s every weekend for seven months in a row at one point.”
Despite the backlash, ‘Heart of Glass,’ became the song that launched Blondie on the path to their platinum career. The song has since been covered or sampled by everyone from Diddy and Missy Elliott to Celine Dion and DJs across the planet.
And here’s the original classic video for ‘Heart of Glass’ from back in the day: