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Deborah Ann "Debbie" Harry (born July 1, 1945) is an Americanmarker singer–songwriter and actress, most famous for being the lead singer for the New Wave band Blondie. She has also had success as a solo artist, and in the mid-1990s she also performed and recorded as part of The Jazz Passengers. Harry has also engaged in an acting career with over 30 film roles and several television appearances to her credit.

Life and early career

Harry is the daughter of Catherine and Richard Harry, who adopted her at age 3 months from Miami, Florida. Her parents are gift shop proprietors from Hawthorne, New Jerseymarker. She attended Hawthorne High Schoolmarker, where she graduated in 1963. She graduated from Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey with an Associate of Arts Degree in 1965. Before starting her singing career she moved to New York City in the late 1960s and worked as a secretary at BBC Radio's New York City office for one year. Later, she was a waitress at Max's Kansas Citymarker, and worked in a Dunkin' Donuts, after which she was a dancer in Union Citymarker, and a Playboy Bunny. She currently resides at New Yorks "London Terrace Gardens"

She began her musical career with a folk rock group, The Wind in the Willows. Harry then joined a girl-group trio, The Stilettos, in the early 1970s. The Stilettos' backup band included her eventual boyfriend and Blondie guitarist, Chris Stein. Harry and Stein formed the band Blondie in the mid-1970s, naming it for the wolf whistle men often yelled at Harry from passing cars. Blondie quickly became regulars at Max's Kansas Citymarker and CBGBmarker in New York Citymarker. After a debut album in 1976, commercial success followed in the late 1970s to the early 1980s, first in Australia and Europe, then in the United Statesmarker.

While leading Blondie, Harry and Stein became life partners as well as musical partners, although they never married;Harry has no children. In the mid-1980s, she took a few years off to nurse Stein back to health after he suffered a life-threatening disease. Stein and Harry broke up in the 1990s, but they have continued to work together.


Debbie Harry performing in Toronto

Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin
With her two-tone bleached-blonde hair, Harry quickly became a recognizable punk icon. Her look was further popularized by the band's early presence in the music video revolution of the era. She was a continued regular at Studio 54marker and was associated with Andy Warhol. In June 1979, Blondie graced the cover of Rolling Stone. Harry's stage persona of cool sexuality and streetwise style became so closely associated with the group's name that many came to believe the singer's name to be "Blondie". The difference between the individual Harry and the band Blondie was famously highlighted with a "Blondie is a Group" button campaign by the band in 1979. To complicate matters further, Harry sometimes described her character in the band as being named "Blondie", as in this quote from the No Exit tour book:

Through 1976 and 1977, Blondie released their first two albums to varying success outside the U.S. However, 1978's Parallel Lines (US #6, UK #1) shot the group to international success and included the smash hit single, "Heart of Glass". The release of Eat to the Beat (US #12, UK #1) in 1979 and Autoamerican (US #7, UK #3) in 1980, continued the band's run of hits, including "Atomic" and three more US #1 singles: "The Tide Is High", "Rapture" and "Call Me" from the film soundtrack, American Gigolo.

After a year long hiatus in 1981, during which Harry released her first solo album (see below), Blondie regrouped and released their sixth studio album The Hunter (US #33, UK #9), which featured the U.S. and UK hit single "Island of Lost Souls" and the minor UK hit "War Child". Blondie launched a North American tour to support the release, but it was cut short when Stein fell ill with the rare autoimmune disease, pemphigus. Coupled with declining sales, the band split up.

Later in the 1980s, the remix album Once More Into The Bleach was released, featuring remixes of tracks by Blondie and from Harry's solo career. The mid-1990s saw the release of further Blondie remix albums Beautiful in Europe and Remixed Remade Remodeled in the U.S. New mixes of "Heart of Glass", "Atomic" and "Union City Blue" were released as singles and all made the UK Top 40, while remixes of "Atomic", "Rapture" and "Heart of Glass" had major success on the U.S. dance charts.

In 1997, Blondie began working together again for the first time in 15 years. Two tracks were recorded with TV Mania, the production trio of two Duran Duran members, Nick Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo, and producer Anthony J. Resta. "Studio 54" and "Pop Trash Movie" were scheduled to be released on a Blondie compilation, entitled This Is Blondie. However, the project and the tracks were shelved as the four original members (Harry, Stein, Clem Burke and Jimmy Destri) embarked on sessions for what would become Blondie's seventh studio album. During this period, they released a cover of Iggy Pop's "Ordinary Bummer" on the tribute album We Will Fall (1997).

After a final tour of Europe with The Jazz Passengers in the summer of 1998, Deborah Harry resumed duties as lead vocalist of Blondie. Prior to the release of No Exit, the band completed a sold out tour of Europe. Dates at London's Lyceum Theatremarker were recorded by the BBC and aired on national BBC Radio 1. A week prior to the release of No Exit, the lead single "Maria" debuted at number one in the UKmarker, giving Blondie their sixth UK No.1 hit. "Maria" also reached #1 in 14 different countries, the top 10 on the U.S. Dance Charts and Top 15 on the U.S. Adult Top 40 Charts. No Exit debuted at No.3 in the UK and #17 in the U.S. and Blondie announced dates for a major arena tour that summer, during which they played the Glastonbury Festivalmarker and Party in the Park in Londonmarker. "Nothing Is Real but the Girl" was another UK Top 30 hit, while the title track was released as a limited edition single to coincide with further arena dates in November of that year.

Harry entered the Guinness World Book of Records in 1999 as the "Oldest Female Singer to Reach No. 1 in the UK Chart", when Blondie went to number one with "Maria" on February 13, 1999 at the age of 53 years and 227 days.

Tracks culled from dates throughout the 1999 world tour were released as a live album, titled Live in the U.S. and Livid in the UK and were released in late 1999 and early 2000, respectively. A Blondie Live companion DVD was also released, recorded at a show in New York City's The Town Hall.

Harry performing in July 2007.
Although Blondie commenced recording tracks for the follow-up to No Exit in 2001, the sessions were besieged with problems including the loss of master tapes after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In the winter of 2002, Blondie returned with a full scale UK tour. This preceded the release of a new single in 2003 entitled "Good Boys" (a hit across the UK and Europe that autumn, and top 10 on the U.S. Dance Charts the following spring) and the release of Blondie's eighth studio album, The Curse of Blondie. The band toured throughout 2003 and 2004, completing two further full scale tours of the UK.

A second live album, entitled Live By Request, was released in 2005, along with a companion DVD set. In that year, the band also released the mash-up "Rapture Riders", which combined their 1981 hit "Rapture" with The Doors' "Riders on the Storm". This track was taken from a greatest hits compilation entitled Sound and Vision (first issued in the UK as Sight + Sound), released with a companion DVD disk and new mixes of "In the Flesh" and "Good Boys".

In the winter of 2005, Blondie toured the UK for the fourth time in as many years. In 2006, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker. Around this time, Blondie released a new studio track, a cover of Roxy Music's 1982 hit "More Than This". This was to promote their "Road Rage" tour and the single was made available for free download.

At the end of 2006, a new mix of "Heart of Glass" became a club hit in Europe, while Harry released the single "New York New York", a collaboration with Moby. The song debuted on YouTube, some four weeks before its official release.

In the summer of 2007, Blondie toured in the UK once again. Around this time, Harry delineated the different personas (Blondie the band, her role in the band and Deborah Harry, the singer) in an interview which asked why she played only solo music on the 2007 True Colors Tour: "I've put together a new trio with no Blondie members in it - I really want to make a clear definition between Debbie's solo projects and Blondie - and I hope that the audience can appreciate that and also appreciate this other material."

On July 3, 2008, Blondie commenced a world tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Parallel Lines with a sell-out concert at the amphitheatre in Ra'ananamarker, Israelmarker. During the tour, drummer Clem Burke stated that the tour had inspired the band to make another record. It will be their first new album since the release of The Curse of Blondie in 2003.

In 2009 Blondie went on tour with Pat Benatar for the "Call Me Invincible" tour. The majority of the shows will be opened by The Donnas.

Solo albums

To date, Harry has released five solo albums. Harry began her solo career with the Chrysalis Records album Koo Koo in 1981. The album peaked at #28 in the US and #6 in the UK; it was later certified gold in the US and Silver in the UK. "Backfired", the first single from the album, had a video directed by H. R. Giger and climbed to #43 on the Billboard Hot 100, #29 on the Hot Dance Club Songs and #32 on the UK Singles Chart. "The Jam Was Moving" was lifted as the second single and peaked at #82 in the US.In 1986, Harry released her second solo album on Geffen Records Rockbird, which peaked at #97 in the US and #31 in the UK (where it has been certified Gold by the BPI). The single "French Kissin' in the USA" gave Harry her only UK solo top 10 hit (#8) and became a moderate US hit. Other singles released from the album were "Free to Fall" and "In Love with Love" which hit #1 on the U.S. Dance Charts and was released with several remixes.

Her next solo venture was the Sire Records album Def, Dumb and Blonde in 1989. At this point Harry reverted from "Debbie" to "Deborah" for her professional name. The first single "I Want That Man" was a hit in Europe, Australia, and on the U.S. Modern Rock Charts. The success of the single propelled the album to #12 on the UK charts. However, the US was less receptive and it peaked at #123. She followed this up with the ballad "Brite Side" and the club hit "Sweet and Low". "Maybe for Sure", a track originally recorded by Blondie for the Rock and Rule animated film, was the fourth single released from the album in June 1990 to coincide with a UK tour (her second in six months). "Kiss It Better" was also a Top 15 Modern Rock single in the U.S.

From 1989 to 1991, Harry toured extensively across the world with former Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, Underworld's Karl Hyde, and future Blondie bassist Leigh Foxx. In July 1991, she played Wembley Stadiummarker with INXS. In 1991, Chrysalis released a "best of" compilation in Europe entitled The Complete Picture: The Very Best of Deborah Harry and Blondie, containing hits with Blondie as well as solo hits. The collection reached #3 in the UK album charts. The album also included her duet with Iggy Pop on the Cole Porter song "Well, Did You Evah!" from the Red Hot + Blue AIDS charity album released at the end of 1990.

Harry's fourth solo album, Debravation, appeared in July 1993. The album's first single was "I Can See Clearly", which peaked at #23 in the UK and #2 on the U.S. dance charts. This was followed by "Strike Me Pink" in September. Controversy surrounded the latter track's promotional video which featured a man drowning in a water tank, resulting in it being banned. U.S. editions of the album feature two additional tracks recorded with pre-recorded music by R.E.M.: "Tear Drops" and "My Last Date (With You)".

In November 1993, Harry toured the UK with Stein, Peter Min, Greta Brinkman and . The set list of the Debravation Tour featured an offbeat selection of Harry material including the previously unreleased track "Close Your Eyes" (from 1989) and "Ordinary Bummer" (from the Stein- produced Iggy Pop album Zombie Birdhouse; a track which under the moniker "Adolph's Dog" Blondie would cover in 1997). Tentative plans to record these shows and release them as a double live CD never came to fruition. However, a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" is available as a bootleg. At the end of 1993, Chrysalis released the Blondie rarities collection Blonde and Beyond, which featured the previously unreleased tracks "Scenery" and "Underground Girl". In early 1994, Harry took the Debravation tour to the U.S.

In 2006, Harry started work in New York City on tracks for her fifth solo album Necessary Evil (2007). Working with production duo Super Buddha (who produced the remix of Blondie's "In the Flesh" for the 2005 Sound and Vision compilation) the first music to surface in was a hip hop track entitled "Dirty and Deep" in which she spoke out against rapper Lil' Kim's incarceration.

Throughout 2006, a number of new tracks surfaced on Harry's MySpace page, including "Charm Alarm", "Deep End", "Love With Avengence", "School for Scandal" and "Necessary Evil", as well as duets she recorded with Miss Guy (of Toilet Böys fame). These were "God Save New York" and "New York Groove". A streaming version of the lead single, "Two Times Blue", was added to Harry's My Space page in May 2007. On June 6, 2007, an iTunes downloadable version was released via her official web site,

Harry performing in June 2007.

Harry joined Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour for the Human Rights Campaign. She is a strong advocate for gay rights and same-sex marriage. Though she has stated that she identifies as mostly heterosexual, Harry has said she has had intimate relationships with both men and women.

Necessary Evil was released on Eleven Seven Music after Harry completed both a solo tour of the US in June 2007 and a European tour with Blondie in July 2007. The first single, "Two Times Blue", peaked at #5 on the US Dance Club Play chart. The album debuted at #86 in the UK and #37 in the US Billboard Top Independent Albums chart.

To promote the album, Harry appeared on various talk shows to perform "Two Times Blue". She also started a 22-date U.S. tour on November 8, lasting until December 9, playing small venues and clubs across the country. On January 18, 2008, an official music video for "If I Had You" was released.

Other musical projects

In 1983 Harry teamed up with Giorgio Moroder (with whom she had worked previously on Blondie's "Call Me") on the song "Rush Rush", which was featured in the film Scarface (and later, the Grand Theft Auto III radio station "Flashback FM"). Harry's single "Feel the Spin", produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez, was released (as a 12" single only) in 1985. That song, along with the whole soundtrack to the film Krush Groove, peaked at #5 on the U.S. Dance Charts. The song's "uno dos tres quatro" intro has been sampled on a number of records, including S'Express' "Theme from S'Express".
While recording her fourth album in 1992, Harry collaborated with German heavy metal band Die Haut on the track "Don't Cross My Mind", and released the song "Prelude to a Kiss" on the soundtrack to the film of the same name. She also released a cover of "Summertime Blues" from the soundtrack to the film That Night in Australia.

In the mid-1990s, Harry teamed up with New York avant-garde jazz ensemble The Jazz Passengers. Between 1994 and 1998 she was a permanent member of the troupe, touring North America and Europe. She was a featured vocalist on their 1994 album In Love singing the track "Dog In Sand". The follow-up album, 1997's Individually Twisted, is credited as "The Jazz Passengers featuring Deborah Harry" and Harry sings vocals throughout, teaming up with guest Elvis Costello for a cover of "Doncha Go Way Mad". The album also features a re-recorded version of the song "The Tide Is High". A live album entitled Live In Spain, again featuring Harry on vocals, was released in 1998.

Harry collaborated on a number of other projects with other artists. She featured as vocalist on Talking Heads side project The Heads' 1996 release No Talking, Just Head (performing the title track and "Punk Lolita"). She also sings on a cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever" by Argentinemarker band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. In 1997 she collaborated with Jazz Passenger Bill Ware in his side project Groove Thing, singing lead vocals on the club hit "Command and Obey". Another JP collaboration appeared on the Edgar Allan Poe tribute album Closed on Account of Rabies (1997). Harry also reunited with Blondie keyboardist Jimmy Destri for a cover of Otis Blackwell's "Don't Be Cruel" for the 1995 tribute album Brace Yourself. During this period she also recorded a duet with Robert Jacks entitled "Der Einzige Weg (The Only Way) - Theme from Texas Chainsaw Massacre", although this did not surface until 1999. Likewise, at the end of 1999, Chrysalis Records released a best of her solo recordings entitled Most of All - The Best of Deborah Harry and a remix of "I Want That Man".

Aside from writing and recording material for Blondie, Harry pursued various other projects. She appears on the 2001 Bill Ware album Vibes 4 singing the track 'Me and You' as well as on ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers's album, Peggy's Blue Skylight on the track "Weird Nightmare". A techno cover of Stan Jones' "Ghost Riders in the Sky" was featured on the soundtrack to the film Three Business Men and was available on her website to download. Harry sings on two tracks on Andrea Griminelli's Cinema Italiano project; "Amarcord" and "You'll Come To Me", as well as on a tribute album reinterpreting the music of Harold Arlen, on which she sings the title track "Stormy Weather". In May 2002, she accompanied The Jazz Passengers and the BBC Concert Orchestra in a performance of her jazz material at the Barbican Centremarker in London. In 2003, she was featured vocalist on the song "Uncontrollable Love" by electro-clash dance producers Blow Up.

Harry also contributed to Fall Out Boy's 2008 album Folie à Deux. She sings on the chorus of the album's closer "West Coast Smoker".

Harry is a credited co-writer on a song called "Supersensual" that appears on Australian singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte's debut album 1000 Stars. The song samples the recognizable "woo-ooo-wo-oh" refrain from "Heart of Glass".

Acting roles

Harry has appeared on Broadwaymarker with Andy Kaufman in the wrestling play Teaneck Tanzi. A retitled version of the Britishmarker play Trafford Tanzi, the show failed to transplant itself successfully to Broadway, and opened and closed in one night. Later that year Harry, who had already appeared in a number of independent and underground films, made her major motion picture debut in the David Cronenberg film Videodrome, in which she plays the character Nicki Brand.

Following the release of Rockbird, Harry took a number of acting roles including the villainous Velma Von Tussle in John Waters' Hairspray (1988). A cover of the The Castaways' "Liar Liar" from the soundtrack to the film Married to the Mob was released as a single in the U.S. Harry's version of Michael Jay's "Mind Over Matter" was also recorded in this period, but never released. Harry starred in a film called "Forever Lulu", also known as "Crazy Streets", in 1987 alongside Alec Baldwin in his first ever film appearance. She had only one line but made appearances throughout the film. She also starred in the film Intimate Stranger, as Cory Wheeler, who was a telephone sex worker being pursued by a serial killer.

Some of Harry's other notable film roles are appearances in Videodrome (1983); Union City (1980); New York Beat Movie (otherwise known as Downtown '81, in which she plays the angel of the East Villagemarker alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat); Rock & Rule (1983), an animated movie where she did vocals opposite Robin Zander of Cheap Trick; and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). She also had notable roles in such films as Spun, The Fluffer, Cop Land, Heavy and My Life Without Me, and was featured in David Munro's 2006 film Full Grown Men.

Her TV guest appearances include The Muppet Show, an episode of FOX's MADtv, the pilot episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch with Penn and Teller, Absolutely Fabulous, Saturday Night Live (as a musical guest and a host), Wiseguy, and season 5 Will & Grace (though her appearance in the season 5 finale of the show was cut from subsequent versions of the episode after its initial 2003 transmission, including DVD releases).

She had a voice role in the video game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, as a cab dispatcher.

She sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" over the closing credits of Alex Cox's film Three Businessmen.

She played the role of "Elizabeth" in the FMV-based game Double Switch, which was released for the Sega CD (1993), the Sega Saturn, Apple Macintosh, and Windows 95.

She made her second stage appearance in Edgar Oliver's play The Drowning Pages at La MaMa ETC in 2000.

She played the lead in the 2005 short film I Remember You Now, directed by Henry S. Miller, and worked with the same director again in his 2007 psychological thriller Anamorph.

In 2007, Harry came into's The DL Show and performed a skit, teaching a new generation about punk music.

She also recently appeared in comedian/youtube sensation John Robert's video titled "That Smell" as Fran, a friend of his character Mom.

Current projects

  • Harry is one of the faces of MAC Cosmetics' Viva Glam VI campaign. The campaign donates every cent of the selling price of their iconic lipstick shades to the MAC AIDS Fund, which helps people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.



Year Album U.S. UK New Zealandmarker U.S. sales

UK sales

1981 Koo Koo 25 6 17 500,000 60,000
1986 Rockbird 97 31 22 100,000
1989 Def, Dumb and Blonde 123 12 9 60,000
1993 Debravation 24 40,000
2007 Necessary Evil 86 18,000

Compilation Albums

Year Album U.S. UK Australia New Zealandmarker
1988 Once More into the Bleach
(Debbie Harry and Blondie)
50 47
1991 The Complete Picture: The Very Best of Deborah Harry and Blondie
(Deborah Harry and Blondie)
3 6 1
1998 Deborah Harry Collection
1999 Most of All - The Best of Deborah Harry
2004 French Kissin' - The Collection

Other Albums


Artist credit Year Song U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Dance U.S. Modern Rock Australia New Zealand Canada UK singles Album
Debbie Harry 1981 "Backfired" 43 29 - 23 28 - 32 Koo Koo
"The Jam Was Moving" 82 - - - - - -
"Chrome" - - - - - - -
1983 "Rush, Rush" 105 28 - 25 39 42 87 Scarface (soundtrack)
1985 "Feel the Spin" - - - - - - - Krush Groove (soundtrack)
1986 "French Kissin'" 57 - - 4 2 96 8 Rockbird
1987 "In Love with Love" 70 1 - - - - 45
"Free to Fall" - - - - - - 46
1988 "Liar, Liar" - - 14 - - - - Married to the Mob (soundtrack)
Deborah Harry 1989 "I Want That Man" - - 2 2 8 - 13 Def, Dumb and Blonde
"Kiss It Better" - - 12 - - - -
"Brite Side" - - - - - - 59
1990 "Sweet and Low" - 17 - 30 - - 57
"Maybe for Sure" - - - - - - 89
Deborah Harry & Iggy Pop 1991 "Well, Did You Evah!" - - - - - - 42 Red Hot + Blue
Deborah Harry 1993 "I Can See Clearly" - 2 - - - - 23 Debravation
"Strike Me Pink" - - - - - - 46
Groove Thing
featuring Debbie Harry
1997 "Command and Obey" - 42 - - - - - This Is No Time
1999 "Command and Obey" (Remix) - 49 - - - - - -
Deborah Harry "I Want That Man" (Almighty Remix) - - - - - - - Most of All - The Best of Deborah Harry
Moby feat. Debbie Harry 2006 "New York, New York" - 10 - - - - 43 Go – The Very Best of Moby
Debbie Harry 2007 "Two Times Blue" - 5 - - - - - Necessary Evil
Deborah Harry 2008 "If I Had You" - - - - - - -
"Fit Right In" - - - - - - - Digital Single Release Only



Short Subjects

  • A New Face of Debbie Harry (1982)
  • Sandman (1996)
  • Who Is Harry Smith? (1998)
  • Honey Trap (2005)
  • Patch (2005)
  • I Remember You Now... (2005)


  1. Deborah Harry Biography (1945-) Film Reference
  2. Rohan, Virginia. Harry also graduated from Centenary College. "North Jersey-bred and talented too", The Record , June 18, 2007. Accessed June 25, 2007. "Debbie Harry: Class of 1963, Hawthorne High School"
  3. 2004 Guinness World Book of Records (paper) (in English), p. 18. ISBN 0-85112-180-2. "Humans" chapter.
  4. GaydarNation
  5. Deborah Harry Reads Oliver's Gloomy Drowning Pages May 6-14 At La MaMaBy Christine Ehren, 06 May 2000, Playbill News
  6. RIAA
  7. The Bpi

External links

Official sites

Media links

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