1979 – No. 1 Chart Toppers Pop Hit: “Heart of Gla…

Blondie

1979 – No. 1 Chart Toppers Pop Hit: “Heart of Glass,” Blondie. When the song hits No. 1, Andy Warhol throws a party for the group at Studio 54 in New York.

“Heart of Glass” is a song by American New Wave band Blondie. Featured on the band’s third studio album, Parallel Lines, it was released as a single in 1979 and topped the charts in several countries, most notably in the United Kingdom and United States.

Rolling Stone ranked the song #255 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Lyrics:

“Heart Of Glass”

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind
Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

In between
What I find is pleasing and I’m feeling fine
Love is so confusing there’s no peace of mind
If I fear I’m losing you it’s just no good
You teasing like you do

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

Lost inside
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside
We could’ve made it cruising, yeah

Yeah, riding high on love’s true bluish light

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out I had a heart of glass
[radio version]
Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass
[album version]
Seemed like the real thing only to find
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

History

“Heart of Glass” was originally recorded in 1975 under the name “Once I Had a Love,” and was much slower with a blues/reggae vibe to it. The song was frequently performed on tours, then was re-recorded with the same title in 1978, when the song was made a bit more rock-oriented. When Blondie recorded the album Parallel Lines, disco was big on the music scene, and producer Mike Chapman decided to give the song the disco twist that made the song what it is today, and one of the best-known Blondie recordings. For the single release the track was remixed by Chapman with the double-tracked bass drum even more accentuated.

The song was released in January 1979, and reached number one in both the US and the UK. The UK B-side was “Rifle Range”, from Blondie’s self titled debut album while the US single used the Parallel Lines track “11:59”. The accompanying music video for “Heart of Glass” was filmed at Studio 54 in New York City.

The versions appearing on the 7″ single issued in early 1979 varied from country to country, some used the regular album version (UK, 3:54), others an edited album version (US, 3:22) and others an edited version of the 12″ Disco Mix (4:10), which is the one usually found on current hits compilations like the 1994 anthology The Platinum Collection, Greatest Hits: Sight + Sound (2005) and Greatest Hits: Sound & Vision (2006). For the band’s very first hits compilation, 1981’s The Best of Blondie, producer Mike Chapman created a special mix including elements from both the 12″ Disco Version and the 12″ Instrumental (4:33). The 1981 version appears on 2002’s Greatest Hits.

Controversy

Almost immediately after its release, “Heart of Glass” became the subject of controversy because of its disco sound. At the time, Blondie was one of the bands at the forefront of New York’s growing New Wave musical scene and were accused of “selling out” for releasing a disco song. According to Blondie frontwoman Deborah Harry, “Heart of Glass” made the band pariahs in the eyes of many of their fellow musicians in the New York music scene. The band was accused of pandering to the mainstream that many punk/new wave bands at the time were actively rebelling against.

There was also the issue of the use of the expression “pain in the ass” within the lyrics which, at the time, did not sit easily with the BBC. The radio version changed it to “heart of glass.” In Australia, the song was banned from radio for its “strong language.”

Despite the controversy, the song was a huge hit and helped propel Blondie from cult group to mainstream icons. The band itself has acknowledged the success of the song in helping their careers and has downplayed criticism of the song, pointing out that Blondie always experimented with different styles of music and that “Heart of Glass” was their take on disco. The band itself has jokingly taken to referring to the song as “The Disco Song” in interviews.

Music video

The “Heart of Glass” promotional video was filmed at the Studio 54 discothèque in New York City with director Stanley Dorfman. The video begins with footage of New York City in the night before joining Blondie perform at Studio 54. Then, the video alternates between close-ups of Harry’s face as she lip-syncs, and mid-distance shots of the entire band. In the video Harry wears a silver dress designed by Stephen Sprouse. To create the dress, Sprouse photo-printed a picture of television scan lines onto a piece of fabric, and then, according to Harry, “put a layer of cotton fabric underneath and a layer of chiffon on top, and then the scan-lines would do this op-art thing”.

“Draped in a sheer, silver Sprouse dress,” Kris Needs summarized while writing for Mojo Classic, “Debbie sang through gritted teeth, while the boys cavorted with mirror balls”. Studying Harry’s attitude in the “effortlessly cool” video, music writer Pat Kane felt she “exuded a steely confidence about her sexual impact … The Marilyn

Track listing

UK 7” (CHS 2276)

1. “Heart of Glass” (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) – 3:54
2. “Rifle Range” (Stein, R. Toast) – 3:41

UK 12″ (CHS 12 2276)

1. “Heart of Glass” (12″ Disco Version) (Harry, Stein) – 5:50
2. “Heart of Glass” (12″ Instrumental) (Harry, Stein) – 5:14
3. “Rifle Range” (Stein, R. Toast) – 3:41

US 7″ (CHS 2295)

1. “Heart of Glass” (Harry, Stein) – 3:22
2. “11:59″ (Jimmy Destri) – 3:19

US 12” (CDS 2295)

1. “Heart of Glass” (12″ Disco Version) (Harry, Stein) – 5:50
2. “Heart of Glass” (12″ Instrumental) (Harry, Stein) – 5:14

Remixes and samplings

“Heart of Glass” intro (1978)
Play sound
the “Heart of Glass” beatbox intro, sampled by among others Missy Elliott
Problems listening to this file? See media help.

The first official remix of “Heart of Glass”, by Shep Pettibone, appeared on the Blondie/Debbie Harry remix compilation Once More into the Bleach in 1988 and was also issued as a single in certain territories. The song was remixed by Diddy and re-released again in July 1995, reaching number 15 in the UK Singles Chart and was included on the 1995 remix compilation Beautiful – The Remix Album. In 2007, Positiva Records released a seven-track EP consisting of the original radio and album versions of the song, plus five new remixes by DJ Edison. Missy Elliott’s 2003 hit “Work It” sampled the famous Roland CR-78 drum machine intro from the track.

Chart peaks
Chart (1979)     Peak Position
US     1
UK     1
Australia     1
Austria     1
Canada     1
New Zealand     1
Germany     1
Switzerland     1
Ireland     2
Sweden     3
Norway     5
Italy     33

Released     January 3, 1979
Format     7″, 12″ vinyl
Recorded     June 1978
Genre     Disco, New Wave
Length     5:48 (album version)
3:22 (US single version)
3:54 (UK single version)
Label     Chrysalis
Writer(s)     Deborah Harry
Chris Stein
Producer     Mike Chapman
Certification     Platinum (UK), Platinum (NZ), Gold (US), Gold (Germany)

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