rock

Martin Cooper turns his at­ten­tion to catchy pop with the style of Blondie’s Chris Stein.

Guitar Techniques - - Guitar Techniques -

This month we take a look at one of the most iconic bands of the past 40 years; Blondie. Founded in 1974 by singer Deb­o­rah Harry and gui­tar player Chris Stein, the band was at the very front of the New Wave scene for around a decade dur­ing the late 70s and early-80s. Fus­ing new wave and punk on the first two al­bums, the band tasted a de­gree of suc­cess in the UK, but it was in 1978 with the re­lease of Par­al­lel Lines that they hit the big time around the world, and Deb­bie Harry be­came a house­hold name and face. Al­though the band re­tained its new wave roots, the quar­tet man­aged to build an in­fec­tious blend of rock, reg­gae and even disco into their style and al­ways laid it on the foun­da­tion of good pop song­writ­ing.

Like many of the other punk bands of the 1970s, Blondie was of­ten seen per­form­ing in the early days of their ca­reer at the renowned CBGBs club in New York, and it was there that

2014 sees Blondie’s 40th an­niver­sary, and the band is cur­rently on a world­wide tour to cel­e­brate four decades of de­served suc­cess.

front woman Harry be­gan to get recog­ni­tion from the likes of Rolling Stone mag­a­zine for the con­fi­dent swag­ger with which she sang and fronted the band.

Their most suc­cess­ful pe­riod came with hits like Heart Of Glass with drum­mer Clem Burke tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Kraftwerk for the beats, and also putting the disco style of artists such as the Bee Gees into the melt­ing pot, with strato­spheric suc­cess. More hits fol­lowed in the late 70s and early 80s be­fore the band ini­tially called time on their ca­reer.

Deb­bie Harry went on to have some suc­cess in the late 80s be­fore the band in­evitably re­formed in 1997 and re­leased the No.1 sin­gle Maria in 1999. There have also been other no­table acts that have taken in­spi­ra­tion from Blondie, and par­tic­u­larly from their front woman, such as Gwen Ste­fani’s No Doubt. 2014 sees Blondie’s 40th an­niver­sary, and they are cur­rently on a world­wide tour (in­clud­ing UK dates) to cel­e­brate four decades of de­served suc­cess.

This month’s track blends rock, new wave and touches of reg­gae, and is in the key of D mi­nor (D E F G A Bb C), al­though there are some non-di­a­tonic chords such as a B ma­jor chord in the in­tro (B D# F#), and the recurring A ma­jor (A C# E), both of which add a slightly un­com­fort­able edge to pro­ceed­ings. It’s all played quite loudly, but with a good deal of con­trol and plenty of space (a com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tic of new wave and reg­gae). A lot of the parts use sin­gle notes as well, rather than chords, and one of the ef­fects of this is that when the rock chords hap­pen, they add more im­pact. The solo is sim­ple, yet melodic and fol­lows the D mi­nor scale through­out. Thanks to Mark Pren­tice this month for play­ing bass.

Deb­bie Harry and Chris Stein play­ing live at Ding­walls,

Lon­don 1979

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