Debbie Harry (born
July 1, 1945) is a Miami-born American rock and roll musician who
originally gained fame as the frontwoman for New Wave band Blondie
in the 1970s and 80s. She was a regular at CBGB's, a famous New York
City club that was an early epicenter for punk rock. In 1981 (see
1981 in music), Harry began a solo career and some acting, but then
entered a two year retirement (1983-1985) to nurse Blondie's
guitarist, Chris Stein, back to health. She succeeded and returned
Debbie Harry was a regular at CBGB's, a famous New York City club that was an early center for punk rock. Although Blondie could rock as hard as any of the punk rock bands of that era, it became the epitome of the New Wave style, and Debbie Harry, with her two-tone bottle-blonde hair, became its best known icon. Launching just on the cusp of MTV, Debbie Harry and Blondie put out some of the first rock music videos, in some cases inventing some of the cliches of the form.
Before Blondie, Deborah Harry was in a forgettable folk rock group The Wind In The Willows before becoming part of The Stilettos with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein in the early 1970s.
Debbie Harry's strong stage personality of cool s--uality and street-wise style became so closely associated with Blondie the band that many confused Harry herself as "Blondie" - as a solo artist - to her lasting chagrin. This is unfortunate because Blondie, the band, laid down a rich legacy of experimental tracks, situationist lyrics and DIY weirdness which makes them interesting as a musical group.
Among her notable vocals are "Heart of Glass" (a New-Wave/Disco crossover) and the rap on "Rapture" (the first rap song to top the US charts). Harry fans list her Yoko Ono-esque screams on "Victor" and delivery of such classics as "Atomic", "Call Me", "The Tide Is High", and "One Way or Another" as other outstanding vocal performances.
In 1981 (see 1981 in music), Harry began a solo career, but then entered a temporary retirement (1983-1985) to help nurse Chris Stein back to health after he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Pemphigus. With Stein's recovery, she returned as a musician and actress.
Deborah Harry currently resides in New York City.
Some of her notable film roles were in Videodrome (1983), Rock & Rule (1983) an animated movie where she did vocals opposite Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, and John Waters' Hairspray (1988), where she played the big-haired and villainous Velma von Tussle, paired with Sonny Bono, and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). She has also had notable roles in such films as Spun, Cop Land and My Life Without Me
She also guest starred on the first episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Wiseguy .
Debbie Harry had a voice role in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as a cab dispatcher, and sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" over the closing credits of Alex Cox's film Three Businessmen.
Deborah Harry has since released solo albums, performed with the avant-garde jazz group the Jazz Passengers, released two new albums with Blondie - No Exit (1999) and The Curse of Blondie (2004), and come on to be one of the biggest Gay icons in the world. One of the biggest Gay anthems in the U.K is "I Want That Man", from her 1989 solo album Def, Dumb and Blonde.
In 1995, Debbie Harry recorded two songs with Argentinian ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, most notably on the Lennon-McCartney song Strawberry Fields Forever.
Debbie Harry became the prototype for successive strong women in popular music such as Madonna, Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani and any number of contemporary pop princesses. Up to that point, rock had been a heavily male-dominated field, with women trivialized as backup singers or groupies. Many women musicians have acknowledged Debbie Harry's pioneering role.
Debbie Harry also appeared with Kermit for duet of
This Debbie Harry Biography Page is Copyright Biography World © 2004 - 2010