Saturday, September 16, 1978

Blondie charted with Parallel Lines

Parallel Lines


Charted: September 16, 1978

Peak: 6 US, 14 UK, 2 CN, 2 AU, 12 DF

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.69 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Hanging on the Telephone (10/30/78, 19 CL, 7 CO, 5 UK, 39 AU, 25 DF)
  2. One Way or Another (6/2/79, 24 BB, 22 CB, 24 GR, 28 HR, 26 RR, 4 CL, 1 CO, 7 CN, 11 DF)
  3. Picture This (8/26/78, 26 CL, 13 CO, 12 UK, 88 AU)
  4. Fade Away and Radiate (32 DF)
  5. Pretty Baby (39 DF)
  6. I Know But I Don’t Know
  7. 11:59 (32 DF)
  8. Will Anything Happen? (33 DF)
  9. Sunday Girl (5/19/79, 22 CL, 4 CO, 1 UK, 5 AU, 33 DF)
  10. Heart of Glass (1/3/79, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 GR, 1 HR, 1 RR, 44 AC, 1 CL, 1 CO, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, 1 DF, gold single)
  11. I’m Gonna Love You Too (38 DF)
  12. Just Go Away (40 DF)

Total Running Time: 39:06

The Players:

  • Deborah Harry (vocals)
  • Chris Stein (guitar)
  • Clem Burke (drums)
  • Jimmy Destri (keyboards)
  • Nigel Harrison (bass)
  • Frank Infante (guitar)


4.466 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)


“Downtown art-punk goes pop” – Blender Magazine


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“After bursting onto the New York music scene with their punk-centric, self-titled debut – followed up by the rowdy Plastic Letters – fans got a taste of what silkier new wave hooks would come on their third album, Parallel Lines.” PM The album “solidified the band as pioneers of a beloved musical movement.” PM

However, “Blondie were too smart and sexy to be genuine punks” BL and “abandoned any pretensions to new wave legitimacy (just in time, given the decline of the new wave) and emerged as a pure pop band.” WR To that end, they turned to Mike Chapman for their third album. He was an “Australian-born producer who’d cut a wathe through the British charts with bubblegum glam bands.” CM He helped Blondie “forge a fusion of punk energy and gir group mystique, street smarts and disco dreams.” CM “With pop chops, disco grooves and enough cooing harmonies to pass for low-rent Ronettes, …Parallel Lines transcended new wave, winning over Middle America” BL taking Blondie “the periphery to superstardom.” CM

“But it wasn’t just Chapman that made Parallel Lines Blondie’s best album; it was the band’s own songwriting.” WR Heart of Glass, with its “burbling autobahn rhythms,” CR is the song that made the world aware of Blondie. It hit #1 on both sides of the Atlantic and “is an enduring Blondie classic for its funky guitar grooves and Harry’s biting lyricism of a toxic romance—the theme song for many a scorned lover.” PM

In the U.S., Blondie also had a top-40 hit with “the taunting roar of One Way Or Another,” PM written by new bass player Nigel Harrison. It’s “one of many songs where [Harry] played herself as the pursuer; a woman of action at odds with the sex kitten image that had started to cling to her.” CM

The album produced three more hits in the UK, including Picture This, Hanging on the Telephone, and the #1 Sunday Girl. While those may be what gets the band attention, “what impresses is the album's depth and consistency.” WR

I Know But I Don’t Know is rock & roll pop with disparate but electrifying elements that predate sampling.” CR “Harry’s vocal performances are evocative and eclectic: wary but exposed on” CM the “infectiously catchy” PM “doo-wop-inspired Pretty Baby.” PM and “yearning on Destri’s breakneck 11:59.” CM

“Pretty Baby” “served as a contrast to the eerie art-rock monument that is Fade Away and Radiate,” CM in which “the CBGB icons brought groovy psychedelia to the front of the line.” PM It also featured “a guest appearance from Robert Fripp of King Crimson on a wailing guitar solo.” PM Album tracks like “Radiate” and “Just Go Away are as impressive as the songs pulled for singles.” WR

It all combines to make for “state-of-the-art pop/rock circa 1978” WR that “boasts Blondie’s unmistakable flavor of intoxicating post-punk.” PM “Harry’s tough-girl glamour setting the pattern that would be exploited over the next decade by a host of successors led by Madonna.” WR

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First posted 2/19/2008; last updated 6/5/2024.

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