What did the band Blondie contribute to music?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of Blondie's greatest contributions to music can be seen in the crossover concept.  Blondie was one of the first groups to straddle the changing pop music scene in the 1970s and usher in the transformative element to pop music that would be evident in the 1980s.  The group made their claim to fame in producing songs that reached the heights of the UK Pop charts, yet also featured crossover appeal across the Atlantic.  From this point, Blondie produced songs that fused together different styles of music.  For example, their work in "Heart of Glass" represented the disco style of music with synthesizer work that would be present in their hits of the 1980s, but also represented a mainstay of the disco club scene.  Blondie's attachment to the club scene can be seen in "Atomic," where they were able to produce a song that displayed the changing dance club venue.  Gone was the disco sound, replaced by a greater combination of major and minor chords in a dance beat that would come to typify the dances of the 1980s.  Blondie's collaboration with Giorgio Moroder in 1981 produced "Call Me," a translantic hit that represented New Wave, while "The Tide is High" was  infused with a dominant Reggae style. In 1981, Blondie demonstrated their studio talent with "Rapture," the first song to be featured on MTV with a rap interlude.  Blondie's contribution to music lies in demonstrating how modern artists can be crossover musicians. Blondie covered the range of what popular music can be.

Another way in which Blondie contributed significantly to music was in their understanding of the video concept that became intrinsic to music appreciation. Blondie was a rock group that also had a keen sense of the visual attached to their music.  Front woman Deborah Harry was almost made for the video scene. The video for "Heart of Glass" was complete with the disco ball and Harry on the dance floor of the New York Disco scene.  In "Call Me," Harry captured the visual sense in writing the song:  "When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California."   Finally, Blondie's video for "Rapture" was iconic in seeing Deborah Harry freestyle rap, complete with hip- hop legends like Fab Five Freddy.  The visual element to Blondie's music was another contribution.  Blondie was ahead of their time in recognizing that modern music and its audience were as much visual as much as auditory.  This was a contribution that can be seen in music today.  

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