For Debbie Harry’s 77th birthday, a repost of a Record Collector review I penned, of the Blondie mainstay’s first authorised solo compilation.
Immersed in Blondie’s globe-trotting gigging schedule, one wonders what melancholy thoughts enter Debbie Harry’s mind when treading those boards night after night. She’s out there promoting the band’s glorious back catalogue, as well as, after the headline-grabbing success of Maria, what could be described as The Best Comeback In The World… Ever!, but what about that urge to slip in a couple of solo efforts in the hope that her colleagues may not notice? It must be a trifle galling to have to effectively write off nearly two decades of your musical career, to say the least.
It’s not as if she didn’t have her moments. Debbie only got as far as issuing four solo albums in that 18-year period, and all the singles from them, including minor hits the Chic-helmed Backfired, I Can See Clearly and her only top tenner, the sublimely silly French Kissin’ In The USA, are present and correct. However, some of the songstress’s better offerings were one-offs: the Well Did You Evah! charity duet with Iggy Pop outclassed the Frank Sinatra/Bing Crosby original (no mean feat), and Feel The Spin was the best thing about that Krush Groove movie, though why the 12” mix has been chosen over the rarer 7” is baffling.
Running time has been squandered further by the inclusion of two unremarkable LP tracks and a couple of superfluous new remixes of I Want That Man, when just a little informed licensing could have brought import singles Liar Liar and Summertime Blues into the fold instead.
The glaring error, though, is on fan favourite Maybe For Sure. The 7” mix is unavailable on CD, so, what do EMI plump for? Why, the album version, of course.
First published: Record Collector, December 1999