Blondie were one of the most important punk rock bands of the 20th century, and they’ve proved their staying power to the world. Currently on tour promoting their 11th album, Pollinator, Debbie Harry and company are drawing in audiences that saw them in their heyday while bringing in fresh faces who weren’t even alive until their reformation in 1997. Pollinator mixes new sounds with old Blondie staples, and Debbie Harry’s voice is still in pristine condition. Founders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein created Blondie with the intention of creating a band that thrived on the sounds of punk and new wave, and they succeeded (although not at first). Blondie’s debut album was re-released in 1977 on Chrysalis Records, two years after it was released to little fanfare on Private Stock Records. With the right publicity, Blondie rocketed to the top of the charts in the late ’70s, receiving heaps of praise from Rolling Stone and its musical peers.
Since reuniting in 1997, the band has consistently released new music and toured the globe, playing international festivals and sold-out concert halls. Pollinator is a unique album for Blondie in that it only features two songs written by Stein. The band collaborated with some of the biggest musicians today in order to make an album that sounds like Blondie but also feels like a Gorillaz-type project. With songs written by Sia, Johnny Marr, and Dev Hynes (the last of whom wrote the single for the album, “Long Time”), Pollinator is the product of artists who have achieved success throughout the decades.
Blondie are currently being supported on tour by Garbage, another female-fronted rock group. Shirley Manson has been fronting the grunge powerhouse since the mid ’90s, when they achieved commercial and critical success with singles such as “I’m Only Happy when it Rains” and “Stupid Girl.” Manson has gushed about her admiration of Blondie in interviews, and the pairing of these two bands makes perfect sense. This tour is not to be missed; where else can you see two amazing women take center stage for two of the most successful (and adored) bands in rock and roll?
Blondie and Garbage will be performing at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park on Saturday, July 22. Get your tickets here; they range from $30 to $90.