Blondie’s Clem Burke Says Debbie Harry Was The Archetypical Glam Rock Front Person


Blondie’s drummer Clem Burke recently appeared in an interview with VWMusic and talked about his music career with the band revealing important eras for them. According to Burke, the vocalist Debbie Harry is a true image of glam rock as a frontwoman.

Debbie Harry co-founded the band along with Chris Stein in 1974 and became a pioneer of the American new wave genre of the ’70s New York. They remained an underground band until their 1978 release ‘Parallel Lines,’ which achieved commercial success. They took the stage as regular performers at CBGB, a music club in New York City, until their rise in fame.

CBGB‘s name was formed from the initials Country, BlueGrass, and Blues and became the famous venue for the new wave and punk rock bands in the ’70s. The Ramones, Television, and Blondie performed there and reached a small crowd who embraced their music. Debbie Harry started to attract attention with her voice, blonde hair, and style in that era.

Her bandmate Clem Burke mentioned in a recent interview that CBGB allowed artists to be themselves, similar to the origins of rock and roll. He also added that while he was interested in glam, he was looking for a person like Harry to work with. Burke revealed that the frontwoman had the same charisma and musical power as names like David Bowie and Jim Morrison, and when he met her, the rocker found the person he dreamed of.

Clem Burke said the following about Blondie’s initial period in the music scene:

“I think everyone that played at CBGBs was very much influenced, whether it be the whole do-it-yourself attitude or just the way the roots of rock ‘n’ roll – especially with the New York Dolls – were being portrayed. I was into the glam thing, and so was Debbie, who, for me, was an archetypical glam rock front person.

I was always very much interested in being in a band that had somebody in front which would have that power and charisma. Debbie had that, you know, it was like a David Bowie, Jim Morrison, Marc Bolan, or somebody like that. So, I was really on a mission to find a person like that, and when I first met up with Debbie, I immediately knew that I had.”

Blondie left the underground music scene and reached a large audience with its third album, ‘Parallel Lines,’ released in 1978. The following year, the album reached number 1 in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it became the band’s commercial breakthrough coming number 6 in the United States.