Forty years ago, Blondie emerged on the New York music scene, introducing the world to one of its now most influential and admired fashion icons: Debbie Harry. Her bleached-blonde locks and punk-style clothes plucked from thrift stores on the Bowery have become more than significant — they've become iconic.
Blondie materialised at a time when New York's burgeoning underground rock crowd was unrivalled by any other; the band's success also began at a time when the city was, well, not the city we know today.
"New York was way more New York then," Glenn O'Brien writes in the introduction of a new book dedicated to the band's early days, Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk . "People came to New York because you could be yourself here. You could be an artist or musician or a ballerina or a drag queen. You could be a freak, a sexual outlaw, an artist, or a bum. It was OK. People were too busy being themselves that they didn’t bother you about being you. A lot of people found this to be a very fertile and productive time."
The new tome, published by the band's cofounder, Chris Stein, is dedicated to the early days of the punk pioneers, with many rare, never-before-seen images from nights at CBGB to behind-the-scenes moments at their apartment on West 17th Street to tours across the world. The result is a portrait of old New York that makes us wish we'd been around to experience that time firsthand.