Deborah Harry

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Deborah Ann Harry (born July 1, 1945, in Miami, Florida) is an American rock and roll musician from New Jersey. She originally gained fame as the frontwoman for the new wave band Blondie. Following this success, she went on to develop careers as a solo musician and an actress.

Life and career

Harry was adopted at three months of age by a family from Hawthorne, New Jersey and attended Hawthorne High School. Prior to starting her singing career she moved to New York in the late 60's and worked as a secretary at the BBC Radio New York office for one year. Later, she was a waitress, a dancer in a bar in Union City, and a Playboy Bunny.[1]

She began her musical career with the folk rock group, The Wind In The Willows. Harry then joined a girl-group trio, The Stilettos, in the early 1970s. The Stilettos' backup band included her eventual boyfriend and Blondie guitarist, Chris Stein. Harry and Stein formed the band Blondie in the mid 1970s, naming it after the catcalls men would give Harry while passing by in their cars. Blondie quickly became regulars at Max's Kansas City and CBGB's in New York City. After a debut album in 1976, commercial success followed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, first in Australia and Europe, then in the United States.

With her two-tone bottle-blonde hair, Debbie Harry quickly became a recognizable icon of punk style. Her look was further popularized by the band's early presence in the music video revolution of the era. The clip for "Rapture" appeared within the first 24 hours of MTV's launch. Harry's strong stage persona of cool sexuality and streetwise style became so closely associated with the group's name that many came to believe the singer's name to be "Blondie", to her lasting chagrin. To complicate matters further, Harry has sometimes described "Blondie" as being the character she plays onstage with the band as well as the band's name. The difference between the individual Harry and the band Blondie was famously highlighted with a "Blondie is a Group" button campaign by the band in 1979[2].

Harry began her solo career with the album Koo Koo in 1981. In April 1983, she appeared on Broadway with Andy Kaufman in the wrestling play Teaneck Tanzi (originally called Trafford Tanzi), which opened and closed in one night. She also teamed up with Giorgio Moroder that year on the song "Rush Rush", which was featured in the film Scarface. From 1983 through 1986, Harry minimized her public life in order to care for Chris Stein, who had fallen ill with the rare genetic disease pemphigus. Her single Feel the Spin, produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez, was released in 1985. Stein fully recovered and continues a musical relationship with Harry, but their romantic relationship ended in 1987. In 1986 Debbie released her second solo album "Rockbird" and the single "French Kissin' in the USA" brought her into the UK top 10 singles chart. Other singles followed but failed to crack the top forty. Her last solo album Debravation (1993) flopped and she was dropped by her record label shortly after.

Starting with the solo album Def, Dumb and Blonde in 1989, Harry started using "Deborah Harry" as her professional name. On February 23 1999, at the age of 53, Harry became the oldest female singer to reach No. 1 in the UK with "Maria", (Blondie's first single from the album No Exit), a record she still holds.

Harry currently resides in New York City.

Acting roles

Some of Harry's notable film roles are appearances in Videodrome (1983); Union City (1980); New York Beat (otherwise known as Downtown '81, in which she plays the angel of the East Village alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat); Rock & Rule (1983), an animated movie where she did vocals opposite Robin Zander of Cheap Trick; John Waters' Hairspray (1988), in which she played the big-haired and villainous Velma von Tussle, paired with Sonny Bono as her husband; and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). She also had notable roles in such films as Spun, Cop Land, and My Life Without Me, and is featured in David Munro's upcoming feature film Full Grown Men.

Her TV guest appearances include The Muppet Show, MADtv, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Will & Grace, Absolutely Fabulous, Saturday Night Live (as a musical guest and a host) and Wiseguy.

She had a voice role in the video game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, as cab dispatcher Delores, and sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" over the closing credits of Alex Cox's film Three Businessmen.

She played the role of "Elizabeth" in the full motion video-based game Double Switch, which was released for the Sega CD (1993), the Sega Saturn, Apple Macintosh, and Windows 95.

Solo career

Deborah Harry has released four original solo albums. She has also performed and released albums with the avant-garde jazz group, the Jazz Passengers and did many one-off projects with such diverse artists as Iggy Pop, Blow-Up, and Die Haut.

In 1995, she recorded two songs with Argentinian ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, most notably the Lennon-McCartney song "Strawberry Fields Forever."

In May 2006, she released a tribute song to rapper Lil' Kim called "Dirty and Deep," voicing Harry's opinion that the verdict was marred by conspiracy and lying to the grand jury. The song is available for free from the Deborah Harry Home Page.

Harry has also recorded the song New York, New York with Moby, a new track to be included on Go: The Very Best of Moby, which was released as the album's first single on October 30, 2006. [1]

The video for the track New York, New York can be viewed online as Windows Media or Real Media video streams.

It has been reported that SuperBuddha will produce Harry's new solo album, due for release some time in 2007. This will be her first solo album since Debravation in 1993.


  • As of 2004, Harry owns the Guinness World Book of Records record for the "Oldest Female Singer to Reach No. 1 in the UK Chart." This happened when she went to number one with Maria on February 13, 1999 at the age of 53 years and 227 days.[3]
  • As of 2006, she is one of the faces of MAC Cosmetics' Viva Glam VI campaign. The campaign donates every cent of the selling price of their iconic lipstick shades to the MAC AIDS Fund, which helps people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.



  • Koo Koo (1981)
  • Rockbird (1986)
  • Once More Into The Bleach (1988)
  • Def, Dumb and Blonde (1989)
  • The Complete Picture - The Very Best Of Deborah Harry And Blondie (1991)
  • Debravation (1993)


Artist Year Song US Hot 100 US Dance US Modern Rock UK singles Album
Debbie Harry 1981 "Backfired" 43 29 - 32 Koo Koo
Debbie Harry 1981 "The Jam Was Moving" 82 - - - Koo Koo
Debbie Harry 1983 "Rush, Rush" 105 28 - 87 Scarface (Soundtrack)
Debbie Harry 1985 "Feel The Spin" - - - - Krush Groove (Soundtrack)
Debbie Harry 1986 "French Kissin' in the USA" 57 - - 8 Rockbird
Debbie Harry 1986 "In Love With Love" 70 1 - 45 Rockbird
Debbie Harry 1986 "Free To Fall" - - - 46 Rockbird
Debbie Harry 1988 "Denis '88"/ "Rapture '88" - - - - Once More Into The Bleach
Debbie Harry 1988 "Liar, Liar" - - 14 - Married To The Mob (Soundtrack)
Deborah Harry 1989 "I Want That Man" - - 2 13 Def, Dumb and Blonde
Deborah Harry 1989 "Kiss It Better" - - 12 - Def, Dumb and Blonde
Deborah Harry 1989 "Brite Side" - - - 59 Def, Dumb and Blonde
Deborah Harry 1990 "Sweet and Low" - 17 - 57 Def, Dumb and Blonde
Deborah Harry 1990 "Maybe For Sure" - - - 89 Def, Dumb and Blonde
Deborah Harry 1992 "Summertime Blues" - - - That Night (Soundtrack)
Deborah Harry 1993 "I Can See Clearly" - 2 - 23 Debravation
Deborah Harry 1993 "Strike Me Pink" - - - 46 Debravation
Groove Thing featuring Debbie Harry 1997 "Command and Obey" - 42 - - This Is No Time
Groove Thing featuring Debbie Harry 1999 "Command and Obey" (Remix) - 49 - - -
Deborah Harry and Robbie Jacks 1998 Der Einzige Weg (The Only Way) - - - - -
Deborah Harry 2001 "Ghost Riders In The Sky" - - - - Internet Only Release
Deborah Harry 2006 "Dirty and Deep" - - - - Internet Only Release
Moby featuring Debbie Harry 2006 "New York, New York" - - - 43 Go: The Very Best of Moby


  • Unmade Beds (1976)
  • Deadly Hero (1976)
  • The Blank Generation (1976) (documentary)
  • The Foreigner (1978)
  • Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979)
  • Union City (1980)
  • Roadie (1980)
  • New York Beat Movie (1981)
  • A New Face of Debbie Harry (1982) (short subject)
  • Rock & Rule (1983) (voice)
  • Videodrome (1983)
  • Forever, Lulu (1987)
  • Satisfaction (1988)
  • Hairspray (1988)
  • New York Stories (1989)
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)
  • Double Switch (full motion video video game) (1993)
  • Dead Beat (1994)
  • Drop Dead Rock (1995)
  • Heavy (1995)
  • Wigstock: The Movie (1995) (documentary)
  • Sandman (1996) (short subject)
  • Cop Land (1997)
  • Six Ways to Sunday (1997)
  • Who Is Harry Smith? (1998) (documentary)
  • Joe's Day (1998)
  • Zoo (1999)
  • Red Lipstick (2000)
  • The Fluffer (2001)
  • Deuces Wild (2002)
  • Spun (2002)
  • Try Seventeen (2002)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) (video game) (as Delores)
  • End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones (2003) (documentary)
  • My Life Without Me (2003)
  • A Good Night to Die (2003)
  • Ghostlight (2003)
  • The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story (2003)
  • Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) (documentary)
  • Ramones Raw (2004) (documentary)
  • Picture This: Blondie and Debbie Harry (2004) (documentary)
  • Honey Trap (2005) (short subject)
  • Kiki and Herb Reloaded (2005) (documentary)
  • All We Are Saying (2005) (documentary)
  • Patch (2005) (short subject)
  • Face Addict (2005) (documentary)
  • I Remember You Now... (2005) (short subject)
  • Full Grown Men(2006)


  • Anamorph (2007)
  • House of Boys (2007)

External links

  1. Template:Cite news
  2. More Males Per Oxide. Record Mirror (mirrored at Blondie fansite) (April 28 1979). Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
  3. 2004 Guinness World Book of Records (paper) (in English), p. 18. ISBN 0-85112-180-2. "Humans" chapter.