The Story of Pop: 1999 (Chapter 6)

It’s Thursday, and time once again for another slice of retro chart pop action from twenty years ago, with The Story of Pop: 1999. This week’s song comes from a band who made an unexpected comeback in style – let’s see who they are and the chart topper that did it for them…

Fronted by one of the coolest and greatest rock chicks of all time, Debbie Harry, New York new wave and punk pioneers Blondie were an inescapable force on both the US and UK pop charts in the late 70s and early 80s, with chart topping songs like ‘Heart Of Glass’, ‘Atomic’, ‘Rapture’ and ‘Call Me’ to name but several becoming huge hits for a generation.

However, after several years of success, inter-band tensions, financial struggles and diminishing returns saw them split in 1982. Fast forward over a decade later though, and a new wave of female fronted guitar bands like Garbage and No Doubt had emerged, citing Blondie as an inspiration on their work.

It was partly this, but also a desire to reform that saw the original five piece line-up of Blondie reconvene to record their first new studio album for fifteen years in 1997. The resulting album, ‘No Exit’ was released at the start of 1999.

It’s thundering first single ‘Maria’, written by guitarist Jimmy Destri about his school days, had a chorus to die for and even church bells for good measure, proving they could still rock with the new kids. All of this added up to their sixth UK number one smash on this very week – meaning that aside from Michael Jackson, they were the only American artist to top our charts in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Very good company to keep, we say.

Don’t forget to follow our playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 1999. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop1999.

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