Glastonbury 2014: Hip, hip Harry

Blondie star Debbie Harry tells Hermione Hoby about her journey from Seventies New York to Somerset

Women, especially, seem to go to pieces in Debbie Harry’s presence. When she featured on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Kirsty Young, the normally phlegmatic host, confessed to Harry that she’d wasted a good 10 years of her life trying to be her. Another interview I watched begins with a thirtysomething female journalist blurting out: “Do you just wake up every morning and go, ‘Oh my god, I’m Debbie Harry’?” She doesn’t: after nearly 70 years Debbie Harry is used to being Debbie Harry. But for everyone else, the awe is at such an adolescent-intensity that the words “oh my god” can sometimes seem like her honorific.
Blondie began, as so many bands did, in downtown Seventies New York, but their sex-bomb singer, with those movie-star looks and that voice that slipped between sugar sweet and street raunch made them stand out from the crowd. They went on to redefine pop music with a phenomenal run of hits. Forty years on and seemingly more popular than ever, with a new album and about to play Glastonbury festival for the fourth time, they remain a pop band with a punk sensibility, forever defined by the frontwoman whom almost every female musician seems to name as an idol.

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