The band Blondie will always be associated with New York, since it got its start at Manhattan nightclubs such as CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. But frontwoman Debbie Harry is a New Jerseyan who grew up in Hawthorne, graduated from Centenary College in Hackettstown and danced at a Union City go-go bar before embarking on her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career.
Below is a club of the band in 1979, at the height of its popularity, performing at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, which has occasionally presented rock concerts in recent decades, but was a particularly important Jersey rock venue in the 1960s and 1970s, before many of today’s leading Jersey rock venues were even built. The Rolling Stones, The Who, James Brown, The Byrds, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin and others all played there. Bruce Springsteen attended concerts there when he was young, and has used the venue for holiday shows, and pre-tour E Street Band rehearsal shows.
The song Blondie is performing in the clip is the catchy, propulsive “X Offender,” which had been their first single, back in 1976. Harry, whose stage persona always had an element of aloofness, really gets into it.
“X Offender” was released when the band was not well known, and was not a hit; one imagines that if it had come out later, when the band had a following, the results could have been very different.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.