Sunday’s are my 24 hours of restless relaxing. It’s my time to veg out and watch some of my current Netflix obsessions, do some reading, and sorta catch up on my (year round) spring cleaning. Like most, my Netflix obsessions tend to take first priority, mostly because of the sublime feeling of completely shutting off my mind and entering another world, but also because it makes great back ground noise for everything else I need to get done through out that day.
However, this Sunday was a little different. Currently I’m not all tied up in a Netflix series so I’ve taken some time to hop around my list in an attempt to watch all the rock-umentaries currently offered. I started this, drawn out, marathon about a week ago, but for some reason today I was drawn back into (re)watching Blondie’s New York.
(Blondie’s New York is an hour long Smithsonian Channel original documentary about the band’s rise to mainstream success through the making of their album, Parallel Lines. Unlike some documentaries, it takes the time to get extremely detailed and dives into the how’s, why’s, and when’s of every song on the album. This for me, makes it a must watch and also a re-watch.)
You can expect to hear first hand accounts from the band lineup of the time such as; Debbie Harry (vocals), Chris Stein (guitar), Jimmy Destri (keyboards), Clem Burke (drums), Nigel Harrison (bass), and Frank Infante (guitar). As well as Mike Chapman (Parallel Lines’ producer) and some photographer/insiders of the time peroid: Bob Gruen, Roberta Bayley, and many more.
The viewer gets minimal back ground info on not only each individual band member’s up bringing, but also a great historical account on that time period in New York City, the music, and the culture. If you are expecting anything thorough on the band’s upbringing backgrounds and how they got into becoming musicians, this documentary might not be for you, but I will be keeping an eye out for some good (auto)biographies from the band and get back to you. However, I believe there are more than enough stories of the band during the Parallel Lines time period to suffice anyone’s needs.
One by one the band talks about lyrics, melodies, and the countless hours put into the production of each individual song. The viewer also gets to hear snippets of raw individualized guitar, bass, keyboard, and vocal lines.
My favorite part of this rock-umentary, as a writer, being the insight into the lyrics and the stories behind them.
SPOILER ALERT: Did you know One Way Or Another was written about one of Harry’s ex-boyfriends who became her stalker?
Ultimately Parallel Lines has sold over 20 million albums worldwide, became an international hit, and may be the reason why I still choose to sing along to Debbie Harry at karaoke today. Now whether you’re a fan of Blondie, 70’s rock, punk, CBGB, New York, or anything in between I suggest checking this rock-umentary out.
Blondie’s New York is available to buy or watch on:
Netflix, smithsonianchannel.com , Amazon, and possibly Youtube (but you didn’t hear it from me).