Though often haphazardly lumped in with the female-fronted pop groups of the '80s (Bananarama, the Go-Go's, the Bangles), New York City's Blondie was actually quite a different proposition altogether. While there were undeniable pop elements to their sound, the quartet favored quite an eclectic approach with smatterings of new-wave, punk, dance, and, famously, hip-hop. The group was formed in 1975 in New York City by vocalist Deborah "Debbie" Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. Blondie—rounded out by Gary Valentine (guitar), James Destri (piano, organ), and Clement Burke (drums)—went into the studio to record their debut self-titled LP. Though the album was not a huge success, it kept the group on the road, and after their 1977 follow-up Plastic Letters, the band released Parallel Lines.
The record was a commercial smash, shooting up to the Top 10 in America, and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, featuring classic tracks like "Heart of Glass," "Sunday Girl," and "One Way or Another." The album made Harry a bona fide pop icon and made the band one of the biggest in the country.
From there, they pushed on, releasing two other hit albums, Eat To The Beat (1979) and Autoamerican (1980,) until their break-up in 1982. After the split, Harry focused on her successful solo career. The group reformed in 1997. Though they released two new studio albums, the discs failed to make a commercial dent, leading Blondie to disband again in 2004. After they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they returned with a world tour in 2008 in support of the 30th Anniversary of Parallel Lines. The group, which features Harry, Stein, Burke, and Destri (who doesn't tour), is still active today.