Debbie Harry And Me – Shooting The Blondie Singer in 1970s New York City

Chris Stein 's photographs of Debbie Harry and friends take us back to a great era of music

“I had no idea that Chris was a voyeur when I met him. How could I know? His mother told me when we met that his personality was fully intact as a tiny baby.”
– Debbie Harry


Debbie Harry


A poster on the bedroom wall of Blondie singer Debbie Harry wall the stuff of teenage dreams in the 1970s and 1980s. Chris Stein got closer to the ethereal singer. Stein, the group’s co-founder, songwriter and guitarist took many photographs of the hymned Harry. You can see them in his book Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk. After that, check out Stein’s second book of NYC punk photography, Point of View: Me, New York City, and the Punk Scene.

These photographs were taken in the mid and late 1970s, when everyone was in a band, or wanted to be. Blondie seemed to encapsulate the gritty, cool, grindhouse, cheaper-to-rent, derelict, eccentric New York City that spread tales of fear, new sounds and happenings across the globe, and made you ache to visit.

In the following years, Manhattan got clean and shiny, a place of forms, officialdom, insurance, police – the sheer numbers! – and regimented corporate compliance over style, spontaneity and panache. New York City still has the old gusto in spades, it’s just moved to places like Buskwick.

Thanks to Stein’s pictures, we get a sense  the period when the greatest music was made – when Blondie hung out with David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Suzi Quatro, Jon Jett, Suicide, Nile Rodgers and The Buzzcocks.


Debbie Harry NYC

Debbie Harry, Suzi Quatro, and Joan Jett in a studio in Los Angeles, where Suzi was recording with producer Mike Chapman.

Debbie Harry NYC

Debbie with Martin Rev (left) and Alan Vega (right) of Suicide

debbie harry

Stein reflected in Debbie’s shades

Debbie Harry NYC

Debbie and David Bowie backstage during The Idiot tour, 1977

debbie harry

“This was in our apartment on 17th street of Sixth Avenue that burned down. We were on tour and my mother called me up and said:”Listen, don’t get upset, but your house burned down.” We never lived there again. We went back and staged that. Allegedly that’s Marilyn Monroe’s dress that she’s wearing, but we can’t prove it.” – Chris Stein, via Smithsonian Mag

Debbie Harry NYC

Debbie with The Buzzcocks: “Blondie toured Europe with the Buzzcocks in 1978. From left to right: Steve Diggle, Pete Shelley, Debbie, Howard Devoto and Danny Farrant.

Debbie Harry NYC

“From left to right: Chrissie Hynde, Pauline Black (then of Selecter), Debbie, Poly Styrene (then of X-Ray Spex), Viv Albertine (then of the Slits), and Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees, London, 1980


Debbie Harry NYC

Nile (Rodgers) and Bernard (Edwards) confer about something during the production of Debbie’s first solo album, KooKoo – 1981

Chris Stein’s new book Point of View: Me, New York City, and the Punk Scene is out now from Rizzoli.

Lead Image: Debbie Harry on top of the World Trade Center, 1974 or 1975 by Chris Stein.

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