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Parallel Lines

  out of 4 Music Review: Parallel Lines

Artist: Blondie
Genre: Rock
Release Date: September 1978

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
No rating supplied

This is one amazing album. With the mediocrity of "Plastic Letters" behind them Blondie came at us prowling and roaring with their best album, "Parallel Lines." This album is just jammed with hits. This time out both sides of Atlantic accepted them with open arms. Blondie became a household name. Mike Chapman of Chinn & Chapman fame (Suzi Quatro, Mud, the Sweet, and Smokie) was the key to taking all of their talents and making them all work in the right direction. His expertise and experience helped to produce a perfect rock-pop gem. Gone was the new wave sound and in was a sleek and rocking power pop sound. It was the magical combination that they had been looking for. Like they say, the third time is the charm.

'Hanging On The Telephone' was back to the sound that made them so popular. The energy and magic returned, and full force. Deborah Harry's voice was as strong and sassy as it ever was, and the band was full of that raw punky attitude again. The interesting thing about all of this is how the producer Mike Chapman was able to channel all of that and make them into pop stars, and ones that rocked. And they did so just enough to cross over into two or three different audiences. 'One Way Or Another' was a monster hit, if you heard it once you heard it a hundred times on just about any radio station. I was there while it was happening, as were so many other people my age. 'Pretty Baby' was a real charmer, Harry's vocals were so alluring and sensual. The band was perfect for her vocal style. 'Heart Of Glass' was a massive disco hit, yet another departure from previous styles, showing once again that they could go any direction with their music and be successful. The beautifully placed keyboards, driving and timely drums and bass, and the to the point guitar, were all very strong and held their places exactly were they needed to be in every song. Jimmy Destri (keyboards), Frank Infante (guitar), Chris Stein (guitar), Nigel Harrison (bass), Clem Burke (drums), and Deborah Harry (lead vocals) were now rock and roll legends with names that would never be forgotten.

The sound and sonics are nothing short of phenomenal. The bonus tracks are exceptional, they aren't just throwaway tunes, and they are actually worth listening to. 'Once I Had A Love' is a reggae-inflected version of 'Heart Of Glass.' It's incredible what they did with that song. All the variations are fascinating. 'Bang A Gong (Get It On)', the T-Rex hit, is a real treat, and 'Hanging On The Telephone' live is spine tingling. 'I Know But I Don't Know' is a very powerful song live, you can feel and hear the difference in the energy from the live cuts compared to the studio recordings. That of course is due to the awesome remastering that was done on this entire series. Literally every aspect of the music is more eye popping than ever. I was around when all of this started so you imagine how exciting this is for me. Those of you that weren't around to live it can now have your chance to experience Blondie.

1. Hanging on the Telephone (Lee) - 2:22
2. One Way or Another (Harrison/Harry) - 3:35
3. Picture This (Destri/Harry/Stein) - 2:56
4. Fade Away and Radiate (Stein) - 4:02
5. Pretty Baby (Harry/Stein) - 3:18
6. I Know But I Don't Know (Infante) - 3:56
7. 11:59 (Destri) - 3:20
8. Will Anything Happen? (Lee) - 3:00
9. Sunday Girl (Stein) - 3:05
10. Heart of Glass (Harry/Stein) - 5:50
11. I'm Gonna Love You Too (Mauldin/Petty/Sullivan) - 2:06
12. Just Go Away (Harry) - 3:33
13. Once I Had a Love (AKA the Disco Song) [1978 version] (Harry/Stein) - 3:18
14. Bang A Gong (Get It On)- (Bolan) - 5:30 (Recorded Live 11/4/78 at The Paradise in Boston, MA
15. I Know But I Don't Know (Live 11/6/78 At The Walnut Theater in Philadelphia, PA) (Infante) - 4:35
16. Hanging on the Telephone (Live In Dallas, TX 1980) - 2:21



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