The Blondie guitarist’s love of photography saw him capture amazingly intimate images of his then partner and Blondie’s lead singer Debbie Harry. Here are just a few. Which one’s your favourite?
Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, met Debbie in a club in 1974, when he was in the audience, and she was on stage with her then band the Stilettos. “I was very taken with her,” is how Stein later put it.
Stein and Harry became friends, then lovers and bandmates, but his love of photography also saw him, by default, become her quasi-personal photographer and he captured much of their life together – both in and out of Blondie and in and out of their romantic relationship.
A School of Visual Arts graduate Stein chronicled Blondie’s early beginnings from their time in the midst of the early New York punk scene to their international post-punk success.
Below, are 10 photographs by Chris Stein of the ‘Iconic’ Debbie Harry (she hates the use of that word when used to describe her, by the way: “The word ‘iconic’ is used too frequently – It’s a responsibility, and it’s impossible to live up to – you’re supposed to be dead, for one thing.”) But iconic she is…
Harry was was one of the first women in rock, who’s unique style was matched only by her fiercely independent ‘fuck you’ attitude – an attitude that she’s still got in spadefuls in 2021 her 76th year!
1: Debbie Harry excited about playing the Whisky a Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard in 1977.
“I don’t think that the punk sound really became the punk sound until much later. The punk era wasn’t really just one musical sound. There are a lot of differences among Television, the Ramones, and the Talking Heads.”Tweet
2: Andy Warhol shooting Debbie Harry at the Factory in New York City.
“Chris and I adored Andy Warhol – and to find out that he was a fan of ours was heavenly. Andy put me on the cover of Interview magazine and he threw a party for us at Studio 54 when ‘Heart of Glass’ went to number one in America.”Tweet
3: Stein captured Debbie, who has some drum skills, behind a drum kit at a rehearsal space in Midtown Manhattan that Blondie shared with various other bands.
“I do know the effect that music still has on me – I’m completely vulnerable to it. I’m seduced by it.” Debbie HarryTweet
4: Debbie seeing someone very familiar on a poster while walking around Paris in 1978.
“I’m against the idea that rock stars have to live a life that’s completely understandable or predictable to their audience… Maybe I’ll just be the mysterious figure that’ll never be able to truly be defined. Maybe that’s what my thing is. ” Debbie Harry.Tweet
5: Debbie Harry reclines on a car outside CBGB in New York.
“I don’t mind if my skull ends up on a shelf as long as it’s got my name on it.”Tweet
6: Debbie in her and Chris’ apartment in the Bowery, New York, 1976
“I could be a housewife… I guess I’ve vacuumed a couple of times”Tweet
7: Even in the 70s Blondie had their taste of the superstar life of excess… Debbie walking from the limo on the tarmac to the waiting jet
“You have to leave room for the other person’s ego.”Tweet
8: On a visit to the UK in 1978 Debbie was reading about what Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini thought of women.
“How can one be a woman and not be a feminist? That’s my question.”Tweet
9: Taken when touring with David Bowie and Iggy Pop
“Well, I was surprised and flattered actually. I mean, who wouldn’t? This is like the perfect rock ’n’ roll story – and it’s David Bowie, what could be better? ” Debbie Harry on David Bowie flopping his ‘manhood’ out in front of her.Tweet
Debbie Harry with Mel Brooks 2016
” I’m amazed by ageing and how it happens differently for different people. All I can say is, I’m a lucky fucking bitch.”Tweet