Blondie’s Hollywood Roots

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Blondie may be considered the quintessential New York band, but Debbie Harry and the boys have serious ties to LA. They recorded two of their biggest hits, “Rapture” and “The Tide is High,” on Sunset. The PCH inspired “Call Me” was the #1 song of 1980. The original cover for their second album, Plastic Letters, was shot at the Chateau Marmont. And it was a rapturously received three-night stand at the Whiskey in February 1977 that broke the band outside their hometown and got the ball rolling toward stardom. In honor of their seventh studio album, Pollinator—which features collaborations with Sia, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, Charli XCX, Johnny Marr—and their July 9th return to Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl, we’ve rounded up some of the band’s most notable LA landmarks.

Chateau Marmont
8221 Sunset Boulevard


For the cover of Plastic Letters, Playboy photographer Philip Dixon shot the band here. Because Debbie wore only a pillowcase bound with red industrial tape, it was rejected by their label as “too punk.”

United Western Recorders
6050 Sunset Boulevard

Legendary studio where the group recorded the #1 hits “The Tide Is High” and “Rapture” (and where the Beach Boys laid down Pet Sounds).

Whisky-a-Go-Go
8901 Sunset Boulevard

This smoky rock’n’roll landmark was the site of Harry’s first LA concert. Her band opened for the Ramones. Blondie’s success helped establish the Sunset Strip as the premier destination for New Wave acts like The Bangles and The Go-Go’s.

Subliminal Projects
1331 Sunset Boulevard


Shepard Fairey’s gallery. The iconic artist designed Pollinator’s cover and collaborated with Debbie on her upcoming fashion line for Obey/Giant.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd


Debbie and the boys frolicked in the empty swimming pool for an iconic photo shoot (Debbie licked the bottom), when it was the seedier Tropicana Motor Lodge, the West Coast version of the Chelsea Hotel.

 

KROQ
5901 Venice Boulevard


Rodney Bingenheimer was the first DJ in LA to play the band, starting with their first single, “X Offender.” As a reward, they gave him a cameo — naked — in the video for “Rapture.”

Pacific Coast Highway

Santa Monica, USA - January 28, 2016: Sunset in Santa Monica, California, USA. View on highway from Palisade Park. People walking in park

Harry said it was American Gigolo’s opening shot of Richard Gere driving down the Pacific Coast Highway that inspired her lyrics for “Call Me,” the band’s biggest hit, stayed at #1 for six weeks in 1980.

 

Melrose Boulevard


Harry picked up much of her wardrobe in the second hand shops on Melrose, including the child’s motorcycle jacket that became a signature part of her look.

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