Today, whoever it is who handles Things Digital for Miss Debbie Harry and company decided to startle me by pointing out that this little ditty first thrilled the waiting world 37 years ago today. As is now quite routine, I feel Old.
"Hanging on the Telephone," for some reason, is the Blondie song that I remember first waking me up, making want to know more - not just about this snarling, teasing reincarnation of a thirties temptress, but about the world she and her henchmen lived in. This performance - live, and with Debbie in good voice (not always the case, even then - she's an uneven live act, to be honest) - was for TV staple "The Midnight Special," and it's immediately clear from the visuals what a transitional time 1978 really was. The dancers are in full-blown Saturday Night Fever drag (and dance step), next to which Blondie appears to have descended from outer space, or at least the East Village, which is more or less what they did. They're playing the next music to people prepped for the last; remarkably, that's pretty much what Debbie has continued to do for the last four decades.
She's the Rockbird, a creature that seems as time goes by more and more interchangeable with the Phoenix, and for her I'm still hanging by the telephone.