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Blondie's Parallel Lines


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Table of Contents

Introduction: "Went Walking One Day on the Lower East Side ... " Chapter One: Downtown New York in the 1960s and 1970s Blondie's New York Genes Punk's Bubblegum Roots The Avant-Garde Goes Pop! Children of The Velvet Underground Max's Kansas City Chapter Two: Blondie's Arty Antecedents Off-Off-Broadway Sets the Stage for Punk Eric Emerson Makes the Scene Two Stars Align in the Glitter Age Punk's Trash Aesthetic Chapter Three: Parallel Scenes The Downtown Disco Underground Emerges Blondie Stumbles Into Existence CBGB and the Bowery Neighborhood The Downtown Rock Scene Coalesces Chapter Four: From the Bowery to Blondiemania Debbie and Chris Rebuild Blondie Takes Off "Going Professional" Art and Commerce Chapter Five: "Disco Sucks," "Chicks Can't Rock," Blah Blah Blah "Heart of Glass" Breaks Blondie In America From CBGB to Studio 54 "Death To Disco!" Punk vs. Disco? Gender Trouble Conclusion, or, Fade Away (and Radiate) Postscript: Blondie Points To the Future, Then Ceases To Exist

Promotional Information

This critical account of Blondie's rise also doubles as an alternative history of 1970s American popular music and the downtown New York scene.

About the Author

Kembrew McLeod is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, USA. He has published and produced several books and documentaries about music and popular culture.


It's a rare treat when an author busts out a tightly researched agenda that totally flips your perspective on a record, a band, a scene, a genre, and an entire artistic era. Kembrew McLeod provides such a treat with this gloriously revisionist history, positing that Blondie and the core of the New York punk scene's early bands and aesthetics were a product of a wildly vital gay underground theater scene that flourished from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. * MTV News *
A neat snapshot of a time of revolution, reinvention and experimentation ... [This book is] every bit as appetising as the album itself, and an astute, erudite examination of one of the greatest albums of all time. * Record Collector *
An interesting thesis well made in this enjoyable addition to the 33 1/3 series. * International Times *
There's a little book I've been devouring on the subway this past week or two: Blondie's Parallel Lines by Kembrew McLeod. It has had me tracing and re-tracing connections all over the place, re-examining my own assumptions about my own evolving musical tastes and cultural assumptions from the time of my first transistor radio ... Refreshing. * One Flew East *
Nothing beats a great argument that makes you think of the album in question in a whole new light, then - of course - sends you right back to the music to love it all over again ... Parallel Lines - the book - is worth reading if you're a devotee of Blondie or the 33 1/3 series (and of course for fans of both already) but if, somehow, you've never experienced this record in your lifetime and haven't yet read any of the other entries into this set of snapshots of classic albums, McLeod's book might instantly, easily, make you a fan of both. * Off The Tracks *
The publisher Bloomsbury cannot be praised highly enough for the 33 1/3 series ... This volume houses countless surprising details ... [and] McLeod writes so informatively and with such inspiration that one cannot dismiss Parallel Lines or any of the other similar music covered in the book. * CulturMag (Bloomsbury translation) *
[Blondie's] Parallel Lines ... gives a good critical insight into how record labels have worked up until the present day ... the whole thing reads very well. * OX Fanzine (Bloomsbury translation) *

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