The New York Optimist,
Publishers Pick Of The
Week:
Blondie, Heart of Glass
"Heart of Glass"
was originally recorded in 1975
under the name "Once I Had a
Love," and was much slower
with a blues/reggae vibe to it.
The song was frequently
performed on tours, then was
re-recorded with the same title
in 1978, when the song was
made a bit more rock-oriented.
When Blondie recorded the
album Parallel Lines, disco was
big on the music scene, and
producer Mike Chapman
decided to give the song the
disco twist that made the song
what it is today, and one of the
best-known Blondie recordings.
For the single release the track
was remixed by Chapman with
the double-tracked bass drum
even more accentuated.

The song was released in
January 1979, and reached
number one in both the US and
the UK. The UK B-side was
"Rifle Range", from Blondie's
self titled debut album while the
US single used the Parallel
Lines track "11:59". The accompanying music video for "Heart of Glass" was filmed at Studio 54 in New York City.  Almost immediately after its release,
"Heart of Glass" became the subject of controversy because of its disco sound. At the time, Blondie was one of the bands at the forefront of New York's
growing New Wave musical scene. Suddenly they found themselves accused of "selling out" for releasing a disco song. According to Blondie frontwoman
Deborah Harry, "Heart of Glass" made the band pariahs in the eyes of many of their fellow musicians in the New York music scene. The band was accused of
pandering to the mainstream that many punk/new wave bands at the time were actively rebelling against.

There was also the issue of the use of the expression "pain in the ass" within the lyrics which, at the time, did not sit easily with the BBC. The radio version
changed it to "heart of glass." In Australia, the song was banned from radio for its "strong language."

Despite the controversy, the song was a huge hit and helped propel Blondie from cult group to mainstream icons. The band itself has acknowledged the
success of the song in helping their careers and has downplayed criticism of the song, pointing out that Blondie always experimented with different styles of
music and that "Heart of Glass" was their take on disco. The band itself has jokingly taken to referring to the song as "The Disco Song" in
interviews.
The New York Optimist
February 2009