by Jake McKenzie
photo by Alexander Thompson
A former Playboy bunny named Debbie Harry was waiting tables and playing folk rock when she fell in love with Stilettoes guitarist Chris Stein. Soon after, Harry ditched her former folk faction to play punk rock — a genre she would later come to personify — with her new friends The Stilettoes. A change in musical direction led four former Stilettoes to form their own band and ultimately pioneer the emerging new wave movement of the ‘70s. Though they played two shows under the name Angel and the Snake, the final band name came from a cat-calling truck driver who would unknowingly capture the spirit of the band, their sound, and aesthetic when he referred to Debbie Harry as “Blondie.” Songs like “X-Offender” made Blondie a full-fledged success in Australia and the U.K., but they were regarded as an underground band in the U.S. until 1978’s Parallel Lines rocketed them into superstardom while helping to inject new wave into the mainstream bloodstream.