Heart Of Glass

Album: Parallel Lines (1978)
Charted: 1 1


  • Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (who were a couple) wrote the first version of this song in early 1974, shortly after they first met. They didn't have a proper title for the song, and would refer to it as "The Disco Song." Harry explained on the show Words and Music: "Lyrically, it was about a stalker who was pursuing me, and Chris saved me from him."

    It wasn't until they recorded this song in 1978 that Stein came up with the title "Heart Of Glass." He didn't know that it was also the title of a 1976 German movie directed by Werner Herzog.
  • According to Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 Songs, Harry and Stein wrote the song in their dingy New York apartment and keyboardist Jimmy Destri provided the synthesizer hook. The result brought punk and disco together on the dance floor. Said Destri, "Chris always wanted to do disco. We used to do 'Heart Of Glass' to upset people."
  • Debbie Harry (from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh): "When we did Heart Of Glass it wasn't too cool in our social set to play disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool. It was based around a Roland Rhythm Machine and the backing took over 10 hours to get down."

    Chris Stein added, "We didn't expect the original to be that big. We only did it as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album."
  • Blondie re-recorded this in 1978 in a reggae style, but their producer Mike Chapman suggested reggae didn't sell in America. As Harry and Stein had a fascination with the disco sound that was then sweeping the country, so they adopted a sound that was an amalgamation of their New Wave background and Eurodisco.
  • Finding words to rhyme to "glass" that fit in a song can be... a pain in the ass.

    In the last chorus, following "Once I had a love and it was a gas," Debbie Harry takes a different tack, singing "Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass." This is a key line in the song, since the singer has now realized that this relationship is more trouble than it's worth, and that her heart of glass might be more durable than she thought.

    Unfortunately, American radio was generally ass-free at this time, so to ensure airplay stations were sent an edited version with the offending line replaced with "soon turned out I had a heart of glass."
  • The video for this song showed the band performing it in an empty discotheque, and was very popular, thanks to the many close-ups of Debbie Harry. Blondie was one of the few American bands that made videos in the years before MTV. They did so because they were very popular in Australia and Europe, and by producing videos, they could be featured on shows in those continents when they couldn't travel there.
  • The sound of the CR-78 drum machine was merged with that of drummer Clem Burke's real drums, which was no easy task in the analog age. Burke took his inspiration from the groove of one of his favorite songs: The Bee Gees' "Stayin Alive."
  • The song's lyric turns the traditional heartbreak theme on its head. Debbie Harry explained in Q magazine: "I was tired of hearing girl singers write or sing about being beaten by love. So I said, Well listen, there are also a lot of girls who just walk away."
  • John Lennon once wrote Ringo Starr a postcard advising him to write more songs like "Heart of Glass." Debbie Harry told The Guardian: "It was totally wonderful knowing that."
  • The success of "Heart of Glass" launched Parallel Lines and Blondie into mainstream success, but it caused a lot of friction with some of their original fan base, which felt Blondie had sold out.

    In a 1979 Los Angeles Times piece, Richard Cromelin observed, "'Death To Disco' T-shirts weren't an uncommon sight among the new wave audience that formed Blondie's first base of support. But, as it turns out, it's disco that's given life to Blondie."

    Blondie guitarist Chris Stein responded, "We probably have alienated some of that original audience, but I really don't have sympathy for anybody that says we've sold out."

    Keyboardist Jimmy Destri added, "These new wave kids think they know everything about rock and roll, but they won't accept anything else. They should listen to the album and realize that we haven't changed our direction that radically. We haven't become the Bee Gees."

    The trouble didn't end there. The success of "Heart of Glass" created yet another problem for the band, because they weren't really a disco band. "We did a disco TV show and we were total outcasts," singer Deborah Harry told Cromelin. "Some other group tried to steal our guitars, they wouldn't give us a dressing room. So we might end up being total outcasts; from the rock 'n' roll crowd and the disco crowd. The rock crowd thinks we sold out and the disco crowd thinks we're punks."
  • An early version of this song called "Once I Had a Love (aka The Disco Song)" was included in the 2001 reissue of the Parallel Lines album.
  • Miley Cyrus performed a cover of the song at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 19, 2020. Her version impressed fans and colleagues alike and an audio recording of the live performance was released to streaming services 10 days later.

    Blondie's official Twitter account re-tweeted a video of Cyrus' iHeartRadio performance and wrote, "We think Miley Cyrus nailed it. Check it out."

    Cyrus' version returned the song to the UK Top 40, peaking at #36.

Comments: 23

  • Cat from UsaI can't believe "Mucho mistrust" are actually the lyrics...when you watch her sing it doesn't look like she's saying it either. I can't tell what she really is saying though. Did they have the words on the album cover?
  • Suki from LondonThe song does not change from 4/4 to 3/4 as suggested by Jack. During one of the middle-eight sections, the second part of the middle-eight changes from 8/8 to 7/8 (count to eight in each bar and you can hear this). This is only on the album version of the track, not the single version which appears to be shamefully badly edited to conform to radio play song durations. It's quite plausible that the time signature change was a deliberate measure to confuse dancers! The album version is one of Blondies finest songs.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 12th 1979, Blondie performed "Heart of Glass"* on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was in its second week at #2 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; twenty days earlier on April 22nd, 1979 it had peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100...
    As stated above it also reached #1 in the United Kingdom, and it also top the charts in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Switzerland...
    Between 1979 and 1999 the quintet had ten Top 100 records; with four making the Top 10 and they all peaked at #1, their other three #1s were "Call Me" for six weeks in 1980, "The Tide Is High" for one week in 1981, and "Rapture" for two weeks, also in 1981...
    * "Heart of Glass" was the group's tenth released single, and the first to make the Top 100 chart.
  • Steve from Torrance, CaAccording to Wikipedia, the use of this song on the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati helped to introduce the band to the wider American mainstream. The band's record label Chrysalis Records gave the show's producers a gold record as a way of saying thank-you. The gold record was later seen on the show's set during the third and fourth seasons.
  • Jack from Mesa, AzThe instrumental break changes time signatures from 4/4 to 3/4 a few times. Hilarious! They are screwing around making their "disco" song un-dancable!
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxThe 'pain in the ass' version did make it to MTV, though. I grin whenever I hear DH sing that line.
  • Nancy from Baltimore, MdA fun song to dance to. Blondie was one of a kind.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnGreat disco track, Debbie Harry was so pretty in the '70s - but not now!
  • Anuk from Colombo, Sri Lanka (ceylon)blondie's best song ! she was remarkable,
    effortlessly cool & gorgeous.she was a good songwriter too.the most striking frontwoman ever to lead a band!!!
  • Tony from Chicago, IlPerfect Break up song one of my all time favorites!!!!!!
  • Drew from Linn Creek, Mo, CoEvery time I hear this I think back to the first time I heard it. Late one night in a club with friends of mine. Asked a buddy who it was, he said "some group called Blondie". I see the darkness, the smoke, the dance floor, the neon, the slick clothes and heels. Takes me back
  • Mjn Seifer from Not Listed For Personal Reason, EnglandI love this song! The music video is a TINY bit "look at me!", but not as much as a lot of other vids out there.
  • Billy from Albany, Nyi love this song its so retroish
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, Canadaya this songs sweet, i was watching the video on late night retro video play so then decided to download it
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzIn the 60s, Debbie was singing in a band called The Wind in The Willows.
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeThere is a remix of Celine Dion's song I'm Alive which uses the Heart Of Glass baseline
  • Tabitha from Smiths Station, Alskye sweetnam has this song on her album. :D
  • Elie from London, Englandi listened to the song recently on this chanel called melody they put blondie kite a lot anyways good song
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoI wish I had a producer like that!!
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesIn Blondie's "Heart Of Glass", the phrase "pain in the @$$" heard in the album track was deleted in the 45 RPM single version.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaHarry was in that film "videodrome". Hot.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiai love her too, never forget that film clip to In the Flesh......she looked absoultely unbeleivable

    as Frank Costanza from Seinfeld would've said

    " Hootchie Mama "
  • Kat from Tbilisi, OtherI LOVE Debbie Harry. She is brilliant. I'm surprised why didn't anyone post anything? And I adore "Denis" their big hit. This song is pretty cool too
see more comments

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