rock & roll hall of fame
Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was Heart of Glass by Blondie. Written by Harry and Stein in 1974-75, its working title was Once I Had A Love. The inspiration for its writing came from The Hues Corporation‘s song Rock the Boat.
From The Guardian:
Heart of Glass was one of the first songs Blondie wrote but, it was years before we recorded it properly. We’d tried it as a ballad, as reggae but, it never quite worked. At that point, it had no title. We just called it “the disco song”. Back then, it was very unusual for a guitar band to be using computerised sound. People got nervous and angry about us bringing different influences into rock. Although we’d covered Lady Marmalade and I Feel Love at gigs, lots of people were mad at us for “going disco” with Heart of Glass. There was the Disco Sucks! movement, and there had even been a riot in Chicago, with people burning disco records. Clem Burke, our drummer, refused to play the song live at first. When it became a hit, he said: “I guess I’ll have to.” The lyrics weren’t about anyone. They were just a plaintive moan about lost love. At first, the song kept saying: “Once I had a love, it was a gas. Soon turned out, it was a pain in the ass.” We couldn’t keep saying that, so we came up with: “Soon turned out, had a heart of glass.” We kept one “pain in the ass” in – and the BBC bleeped it out for radio. ~Debbie Harry
As far as I was concerned, disco was part of R&B, which I’d always liked. The Ramones went on about us “going disco” but, it was tongue-in-cheek. They were our friends. In the video, there’s a shot of the legendary Studio 54, so everyone thought we shot the video there but, it was actually in a short-lived club called the Copa or something. I came up with the phrase “heart of glass” without knowing anything about Werner Herzog or his movie of the same name, which is a great, weird film. It’s nice people now use the song to identify the period in films and documentaries. I never had an inkling it would be such a big hit, or become the song we’d be most remembered for. It’s very gratifying. ~Chris Stein
In season one, DJ Johnny Fever not only plays Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” on his broadcast but, home audiences actually hear him announce the band’s, and the song’s, names. It was fantastic promotion for the up-and-coming Blondie, whose huge breakthrough album, Parallel Lines (with other seminal singles like Hanging on the Telephone and One Way or Another), came out the same month WKRP in Cincinnati debuted. The band reportedly gave the show a Gold record plaque celebrating the album’s major sales numbers as a “Thank You” card. It can be seen in the background as set design on several episodes in later seasons.
Unlike many DJs from that era, Fever played punk as well as rock and soul. The range of music on the show gave this fictional radio station a better playlist than most of the era’s real ones. […] although the show helped break Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” big, the exception, in Fever’s case, was disco. “I asked him to play one disco record and he threatened to throw himself in front of Donna Summer‘s tour bus,” Travis complains in “Baby, If You’ve Ever Wondered,” from season two.
As of April 20, 2011, Heart of Glass is #259 of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
November 2 has four celebrations. Today is National Ohio Day and recognizes the 17th state to join the U.S. Nicknamed the Buckeye State, Ohioans also claim Birthplace of Aviation (North Carolinians dispute this, good-naturedly) and The Heart of It All. It’s largest city, Columbus, is also its capital and, apparently, it is the only state with a State Rock Song.
Admitted to the Union on March 1, 1803, it’s name is taken from the Ohio River which is a Seneca word, Ohi:yo’, meaning “good river”. Ancient remains indicate cultures going back as far as 13,000 BC and, one in particular, the Pre-Columbian Adena, left behind the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, a U.S. National Historic Place & Landmark. Known tribes were the Petun, the Erie, the Chonnonton, the Mingo Seneca, the Lenape, the Shawnee and the Iroquois Confederacy. All native tribes were eventually removed either by request, payment or, eventually the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Tecumseh – Chief of the Shawnee (March 1768 – October 5, 1813)
George Armstrong Custer – Officer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876)
Phoebe Ann “Annie Oakley” Mosey – Sharpshooter (August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926)
Wilbur & Orville Wright – Inventors (Wilbur…April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912) (Orville…August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948)
Charles Milles Maddox Manson – Murderer (November 12, 1934 – November 19, 2017)
National Deviled Egg Day (Yum!)
National Jersey Friday (First Friday in November)
National Broadcast Traffic Professional’s Day (Observed on November 2 unless it falls on a weekend, then the following Monday)
Ending the post with, of course, Ohio’s State Rock Song:
Cheers and enjoy!