Happy Birthday, Debbie Harry! Here are just some reasons why you're so kickass
Folks, stop everything you’re doing and cue your iTunes up to “Heart of Glass.” Today is Debbie Harry’s 70th (WHAT) birthday!
It’s been more than 40 years since Debbie Harry graced the CBGB’s stage, and she is still, to this day, a force to be reckoned with. From her leopard unitards to her tireless humanitarian work, we’re taking time to celebrate the wit, the will, and the wardrobe of Debbie Harry.
Here are just a few (well, nine) reasons why she’s so kickass:
1. She was a punk rock trailblazer
I mean really — what more can we say? She’s the frontwoman of Blondie! Debbie Harry helped launch feminist punk rock and is still one of the most revered women in rock history.
2. She was rapping …in 1980
Her song “Rapture” (y’know, the daydreamy song where Debbie suddenly breaks into a verses about a man from Mars eating cars) is said to be the first rap song played on MTV. Adding to the awesomeness of it all, Debbie Harry managed to squeeze in a Jean Michele Basquiat cameo during the video shoot. Keep your eyes peeled…
3. She also made the first televised rap performance happen on SNL
Alright—so maybe she didn’t do the rapping this time around—but when Debbie got the chance to perform during SNL‘s Valentine’s Day episode in 1981 (watch it here), she opted to bring out The Funky Four Plus One, a budding rap group from the Bronx. It may not sound like much, but this was a pretty big deal at the time. Even some the SNL producer’s had their doubts about the performance. Debby Harry’s band mate/former boyfriend, Chris Stein, told Wax Poetics about the ordeal: “The people on the show were so nervous about them doing it … I remember trying to explain to them how scratching worked. Trying to [verbalize] what that is for someone who has no idea, it’s really difficult.” Pioneering, people.
4. She’s about the future of female rock power
When asked about the future of rock and roll, Debbie told Victor Bockris, “The only place left for rock to go is toward more girl stars.” Hell, yeah!
5. She is an all around humanitarian
Since slowing down from her days with Blondie, Debbie has devoted much of her life to philanthropy. In a 2011 interview, Debbie vocalized her desire to get more involved in philanthropy, and cited Elton John as an inspiration:
Aside from fighting cancer and endometriosis, Debbie most recently hit the Madison Square Garden stage with Blondie and vocalized her support for LGBT rights.
6. She was on the pilot episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Not only is Debbie Harry a legendary punk icon, she’s also part of the original witches council on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Though she only appeared in the pilot episode, we’ll forever treasure this moment.
7. She was also in Tales of the Darkside: The Movie
Debbie Harry definitely had a witchy theme going on in the late ’80s, early ’90s. Aside from her appearance as Cassandra on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Debbie also played the role of Betty, an affluent suburban housewife slash modern witch.
8. Her album wardrobe is always on point
9. She’s given us a wealth of classic tunes
“Heart of Glass,” “Rapture,” “Call Me,” “Atomic,” “One Way or Another”…need we say more?
Happy 70th Birthday, Debbie!
(Images via Amazon, Vimeo, WB, Paramount)