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"Oh, your hair is beautiful"

#15 AtomicBlondie

[452] Writers: Chris Stein & Debbie Harry. Producer: Mike Chapman
23 Feb 80 – 9 weeks on chart – #1 for 2 weeks from 01 Mar 80

It's All Souls' Day today (Hallowe'een), so here's the group who had a hit with an island of lost ones...

Back to the classic pop year 1980 for the first time since our #48, Ashes To Ashes, and back to Blondie again after ‘Heart Of Glass’ made it at #37. Blondie thereby join the Pet Shop Boys as the only acts so far to get into our top 50 twice (although technically we can include David Bowie, Siobhan Fahey and Holly Johnson in that select group too). Will we be seeing any of them again?

1980 was a fantastic year for Blondie. ‘Atomic’ was their ninth hit single, the first of their consecutive hat-trick of chart-toppers that year, and the third of Blondie’s six #1s in total. It was the third track lifted from Blondie’s ‘Eat To The Beat’ album. It entered at #3, in a week that Keith Michell’s ‘CaptainBeaky’ was at #5 (like you needed to know that). It made #1 the next week, deposing ‘Coward Of The County’ by Kenny Rogers after two chart-topping weeks.

‘Atomic’ was replaced at the top after a fortnight by Fern Kinney’s ‘Together We Are Beautiful’.
It actually had a very short run at #1 for a 1980s #1 single, with only 9 weeks, as did ‘Call Me’; another of their 1980 #1s. Blondie were an early example of the phenomenon which we now accept as the norm, with singles marketed heavily on release, entering high, and then dropping away quickly. The single also made only #39 in the USA. In the UK , ‘Atomic’ returned to the charts in September 1994, making #19 in a four week run in a remixed version.

As discussed in the comments box, Blondie’s singles have just been regurgitated once again in the shape of a new ‘Greatest Hits’ album, released last week. However, in the absence of a series of remixed singles this time around, the public has responded with widespread apathy, and the album stuggled, entering at #38 on Sunday.

‘Atomic’ is Martin’s #1, “I thought no.1 should be a classic”, and Jonathan's #6, “That Yankee New Wave lot do DISCO. And boy do they know how to make you dance. Oh, your hair is beautiful, toniiiiiight.”

It’s also David's #1; “The most perfect number one single of all time. The archetypal pop goddess. All lipgloss and cheekbones and feathered hair. The song begins with a three-chord intro, sounding for all the world like "Three Blind Mice". In comes Chris's patented spaghetti Western guitar and a Last Days Of Disco bassline. Then Debbie coos, beautifully, about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING: "Uh-huh make me tonight, Tonight, Make it right. Oh, uh-huh make it magnificent, Tonight, Right. Ah, oh your hair is beautiful, Ah, tonight." Then she stops, and for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON AT ALL, says, "Atomic". Genius. Oh, and there's a BASS SOLO.”

There’s a new Blondie album due out early next year, including songs called ‘Motorman’, ‘Diamond Bridge’ and ‘Goldenrod’.

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