If only all great songs got this backstory treatment.
Red Bull Music Academy recently wrapped their beat:repeat NYC series with a bang, breaking down Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”
Chris Stein weighs in on the iconic tune, which shattered the idea of what punk music could be.
In the video, Stein touches on the seedy underbelly of the New York punk scene and recalls the heyday of CBGBs, a place American punk and new wave could call home.
The song merges 70s disco drumming with the steady backbeat of the Roland Compu-rhythm CR-68 and 78 drum machines. The machine could be synchronized with a synth for a whole new sound. The somewhat cheesiness of the CR-68’s “tink-tink” is what opens “Heart of Glass,” and provides the backbone for the song’s amazing reggae/disco/lounge sensibilities.
“It was like us being punk in the face of punk,” says Stein. It’s a classic late 70s rock song that instantly recalls summertime, hot pavement and lust.
Like all great music, the song rubbed some the wrong way for its genre-bending, but the band didn’t care who it pissed off. Thank God.