Blondie and Beyond

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Most new wave bands tended to have short flashes of brilliance. Not Blondie. They were a great singles band, but they weren't limited to that -- they also made strong albums and, as the rarities collection Blonde & Beyond illustrates, they had a lot of terrific material that never made it on the official records. Like most odds-and-ends collections, Blonde & Beyond is a little scattershot, which is only appropriate for a compilation comprised of demos, B-sides, live tracks, and foreign-language versions of familiar hits. Still, the treasures make the digging worthwhile, since the keepers here -- including early versions of "Denis" and "X Offender," "Poets Problem," "Underground Girl," and a live version of "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" -- and rank among the group's very best efforts and are certainly worth the time of any true fan.

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