Blondie

Heart of Glass

Composed by Chris Stein / Debbie Harry

Song Review by

"Heart of Glass" is one of those songs that managed to change the playing field for an entire musical genre. By virtue of the song's unqualified success, reaching number one in both the U.S. and the U.K. and beyond, the stakes for the new wave/punk movement had been raised. Before "Heart of Glass," the music's full commercial potential had previously been limited to cult status in line with the small underground scene from which Blondie had emerged. Now it was being realized. What began as a flagrant attempt to exploit the then still raging disco scene turned into the perfect genre-blending dance-pop gem. In fact, an early demo recording of the song was entitled "Once I Had a Love (aka The Disco Song)" and was included in the 2001 reissue of Blondie's Parallel Lines album. The earlier recording is telling, illustrating producer Mike Chapman's diligent work ethic transforming a loose, middling dance-like number into a taught, driving piece of gleaming dance-rock. As Chapman himself explains in the reissue liner notes, "At the first rehearsal we worked on "Heart of Glass." This proved to be a blessing and a huge step forward in cementing our working relationship. It was a great idea that needed to be put into the right shape to find a home on American radio play lists. Since both Debbie and Chris were intrigued by the current disco avalanche that was sweeping the country, we decided to go there with the arrangement." Even in its earlier incarnations Chapman and the band seemed to sense that the song was a career-changing opportunity and threw themselves into its recording as never before and the result paid off. The band wastes no time setting the rock-solid groove, crashing in behind a percolating drum machine with a throbbing bass line and steady four-on-the-floor bass drum supported by pulsing keyboards and plunky guitar lines. Singer Deborah Harry's vocal takes a more demure tact from the album's more brassy pop/rock numbers, opting instead for a high-pitched cooing, her voice softened by silky double tracking as she muses on the fragile nature of love, "Once I had a love and it was a gas/Soon turned out had a heart of glass/Seemed like the real thing, only to find much o'mistrust/Love's gone behind." Her voice drops slightly for the equally catchy chorus, supported by harmonized male backing vocals as she confesses, "In between what I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine/Love is so confusing, there's no peace of mind/If I fear I'm losing you/It's no good, you teasing like you do." An organ swells in behind to take over the infectious melody with lush backing "la, la, la"s adding yet another layer of polish. The arrangement has a long vamp out, Harry's vocal dropping out for several minutes, letting the band run with the groove, perhaps with the idea of mimicking the length of many disco hits of the day with the backing vocals and organ carrying the melody as the track clocks in at nearly a full six minutes.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Parallel Lines 1978 Chrysalis Records 3:45
No Image 1979
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
The Best of Blondie 1981 EMI Music Distribution 4:34
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MGM/UA
Legends [DCC] 1986
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The Disco Years, Vol. 2: On the Beat 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
No Image 1991 MCA
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Sandstone Music
Rock of the 70's, Vol. 3 1992
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 4:33
Blondie and Beyond 1993 Chrysalis Records 5:48
Young at Heart, Vol. 1 [Sounds Direct Discs 1-2] 1993
Various Artists
Sounds Direct
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd.
The Platinum Collection 1994 Chrysalis Records 4:10
Sensational Seventies, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Time Warner
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Priority Records
Billboard Top Hits: 1975-1979 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
Only Dance: 1975-1979 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 3:22
The Remix Project 1995 EMI Music Distribution 7:28
#1 Hits: 1975-1979 1996
Various Artists
GNP/Crescendo 3:24
Divas of Pop 1996
Various Artists
GNP/Crescendo 3:26
Mega Hits, Vol. 3: Disco Heat 1996
Various Artists
Priority Records
Retro Dance Club, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Rock On: 1979 1996
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 3:24
Shape Fitness Music: Cardio, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 1:23
Totally 70's 1997
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Rock On: 1975-1979 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:27
Ultimate New Wave Party 1998 1997
Various Artists
Arista 4:20
High Energy, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:26
Picture This Live 1997 EMI Music Distribution 6:21
Whole Lotta Rock: 1978-1979 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 4:33
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1970-1978 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 4:33
Greatest Hits of the 70's, Vol. 3 [1997] 1997
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:25
Decades of Dance: The 70's 1998
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets / Cema Special Ma 4:34
Big Hits of the 70's [EMI-Capitol] 1998
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets
Disco Fever, Vol. 1 [SPG] 1998
Various Artists
SPG 5:51
Dance Club Retro, Vol. 2: Disco 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 7:14
54, Vol. 2 1998
Original Soundtrack
Rhino
No. 1 Classic Pop Album 1998
Various Artists
Polygram 3:53
Baggerhits '98: Disco Fieber 1998
Various Artists
Electrola 3:58
Pure Disco, Vol. 3 1998
Various Artists
Polydor 3:22
CMJ the Year in Alternative Music 1979 1998
Various Artists
Chronicles / Polygram 3:22
Sounds of the Seventies: Super 70's 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time/Life Music 3:22
Rock On: From 1970 to 1979 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 3:27
Disco Box 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:24
Rock-N-Roll's Greatest Hits of All Time 70's, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:35
The Best of Blondie [CEMA Special Products] 1999 Capitol/EMI Records 4:11
Atomic: The Very Best of Blondie 1999 Toshiba EMI
She Rock 1999
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:25
Non-Stop 90's Party 1999
Various Artists
DJ Specialist 4:15
Millennium Box Set 1999
Various Artists
Disky 4:09
Party Hard 2000 1999
Various Artists
Radikal 4:11
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Disc One] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:11
Disco Mania, Vol. 1 [Platinum 2000] 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:12
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1979 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:25
Millennium Disco Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:25
Movie Madness: Cool Songs From Hot Flicks 2000
Original Soundtrack
Delta Distribution 4:35
A Woman's Voice [Polygram] 2000
Various Artists
UTV / Polygram 3:24
The 70's [Original TV Soundtrack] 2000
Original TV Soundtrack
Island / Polygram 5:51
Livid 2000 BMG International 4:40
New Millennium Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:25
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Music For Pleasure
City Rocks: New York 2000
Various Artists
Cityrocks 4:13
Greatest Hits of the 70's [Disky Box] 2000
Various Artists
Disky 4:09
Inside the Music: Women on Top 2001
Various Artists
Silverline Records
Decades: Story of the 60's, 70's & 80's [EMI] 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:55
Absolutely the Best of the 70's: 20 Big Hits 2001
Various Artists
Varese 4:34
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Polystar / Universal
Instant Party: Disco Boogie 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:23
Totally Number 1 Hits of the 70's 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:54
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 4:09
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1975-1979 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:25
Radio Caroline Calling 70's Flashback 2001
Various Artists
Disky
No Image 2001
Various Artists
GSC 4:37
Then: 1978-1979 2002
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution 4:33
1979: Where Were You? 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Disco Fever, Vol. 1-2 [SPG] 2002
Various Artists
SPG 5:51
Greatest Video Hits 2002 Capitol
Maximum 70's 2002
Various Artists
Disky
Best of the 70's [EMI Gold] 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:12
Best of Blondie [Collectables] 2003 Collectables 4:11
Twogether Rock 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:52
Seventies Complete 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Noevir CM Hits/International 2003
Various Artists
Toshiba EMI
Disco Nights, Vol. 6 [Zyx] 2003
Various Artists
Unidisc
Die 70er Show, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
BMG 4:31
The Best Pop Album of the 70's...Ever! 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:11
Best of Blondie [Platinum Disc] 2003 Platinum Disc 4:11
Blondie [Collection] 2003 Platinum Disc 4:12
I Love 2 Party 2004 2004
Various Artists
Virgin 3:47
I Love 70's 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:55
Singles Box 2004 Capitol/EMI Records 4:11
Everyone's a Winner: 60 Original No. 1's 2004
Various Artists
Empire Triples 4:11
Parallel Lines/Plastic Letters 2004 EMI Music Distribution
Live by Request [DVD] 2004 Sanctuary
Simply the Best 70's Album 2004
Various Artists
WEA/Warner
No Image 2004 Eagle Vision 4:54
Everyone's A Winner: 20 Original No. 1's [CD2] 2004
Various Artists
Disky 4:11
Video Hits 2005 Capitol
Lost & Found in the Seventies: Disco 2005
Various Artists
Liberty / Liberty 4:33
Rock N Roll's Greatest Hits of All Time 70's, Vol. 1 2005
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:35
Retro Remixed 2: Rare & Refashioned 2005
Various Artists
Hi-Bias Records 7:28
75 to 85 2005
Various Artists
Disky
Pure 70s Party 2005
Various Artists
Apace 3:15
Reunited 2005
Various Artists
Disky Communications 4:09
Ultimate 16: Essential Rock 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:32
I Love Music 1975-1979: No More Heroes 2005
Various Artists
Disky 4:08
Complete Seventies 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:19
Best Live 2005 Teichiku Records
'70s: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:32
Best of Blondie [Japan] 2006 Toshiba EMI 4:34
Greatest Hits: Sound & Vision 2006 Capitol
Les 100 Plus Grands Tubes de l'Ete 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:53
Extended Seventies: The Dawning of the 12 Inch Era 2006
Various Artists
Optimum 5:46
No Image 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Club St. Tropez, Vol. 4 2006
Various Artists
More Music 2:19
Floorfillers: The Ultimate Party Album 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Retro Pop 2006
Various Artists
Brentwood Records 4:33
Original 70s Number 1s Album 2006
Various Artists
EMI
Divine Goddesses: Music with a Twist 2006
Various Artists
Deluxe Holland 5:23
Billboard #1s: The '70s 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:24
Live in Toronto 2006 Mpg / Movieplay Gold 5:47
This Is '80s New Wave 2006
Various Artists
Cleopatra 4:33
All #1 Hits '70s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 4:11
Women and the Hits 2006
Various Artists
Legacy 4:32
No Image 2006 Chrysalis Records
No Image 2006 Capitol/Chrysalis 8:42
No Image 2007 Capitol 4:33
The Original 80s Remix Box Set 2007
Various Artists
EMI
Jim Beam: Pub Jukebox Classics 2007
Various Artists
Liberation
Gracie [Original Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Lakeshore Records 4:31
Live in Toronto [DVD] 2007 Immortal
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source
Disco Fever, Vol. 1-4 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:24
Forever Pop der 70er 2007
Various Artists
Ar-Express / Sony BMG 4:10
No Image 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:50
Forever Blondie 2007 Madacy 4:09
We Own the Night 2007
Original Soundtrack
Lakeshore Records 5:47
Holiday Gift Pack 2007 Capitol
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:23
U 30 Party 3: Funky Town 2007
Various Artists
ZYX Music 4:10
No Image 2008
Various Artists
RFM
Playlist: 70's Pop 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 4:32
TV Ad Songs 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 3:54
Pure Hits [Emd] [3 Discs] 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 4:31
Richie Rich Presents: Celebutante 2008
Various Artists
Defend Music 4:10
Die Ultimative Chartshow: Musikverhörer 2008
Various Artists
Comydor / Universal Music
Sounds of the 70's Generation 2008
Various Artists
Destra 4:08
Simply the Best Seventies Rock 2009
Various Artists
Warner Bros. / Warner Music 4:35
25 Years Of Chrysalis Music
Various Artists
Sony CMG
De Pre Historie: 1979, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 4:26
Personal Collection Mail on Sunday 5:43
No Image
Various Artists
3:48
No Image
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Ultimate New-Wave
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
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