The True Story Behind Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass”

via @Jurgen Breeveld | Youtube

Blondie, a band co-founded by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, transitioned from the seedy side of New York’s punk rock scene to the golden gloss of the Top 40 with the release of “Heart of Glass.” It later became the band’s first No. 1 single in the US and UK, solidifying their position at the top of the new wave music scene.

Before “Heart of Glass” was released, Harry and guitarist Chris Stein created an early draft of “Once I Had a Love.” The initial demo included a basic disco tempo and a softer, funkier tone. You can hear a sample of the song below, and the group dubbed it “The Disco Song” due to its evident danceability.

Harry acknowledged that “Heart of Glass” was really strong from the start in a conversation with EW.

“Once we had the track nailed down, it stayed that way since 1975—that’s when we first started working on it,” she said. The track nearly didn’t get off the ground because of some of the lyrical substance, the frontwoman added, “People got upset because I sang ‘ass.’ Maybe because it’s a three-letter word and not a four-letter word? I think we got banned in a few places because of that. We were very raw and minimalist then.”

Harry recounted the writing process in a different interview, stating, “We were living in a loft in New York’s then-notorious Bowery area, rehearsing at night in rooms so cold we had to wear gloves. ‘Heart of Glass’ was one of the first songs Blondie wrote, but it was years before we recorded it properly. We’d tried it as a ballad, as reggae, but it never quite worked. We just called it ‘The Disco Song.’”