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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Blondie - Atomic

'Atomic' was the third single from the 1979 album Eat to the Beat by Blondie. It was written by Debbie Harry and Jimmy Destri and the track was produced by Mike Chapman.

'Atomic' was composed by Jimmy Destri and Debbie Harry, who (in the book "1000 UK number 1 Hits" by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh) stated "He was trying to do something like Heart Of Glass, and then somehow or another we gave it the spaghetti western treatment. Before that it was just lying there like a lox. The lyrics, well, a lot of the time I would write while the band were just playing the song and trying to figure it out. I would just be scatting along with them and I would just start going, 'Ooooooh, your hair is beautiful.'"

The song was produced as a mixture of new wave rock and disco which had proven to be so successful in their number 1 hit from earlier in 1979, 'Heart of Glass'. The guitar riff is directly influenced by the one in the Neil Diamond song 'Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon'.

The 1980 single version of 'Atomic' was in fact a remix. The original 4:35 version as featured on the albums Eat to the Beat and 1981's The Best of Blondie opens with an intro inspired by the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice" and includes an instrumental break with a bass guitar solo. The 7" version mixed by Mike Chapman omits the "Three Blind Mice" intro and replaces the instrumental break with a repeat of the verse.

The song reached number 1 in the UK for two weeks in February 1980 and number 39 in the US. The B-side was 'Die Young, Stay Pretty', also from the album Eat to the Beat, which was Blondie's first attempt at reggae, a style they would perform again in 'The Tide Is High'. The UK 12" single contained a live version of Bowie's 'Heroes' featuring Robert Fripp on guitar recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon just a month before. The track was included on 1993's rarities compilation Blonde and Beyond.

'Atomic' was remixed and re-released in September 1994, when it reached number one on the Billboard Dance Charts and reached number 19 in the UK. The 1994 remix was included on the compilations The Platinum Collection, Beautiful - The Remix Album and Remixed Remade Remodeled - The Remix Project. The track was remixed again four years later for the UK compilation Atomic - The Very Best of Blondie and the '98 Xenomania mix was later included on the first Queer as Folk soundtrack album. The song was also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It was also covered by Sleeper for the Trainspotting Soundtrack in 1996.

The music video depicts the band performing on stage at what looks like a post-nuclear war nightclub in which Debbie Harry is famously wearing a bin liner as a futuristic costume. Footage of a horseman and an atomic explosion are also intercut. Famous supermodel Gia Carangi (a strong supporter of the band) made a guest appearance in the music video; she can be seen in various scenes.

Click the link below to download the following:
Single Version
1994 Remix Version
Die Young, Stay Pretty - B-Side
Heroes - B-Side


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