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On this day in music history: April 28, 1979 - “Heart Of Glass” by Blondie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, it is the first chart topping single for the New York City based new wave/rock band fronted by lead singer Debbie Harry. Debbie and Chris originally write the song in late 1974 - early 1975 as “Once I Had A Love” with a reggae flavored arrangement. It continues to evolve as they retool the sound of the song, giving it a slow “four on the floor” disco beat, then re-titling it “The Disco Song”. Producer Mike Chapman along with the band give it a dramatic makeover employing the use of synthesizers (Moog Polymoog, Roland SH-1000, the latter being triggered off the CR-78) and the Roland CR-78 drum machine which gives the song its signature “ticking” pulse. Released as the second single from the bands third album “Parallel Lines” on January 3, 1979, “Heart Of Glass” creates an immediate sensation on the dance floor that quickly spreads to radio. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on February 17, 1979, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The huge success of “Heart Of Glass” is a double edged sword for Blondie as they are accused of “selling out” by their fellow musicians on the New York punk and new wave scene for having made “a disco song”. “Heart Of Glass” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2016.

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On this day in music history: April 23, 1976 - “Ramones”, the debut album by the Ramones is released. Produced by Craig Leon, it is recorded at Plaza Sound, Radio City Music Hall in New York City from February 2 - 19, 1976. Fixtures on the New York punk rock scene since forming in 1974, the Ramones come to the attention of Sire Records A&R man Craig Leon (Blondie, Joshua Bell), through their manager Danny Fields, by way of a demo album the band records with producer Marty Thau. Leon signs the band to the label in November of 1975. The first album by Forest Hills, Queens, NY punk quartet is recorded in just seven days (spread over a two week period) for a cost of $6,400. Consisting of both covers and originals, it is widely praised by rock critics and the Ramones solid fan base. The album goes on to help define and popularize the punk music genre and culture, inspiring and influencing numerous bands and artists that follow in their wake.  The album is remastered and reissued in 2001 with eight additional bonus tracks added, including demo versions  and the single mix of “Blitzkrieg Bop”. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2011, pressed on blue vinyl with a bonus 7" of “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” b/w “California Sun/I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You” that is limited to only 500 copies. To commemorate the album’s fortieth anniversary in 2016, it is released as a limited three CD + LP Deluxe Edition. The CD’s include stereo and mono mixes of the original album on disc one, with the second disc containing  outtakes and demos. Disc three features two live performances recorded at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, CA on August 12, 1976. The set also comes with a 180 gram vinyl LP featuring the mono mix of the album, and a 12" x 12" hardbound book with photos and extensive liner notes. The anniversary box is remastered by Sean Magee and Sam Okell, and executive produced by Bill Inglot. “Ramones” peaks at number one hundred eleven on the Billboard Top 200.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture,’ recreation of CBGB’s legendary bathroom, 2013…

The breakout star of “Punk: Chaos to Couture,” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is neither the maverick designer Vivienne Westwood nor modern punks like Gareth Pugh and the sisters of Rodarte, but a toilet. At the show’s entrance, visitors are immediately confronted with a re-creation of a filthy restroom of CBGB, the Bowery club that was one of the birthplaces of punk, as it would have appeared in the mid-1970s — drawing reactions, at least among those who remember the original facilities, ranging from amazement to ire. There are three urinals, two toilets with the seats up, two sinks, a bare light bulb, a brick wall, countless used cigarette butts and a whole lot of graffiti, mostly the names of the bands that performed at the club.Patti Smith once said “all the action happened in the toilets,” according to Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibition, and it is a place where history is literally written on the walls.

The re-creation of the graffiti is based on images taken in the 1970s by the photographer David Godlis, who documented the New York rock and punk scenes. Several band names indicate that this is how the bathrooms would have looked shortly after 1976, when Dead Boys, a punk band managed by CBGB’s owner Hilly Kristal, first played at the club.

Torrid snarling guitars welcome us into I Hate You, a swaggering eruption of garage rock and post-punk. The frenetic debut single comes from a fresh new UK band named Bad Mannequins, who’ve surfaced out of Glasgow to take us back to New York City’s late 70′s punk rock scene. Crunchy berserk, attitude filled I Hate You is lifted from their debut EP Deny Til U Die Part I, set for release June 2nd via Triple Denim. The EP is the first of a three part trilogy on which the band melds an in your face punk rock sound with their tongue in cheek lyricism. Watch the video for I Hate You below. You can purchase the single from iTunes, here.

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ZINE FRIDAY: Punk Magazine, Jan 1976

We recently purchased four new music zine titles for our zine collection.  One exciting title we acquired is Punk Magazine.  

Punk magazine/fanzine published 15 issues from 1976-1979 plus a special issue in 1981.  It was created by in 1975 by John Holmstrom, Ged Dunn and Legs McNeil.  Punk gave voice to and publicized the underground New York punk rock scene.  They featured musicians such as Sex Pistols, Blondie, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, and Patti Smith.

Featured here is vol 1. no. 3 January 1976.  The cover story is about the Ramones.  Included are bios of the members, an interview with the band, and photos of the band performing their song “The Blitzkrieg Bop.”

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