This is how Debbie Harry, the lead singer and head of the band Blondie, describes her relationship with New York. This city plays an omnipresent leading role in her life and therefore also in the book.  In particular, Debbie tells a lot about the beginnings of her musical career and the subsequent breakthrough with Blondie.

New York in the 70s was dangerously dirty and close to bankruptcy – just right for a young, pretty, blonde woman. Nevertheless, Debbie Harry has  fought her way through the dangers of the urban jungle and had great success with her band. With her colleagues and friends Patti Smith  and the Ramones, she was in favor of punk and then New Wave to develop a new genre in keeping with the zeitgeist.

The description of the environment takes you back to this time and can be imagined excellently, especially if you have already been to NYC. Harry mentions special spots where it was particularly dangerous or cool and where the proverbial punk went off at that time. It is also about the relationships between her  and Andy Warhol and  the Talking Heads and of course about appearances in the legendary punk shed CBGB’s. Her  relationship with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, with whom she was in a relationship until 1989 and who is still one of her most important people today, is also a cornerstone of the book.  Stein also wrote the foreword and took most of the photos included.  Harry’s work is peppered with shots from the respective sections and also with fan art, which she particularly likes.

The autobiography gives you a great impression of the motivation behind the music and the character Blondie developed by her in a male-dominated world. The inspiration behind it dates back to her childhood and some of her role models. Narratively, it is sometimes a little confusing. This can either be a good thing, as it gives the impression that you are really told something about her personally, or annoy you by time jumps or repetitions that occur. The judgement is incumbent on the reader. One way or another. So if  you want to know something about the possible meeting of Debbie Harry and Ted Bundy or the size of David Bowie’s genitals  , you should definitely access it here.

The book simply makes you want to listen to Blondie’s albums and dance to them. It contains a lot of interesting information about individual songs and the vita  of Debbie Harry, making it worth reading for every fan of the New York sound of the 70s.


Debbie Harry – Face it. A Memoir
Dey Street Books
368 pages