HERE’S a cracking Christmas present for music-lovers of a certain age (providing they have a record player).
For the first time, all six original albums by New York new wave pioneers Blondie are brought together in a vinyl boxset.
It shows why they were regarded as one of the best bands of their time.
Blondie (1976) and Plastic Letters (1978) were patchy, with high points such as X Offender and Denis let down by some weaker tracks.
Parallel Lines (1978) and Eat To The Beat (1979) saw them at their peak, and are rightly regarded as classics.
The former, a No 1 album, kicks off with Hanging On The Telephone, a cover version which Debbie Harry and co. took into the Top 5 in the UK.
Great song follows great song, with the side two one-two of Sunday Girl and Heart Of Glass completing their transition into the perfect pop band.
Eat To The Beat include an even more diverse range of styles, from pop and punk to reggae and funk.
Its highlights include a wonderful trio of singles, Dreaming, Union City Blue and Atomic, though closer Living In The Real World takes them back to their roots.
Autoamerican (1980) shows them really starting to experiment, with the standout moments their reggae cover The Tide Is High and the groundbreaking Rapture, which dipped a toe into the new music emerging from NYC.
Sadly, 1982’s swansong The Hunter is mostly forgettable, and not even a couple of underwhelming singles could save it.
All in all, a great boxset, most of which has stood the test of time. 8/10. GW