Blondie's Debbie Harry now - surgery, 'botched voice' and killer Ted Bundy link
When Blondie first exploded onto the music scene with their debut UK single Denis in 1978, it was an immediate hit for the band fronted by the ultra-cool Debbie Harry. Their New York sound made them one of the most popular bands of the 70s and 80s – and earned them an impressive six number-one singles. Now a new documentary is coming to the BBC which will take a trip through the archives to show viewers some of the best of Blondie over the years.
Featuring rare and unseen archive material – including photographs taken by guitarist Chris Stein - this documentary charts Blondie’s rise from that first student union gig in Bournemouth, supported by Squeeze (including a 19-year-old Jools Holland) through to 2023 and an unforgettable performance on Glastonbury’s iconic Pyramid Stage. The band's frontwoman Debbie Harry has had a colourful life and career and has confessed to having plastic surgery, but why did her voice sound so different when she performed at Glasto 2023 and is she really linked to Ted Bundy?
Debbie Harry has been open about her anti-ageing treatments over the years, even describing having cosmetic surgery as similar to having the flu jab. Now 78, she says the focus on her looks throughout her career as a pop star has been frustrating and being in the limelight means she feels more pressure to maintain her looks as she gets older. “I think it's the same as having a flu shot basically, another way of looking after yourself,” she wrote in her memoir Face It.
“If it makes you feel better and look better and work better, that's what it's all about,” she added. “Getting older is hard on your looks. Like everybody else, I have good days and bad days and those, ‘S***, I hope nobody sees me today’ days,” she wrote. “Everybody knows that I've had plastic surgery. I did it for business reasons.”
Debbie formed Blondie with her then-boyfriend Chris Stein in the 1970s and the punk rock band went on to enjoy a number of hits including 'Atomic', 'Rapture' and 'The Tide Is High'. The band split after the release of their sixth studio album The Hunter in 1982, but came back together in 1997, releasing their number-one single 'Maria' two years later.
But some fans were left unimpressed after their performance on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury earlier this year, dubbing it a 'painful' watch and slamming Harry's singing voice. However, while some fans criticised her voice others put it down to sound issues. Viewers claimed they could not hear singer Debbie Harry against the rest of the band with some taking to social media saying the instruments were too loud while Blondie was playing.
"Blondie. This is actually painful," slammed one viewer. "Shouldn’t someone tell her. You know…….Give it up!!!" wrote another. A third brutally said: "Not gonna lie, Blondie sound awful on iPlayer right now."
In the past Debbie has spoken openly about her heroin addiction, writing in her book how she even took heroin into hospital for Chris Stein. The singer went to rehab to get off the drug admitting: “It’s not easy. It was a rough, depressing time of life and it seemed to suit the purpose, but then it outlived its benefits," she told The Guardian.
Debbie was also once abducted by someone she believes was the serial killer Ted Bundy. In her book, she mentions that during the early 1970s, a man she believed to be Ted Bundy lured her into his car in New York City, but she escaped. Debbie's description of the white vehicle stripped on the inside and missing the passenger door handle matched the 1968 VW Bundy was driving, but police believed him to be in Florida at the time.
Debbie writes how she’s cheated death a number of times and was also raped at knifepoint. Speaking to Sunday Times magazine, she said: "I did cry - quite a bit. And then I felt very angry. And I think that's where women are frustrated. Because there's nothing you can do."
She was in a relationship with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein for 15 years and although the pair split up in 1987, they’re still friends and Debbie is even godmother to her former lover's two daughters. She revealed she had several relationships with women in her youth and although she’s single, she told the Daily Star she would like to meet someone although it’s difficult at her age. “There are less men around,” she quipped. “They’re all married with children. What’s wrong with them?”
When Blondie Came to Britain is on BBC Two Saturday at 9pm