60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #19


Blondie- Parallel Lines (1978)

Here’s one that was sitting in the Top 10 when I began pulling this series together, but has slipped a little bit as I re-played a number of albums in their entirety for the first time in years.

There’s a huge amount to love about Parallel Lines. It really is that moment in history when those of us who loved listening to new wave music but would be just as happy and comfortable dancing to disco music found a perfect match. (I can’t say dancing in a discotheque, as I was still of an age where school or church halls would have to suffice). Oh, and being a mid-teen heterosexual also meant that Blondie‘s lead singer was the stuff of dreams, dry, wet or otherwise.

Parallel Lines was played a lot in the house I grew up in.   It wasn’t the biggest of houses, and I shared a room with two young brothers and while I didn’t always have the space to myself to play my records (most of which were 45s), there was a stereo system in the living room that I’d take ownership of on those occasions when neither my mum and dad were at home.

Come 1983 and through to 1985, I lived in a couple of student flats – the first one being owned by the University (three sharing) and the other by a private landlord (six sharing the bills plus at least two/three others at all times).  Music and VHS tapes were the epicentre of life in both homes.  Most of time, it would be newly released singles and albums that would be put on the main turntable in the communal area, but it wasn’t always easy to find something that went down well with everyone living in the flat, especially the second one whereso many minds had different tastes.  On quite a few occasions, Parallel Lines kept everyone content….it really is the sort of record that nobody can complain about.

It’s an album that I didn’t play much for a long time, from say 1990 onwards.   It was always there, and it would get a spin every few years, but it was far from being on regular rotation. Having said that, no matter how long it had been since I last heard it, I still knew every word and piece of instrumentation off by heart.

It’s still an excellent record.   In particular, its four smash singles are of a quality that is hard to beat.  The thing is, there are eight other tracks spread across its 40 minutes, some of which now, from the passing of time, seem a bit one-dimensional and border on the dull, which is why it found itself slipping down the rundown, albeit it has cosied into a place in the Top 20.

mp3:  Blondie – Picture This

The first, and least successful, of the singles has proven itself to be the most enduring as far as I’m now concerned.  It wasn’t always like that, and indeed in a few weeks or months time, I’ll most likely be telling myself that Heart of Glass is the one to top them all.


7 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #19

  1. From that iconic cover to the music it sheathed this Blondie LP is my Blondie LP – Power Pop Rock at its finest. I don’t play this regularly but I can’t think of a portable music system it hasn’t graced – its essential listening – nostalgic and comforting.

    As JC suggested the LP is very much like a close friend you haven’t seen for ages but when you meet and begin to chat – everything seems to fall effortlessly into place.

    What could top this? I’ll be tuning in…

  2. Bought by my brother – I reckon this was the most played album that ever came through out front door.

  3. It’s a perfect album. They got everything right. Sounds fresh today.
    Oddly, 41 LPs into this amazing series, I think this is the first one that would be on my list of 60–and I’m the same age as JC.

  4. No arguments from me. I wouldn’t be able to include it as I had singles not l.p.s at the time. Probably my favourite Blondie single would be Presence Dear (“It’s really not cheating”) or Dreaming ( the drums!!), but as an album, Parallel Lines is a must.

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