Blondie were long overdue for a career retrospective. Save for their hiatus between 1982 and 1997, the New York City new wave pioneers have put out a consistent — and consistently successful — discography, so much so that even the band even struggles to define itself.
“I think there’s been a lot of confusion about the band over the years,” longtime drummer Clem Burke tells Consequence over Zoom. “Is Blondie Debbie Harry? Is Blondie a disco band? Is Blondie a punk band? We came out of the streets of New York, and went from that to Andy Warhol throwing us a party at Studio 54.”
Burke isn’t namedropping the storied nightclub to brag — though there are many valid reasons for Blondie to brag. Over 40 years after their breakthrough single “Heart of Glass” skyrocketed them to stardom, Burke still reminisces on the band’s success with an air of gracious disbelief. That’s part of how he came up with the name for Blondie: Against the Odds 1974-1982, the band’s first-ever box set, which is out Friday, August 26th. “It was against the odds that something like a box set would ever exist for Blondie,” he adds.
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Comprised of 124 tracks total — 36 of them previously unreleased — Against the Odds compiles remastered versions of Blondie’s first six albums Blondie, Plastic Letters, Parallel Lines, Eat to the Beat, Autoamerican, and The Hunter, as well as their first studio session, alternate versions, outtakes, and demos. Perhaps most impressively, though, is the box set’s track-by-track commentary by all seven of the original band members.
Against the Odds arrives at a pivotal time for Blondie, too. They’ve just begun a handful of tour dates, and there’s also brand new music coming down the pipeline: “We’re not only looking back, but we’re looking forward at the same time,” Burke says. “It’s a good time for the band right now.”
Check out the Q&A with Burke about the box set, his relationship to his band’s old music, and the State of Blondie in 2022 below.