#6: Island Of Lost Souls by Blondie

City: Edmonton, AB
Radio Station: CFRN
Peak Month: July 1982
Peak Position in Edmonton: #1
Peak position in Vancouver ~ #23
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #37
YouTube: “Island Of Lost Souls
Lyrics: “Island Of Lost Souls

Blondie is a band founded in 1974 in New York City by singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the new wave scene of the mid-1970s in Manhattan. Angela Trimble was born in 1945 in Miami, Florida. She was adopted into the Harry family and raised in Hawthorne, New Jersey. Out of school, she worked as a Playboy Bunny, a go-go dancer, and a secretary for the BBC in New York City. In the late 60s she was in a folk group called Wind in the Willows who released an album in 1968. By this time she billed herself as Deborah Harry. In 1973 Harry joined The Stillettoes, which included guitarist Chris Stein. Harry and Stein became romantically involved. In 1974, Stein and Harry became the core for the band Angel and the Snake. By late 1974, they renamed the band Blondie.

Chris Stein was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1950. From 1978 to 1982, Chris Stein was co-host of a variety show in New York City called TV Party. The show featured guests including the founder of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, and Klaus Nomi.

Other bandmates who were founders of Blondie include Fred Smith and Ivan Kral. But Smith left in 1975 to join Television. Kral left to be a guitarist for the Patti Smyth Band, and in 1980 with Iggy Pop. Another bandmate became part of the classic Blondie lineup. This was a drummer from Bayonne, New Jersey named Clement Burke (born Clement Anthony Bozewski, in 1954). Another member of the classic Blondie lineup was Brooklyn, New York, born Jimmy Destri (born James Mollica, in 1954). He played in a group named Milk and Cookies in the early 1970s.

In 1976, Blondie released the self-titled debut album Blondie. From the album, “In The Flesh” climbed to #2 in Australia. A second album, Plastic Letters, featured the single “Denis”. This was a cover of the 1963 Randy & the Rainbows song “Denise”. Blondie’s cover climbed to #1 in Belgium and the Netherlands, #2 in the UK, #3 in Ireland, #9 in West Germany, #10 in Austria and #12 in Australia. A followup track from the album, “I’m Always Touched By Your Presence”, was a Top Ten hit in the Netherlands and the UK, and Top 20 in Belgium.

A fifth member of the classic Blondie lineup was Frank Infante. He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1951. began his music career playing guitar in hard rock and electric blues groups such as The Elegant End and World War III. He joined Sniper in 1975 and then Blondie in 1977 as a session player, replacing bassist Gary Valentine. A final member of the classic Blondie lineup is Nigel Harrison. Born in 1951 in Stockport, England, he was with the UK glam rock band Silverhead in the early 70s. He did some work with Iggy Pop and also the Runaways. He joined Blondie in 1978.

With Harry, Stein, Burke, Destri, Infante and Harrison in place, Blondie went back to the recording studio. The result was Parallel Lines. From the album came six single releases. The first, “Picture This” was a Top 20 hit in Ireland, Sweden and the UK. Their followup was a cover of the 1958 Buddy Holly tune “I’m Gonna Love You Too”. It reached #3 in Belgium and #6 in the Netherlands. A third track, “Hanging On The Telephone” peaked at #5 in the UK, with Top 20 success in Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

But it was the release of Parallel Lines track “Heart Of Glass” that took the world by storm. The single topped the pop charts in Australia, Austria, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK, USA and West Germany. It shot to #2 in Ireland and South Africa, #3 in Sweden, #5 in Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway, and #8 in Italy.

Two more singles from the Parallel Lines album were released. “Sunday Girl” was a #1 hit in Ireland and the UK, #5 in Australia, New Zealand and Sweden, and #6 in West Germany. But the song didn’t chart in North America. The sixth track from the album released as a single was “One Way Or Another”, which climbed to #5 in Winnipeg.

In 1979, Blondie released Eat to the Beat. The debut single was “Dreaming”. It was a Top Ten hit in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK. In early 1980, “Call Me” was released as a single from the soundtrack of the film American Gigolo. It topped the pop charts in Canada, the UK and USA. It shot to #2 in Ireland, Norway and South Africa, #3 in Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, and Top Ten in Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. The single also climbed to #11 in Italy and #12 in Japan.

Another hit single in 1980 was “Atomic” from Eat to the Beat. It reached #1 in the UK, and was a Top Ten hit in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway.

In 1981, Blondie released their third international Top Ten selling album, Autoamerican. The album featured two blockbuster international hit singles. The first was a cover of the Jamaican ska band the Paragons’ “The Tide Is High”. The cover topped the pop charts in Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA. It was a Top Ten hit in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Switzerland. A second single release, “Rapture”, peaked at #1 in the USA, and was a Top Ten hit in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and the UK.

In 1981, all the members of Blondie appeared in the musical comedy film Roadie. Other recording acts were cast in the film, including Alice Cooper, Meatloaf, Roy Orbison and Hank Williams Jr.

In 1982, Chris Stein published a photographic book titled Making Tracks: The Rise of Blondie. As well, the classic Blondie lineup released a final studio album before disbanding. From The Hunter came “Island Of Lost Souls”.

Island Of Lost Souls by Blondie
“Island Of Lost Souls” is written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein. It features a calypso beat. The music video was filmed on the Isles of Scilly in the UK. It features three scenes interspersed with each other: a group of men dressed as undertakers in a Cornish gig boat, the band dressed in white monk robes (the members apart from Harry play horns and saxophones while wearing fish masks), and the band dressed as a Latin American band.

The lyrics to the song begin with the singer in a metaphorical “Babylon,” depicted by Biblical writers as a culture of sin and debauchery. They singer finds themselves “on the boulevard of broken dreams” and their “power at its lowest ebb.” Their solution is to get away and go to the Island Of Lost Souls. This is a place with no amenities, no luxuries. In this primitive setting, a person can enjoy the blue sky, warm sea and clear golden sands. In this setting, lost souls can “start all over again” and “let the real you” be rediscovered.

“Island Of Lost Souls” climbed to #1 in Edmonton, #9 in Montreal, and Bangor, ME, #11 in San Jose, CA, Seattle, Boston, and Burbank, CA, and #12 in Toronto and Kitchener, ON.

Internationally, “Island Of Lost Souls” reached #8 in Belgium, #11 in the UK, #13 in Australia, #15 in Ireland, #18 in New Zealand, and #20 in the Netherlands.

In 1982 Blondie mounted their Tracks Across America Tour. Their only Canadian date was in Toronto on August 18. The tour turned out to be unsuccessful for Blondie with shows taking place at half-empty venues. Chris Stein’s health worsened during the tour. He was rapidly losing weight and shortly after the tour ended was diagnosed with pemphigus vulgaris, a rare autoimmune disease. The band cancelled 19 scheduled concerts between August 25 and September 29, 1982, disappointing fans in Denmark, France, England, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. Shortly afterwards, Blondie disbanded.

After Blondie split up, there were several remixed albums issues in the 1980s and 1990s. Then in 1999, Blondie went back to the recording studio to release No Exit. Personnel on the album were Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri and Clem Burke. From the album came the single “Maria”. The single shot to #1 in Greece, Poland, Scotland, Spain and the UK. For their No Exit Tour, Blondie performed in concert in Toronto.

Harry, Destri, Stein and Burke released Curse of Blondie in 2003. After Destri left the band in 2004, the remaining core of Blondie – Deborah Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke – released Panic of Girls in 2011 (along with new musicians in the studio). In 2014, Blondie released Blondie 4(0) Ever. And in 2017, they released their eleventh studio album, Pollinator. 

In 2016, Chris Stein published a book titled Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk. It was launched with an exhibition at Somerset House in London, which coincided with the fortieth anniversary of the formation of Blondie.

After Blondie disbanded, Jimmy Destri struggled with a cocaine addiction. Around 2003 he started working full time as a drug counselor/therapist at the outpatient recovery center Carnegie Hill Institute in New York City. In April 2020, he went back to practice as a drug counselor/therapist at Seabrook in New Jersey. Musically, Destri was back with Blondie from 1998 to 2004, but drifted away. In 2012 he formed Jimmy Destri and The Sound Grenade.

Clement “Clem” Burke subsequently played drums for the Eurythmics, the Romantics, Iggy Pop, Pete Townshend, and others. He has also been with the Split Squad, Empty Hearts and the International Swingers. After Blondie disbanded, Frank Infante worked with Joan Jett, Iggy Pop and The New York Dolls. Nigel Harrison played in Chequered Past and later The Grabs.

At a 2006 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Frank Infante got into a feud onstage with their ex-bandmates. Seven former and current members of Blondie were invited to the ceremony to speak in response to their induction. Frank Infante asked during the live broadcast of the ceremony that he and Nigel Harrison be allowed to perform with the group. The request was refused by Deborah Harry, who stated that the band’s current line-up had already prepared and rehearsed for the performance.

Before Blondie broke up, Deborah Harry went solo. She released the 1981 album Kookoo. A single titled “Backfired” was a Top 30 hit in Australia and New Zealand. He 1986 album, Rockbird,  contained the Top Ten hit “French Kissin””. It was a Top Ten hit in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. Her 1989 album Deaf, Dumb & Blonde, featured “I Want That Man”. It was a Top Ten hit in these same countries. She has released five studio albums between 1981 and 2007.

Deborah Harry has also had a notable career in film. In 1975 she first appeared on the screen as a singer in the new-noir thriller Deadly Hero. In 1980, she was a lead actress in another neo-noir film titled Union City. In 1983, Harry appeared in the sci-fi horror titled Videodrome. In 1988, Deborah Harry co-starred with Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts in the comedy-drama Satisfaction. Later that year, she was in the cult film Hairspray. The next year she appeared in the Woody Allen directed New York Stories. In 1997, Harry was cast in a minor role in Cop Land, starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro. She has been cast in films with Matt Dillon, James Franco, Mickey Rourke, Mark Ruffalo, Penélope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, Peter Sarsgaard, Dennis Hopper, Ellen Burstyn, Elaine Stritch, Paul Giamatti, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi and others. Since 1975 she has appeared in over four dozen films.

In 2022 Blondie released the box set Against the Odds 1974–1982. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album.

Over the decades, Blondie has performed in concert in Canada on 37 occasions. They first appeared in concert in 1977 in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In 1978, Blondie appeared twice at the El Mocambo in Toronto, and in 1979 twice at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, and other dates that year in Montreal and Toronto. Edmonton fans of Blondie had to wait until 2010 to see the band in concert in their home town. Blondie’s most recent concert appearance in Canada was on August 12, 2023, at the Malkin Bowl in Vancouver.

December 27, 2023
Ray McGinnis

Nick Murray, “Blondie’s Chris Stein Shares Stories Behind His Punk Photographs,” Rolling Stone, October 2, 2014.
Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk,” Somerset House.
Debbie Harry, Face It, (Dey Street Books, 2019).
Fred A Bernstein, “Blondie’s New Wave,” People, March 16, 1981.
Sabine Durant, “There’s Something About Harry,” Guardian, October 29, 2002.
30 Hottest Photographs of Debbie Harry on the Stage From the Mid-1970s,” Vintag.es, October 20, 2018.
Clem Burke Biography,” Blondie.com.
Sally Bailey, “Jimmy Destri of Blondie Forms New Band,” Undercover, February 24, 2012.
Atomic fall-out as Blondie feud erupts again,” The Scotsman, March 15, 2006.
Blondie Concert Dates – Canada,” setlist.fm.

Island Of Lost Souls by Blondie
CFRN 1260-AM, Edmonton (AB) Top Ten | July 5, 1982

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