Blondie – Autoamerican (1980) – Lp
Label: Chrysalis Records
The album was a radical departure for the band, with opening track “Europa” setting the pace. The track is a dramatic instrumental overture featuring orchestral arrangements and ending with vocalist Debbie Harry declaiming a passage about automobile culture over an electronic soundtrack. Besides rock and pop tracks, the band explored a wide range of other musical genres: “Here’s Looking at You” and “Faces” show jazz and blues influences, the reggae hit “The Tide Is High” was a cover of The Paragons‘ 1967 Jamaican ska hit, whereas “Rapture” combined funk, rock, jazz, and even saw them embracing the then emerging genre of rap. The closing track, “Follow Me”, was a cover of a torch song from Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe‘s 1960 Broadway musical Camelot.
Producer Mike Chapman insisted the band record in Los Angeles. Guitarist Chris Stein lamented: “Every day we get up, stagger into the blinding sun, [and] drive past a huge Moon-mobile from some ancient sci-fi movie.” Drummer Clem Burke welcomed the change: “Autoamerican was fun. We got to spend two months in California. I’m always up for a free ride.” However, the band insisted on the cover artwork shot being from their hometown, posing on a roof at New York’s Broadway and Eighth. The image was taken from a commissioned painting by artist Martin Hoffman (1935-2013).
The band released two singles from this album, “The Tide Is High” and “Rapture”. “The Tide Is High” hit number 1 in several countries, including the US and the UK. “Rapture” became the first rap song ever to reach number 1 on the singles chart in the US (it also reached number 5 in the UK).
1. Europa (3:31)
2. Live It Up (4:09)
3. Here’s Looking at You (2:58)
4. The Tide Is High (4:39)
5. Angels on the Balcony (3:47)
6. Go Through It (2:40)
1. Do the Dark (3:51)
2. Rapture (6:30)
3. Faces (3:51)
4. T-Birds (3:56)
5. Walk Like Me (3:44)
6. Follow Me (3:01)