Blondie Recorded ‘Autoamerican’ to Assist ‘Resolve Racial Tensions’ by Crossing Musical Genres


In November 1980, the punk band Blondie launched their fifth album, Autoamerican, and critics had been intrigued — and just a little confused. Blondie, rising out of the hardcore 1970s New York City punk scene of CBGB and Max’s Kansas Metropolis, had been mainstream stars since their 1978 breakthrough single “Coronary heart of Glass.” Headed by the fierce, charismatic front-woman Debbie Harry, the band selected Los Angeles to document Autoamerican, and the songs on the album mirrored town’s cross-cultural vibes. 

Autoamerican is to Blondie what Revolver was to the Beatles,” John Mendelsohn of the Los Angeles Occasions wrote of the album. “Apparently weary of the sounds that made them the idols of the thousands and thousands, they right here discover all method of unlikely musical necks of the woods… You’ve heard ‘The Tide is Excessive,’ on the radio, so that you don’t want the Occasions to let you know how completely pleasant this tuneful, horn-decorated reggae oldie is.” 

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