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Brent Johnson’s Lost Songs: ‘(I’m Always Touched By) Your Presence, Dear’ by Blondie

brent johnson digs up another lost treasure, this week from Blondie …

Blondie is a band that had a cache of hits — but should have had a lot more.

Four of the new-wave icons’ singles shot to No. 1 in the U.S. during the late 1970s and early 1980s: ‘Heart Of Glass,’ ‘Call Me,’ ‘Rapture’ and ‘The Tide Is High.’ The Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers also graced the Top 40 with ‘One Way Or Another’ and ‘Atomic.’

They had a few more hits in Britain, where the charts have always been more progressive. But like many new wavers of that era, they faced a problem in the States: Though their music was catchy and quick, it was tough finding spots on the radio with all that disco clogging it up.

Thus, some of Blondie’s greatest songs never reached the mass public. And they had a lot of great songs. Tunes with candy-colored choruses, ’50s background vocals, punk attitude — and cool vocal phrasing from frontwoman Debbie Harry. Hell, Harry may have been new wave’s coolest figure — a Jersey girl with gorgeous looks, chic style, a nonchalant stare, songwriting chops and the ability to sing a mean falsetto.

Here’s one of their should-have-been-hits: 1977’s ‘(I’m Always Touched By) Your Presence, Dear.’

Blondie hasn’t disappeared. They recently released a new record, Panic Of Girls. And Harry — 66 years old, but still rocking — led the band through a strong set at last weekend’s Union County Music Fair in Clark, N.J.


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