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Blondie On World Cafe

Blondie performs live at WXPN's Non-COMM 2017 in Philadelphia, Pa.
Rachel Del Sordo
Blondie performs live at WXPN's Non-COMM 2017 in Philadelphia, Pa.

Forty years in, Blondie has a new record called Pollinator. The band's 11th studio album, it features original members Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke.

In true Blondie style, Pollinator pulls musical influences from anywhere Blondie wants. But this time around, the group has invited some of today's tastemakers to collaborate. Pop-punk diva Charli XCX, dance-music star Sia and R&B producer Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) all wrote songs for the album. Johnny Marr of The Smiths and Nick Valensi of The Strokes played guitar on some tracks. And the whole thing was produced by John Congleton, who has worked with St. Vincent, The War on Drugs and The Mountain Goats.

How do all those different sounds and styles fit together on one album? If anybody can make it work, Blondie can. In the '70s, the band's music brought rap to new-wave and mixed the girl-group sound with punk and disco. In this session, we talk about those early New York days, the legendary club CBGB and how Stein and Harry brought the rap they heard uptown to the downtown scene.

You'll hear that conversation in this session, along with some live recordings from when Blondie performed in front of a packed house of people — all, frankly, losing their minds — at World Cafe. Listen at the audio link to be part of the experience.

Copyright 2021 XPN. To see more, visit XPN.

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.