437. ‘Sunday Girl’, by Blondie

Blondie’s second number one sees them sounding much more Blondie. Gone are the synths and disco drums from ‘Heart of Glass’; back come tight, bouncy guitars and a zipalong power pop riff.

Sunday Girl, by Blondie (their 2nd of six #1s)

3 weeks, from 20th May – 10th June 1979

I know a girl from a lonely street, Cold as ice cream but still as sweet… I’d say that this is their forgotten number one, sandwiched as it is between ‘Heart of Glass’ and their three 1980 chart-toppers. It wasn’t even a single in their homeland. Most big bands with a solid run of #1s have one (ABBA recently had ‘The Name of the Game’, there’s Slade ‘Take Me Back ‘Ome’, Rod has ‘You Wear It Well’…) But that’s not to say it’s their worst – ‘forgotten #1s’ rarely are.

Debbie Harry’s got some bad news for a girl called Sunday. She’s seen her guy with a different girl. Drama! Maybe he has a girl named after every day of the week… I’m not convinced of her sympathy as she sings Dry your eyes Sunday girl… Beyond that, the story doesn’t really hold together. Lyrically it feels a little throwaway, perhaps down to the fact that Chris Stein chucked it together while on tour, to cheer up Harry after her cat – Sunday Man – had run away.

Her voice isn’t as arresting as it was on ‘Heart of Glass’, but it’s still a wonderful thing. Light and breezy, fun and flirty – I love the Baby I would like to go out tonight… line – and just wait until you hear her sing it in French. ‘Sunday Girl’ works perfectly en Francais; you can just picture Harry flouncing around Montmartre in the video. Plus, this song taught me years ago that ‘depeche-toi’ means ‘hurry up’, so it’s actually quite educational.

Under the bubblegum fluff, it’s worth noting that this is our first guitar led, rock ‘n’ roll chart-topper for quite a while. It’s definitely New Wave – punk distilled into pop – and you could argue that tunes like this are what set a pop-punk template that lasts to this day (see current teenybopper du jour Olivia Rodrigo).

Towards the end things dissolve into handclaps and surf guitars, and it all sounds very early-sixties. Hurry up, hurry up and wait! growls Debbie, sounding like a feistier older sister of the Shangri-Las. This really is a great pop record, and it’s been nice to listen to it for the first time in a while today. Even better is to come for Blondie, though. They’ll be kicking off the 1980s in some style. Till then, then…

34 thoughts on “437. ‘Sunday Girl’, by Blondie

  1. Love Sunday Girl and it’s 60’s vibes – Debs was actually a 60’s act in her younger days, so it’s obviously done with real affection, and the French bits gave it added Je Ne Sais Pas – C’est la Classe! 🙂 I think it may be my 2nd fave Blondie single actually, after the next chart-topper, and the US were daft to not have it as a single. Too European, presumably. They went for One Way Or Another (which should have been a UK single too, admittedly, but after Sunday Girl). We got the best deal, and One Direction might well count as another unofficial UK chart-topper for Blondie, albeit as cover version 30-odd years later.

    1. I do love Sunday Girl, but such is the strength of their #1s I’d probably list it 4th, ahead of The Tide is High… (I always forget to count Maria, which is great but does feel like it’s from a different band…)

      I hope I’ve shown I’m no music snob, and do like a fair bit of 1D’s output, but gah! That cover version was nasty, even if it was for charity.

      1. Oh I’m happy to describe 1D as a pure money-making enterprise, they did a few OK singles but nothing of substance. The solo stuff on the other hand is fab, especially Harry Styles last album which is classic pop by any standard. I fancy Watermelon Sugar as a drunken karaoke massacre by me if I ever get another holiday 🙂

      2. Yeah, off the top of my head I think I’ve enjoyed at least a single from all five as solo acts. (Though I had to really stretch to remember anything by Niall…)

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    I almost forgot about this song…not one of her bigger hits over here but I like it…of course I like it…that voice is attached to Debbie…always a good thing.

    1. Just out of interest: I’ve seen a few people refer to Blondie as ‘her’, as in Debbie Harry, but to me they’re a band… In the US is it seen more as Debbie + backing band?

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        No Blondie is a band…Debbie is the hot singer lol…

        You know what? Your site is damn hard to find! When I search it takes me to a “Hongkong” site…but I finally found it today! I bookmarked it before but my laptop died. Sorry I got so behind.

      2. badfinger20 (Max)

        Yes they do…it’s my job right now interfering with my reading…working a lot BUT…when I want to find it I will go to an old comment you made…click on your name and this “whatididinhongkong.wordpress.com doesn’t exist”
        So then I start thinking of songs you featured and search and find it. I’m bookmarking you again. I am sorry to get so far behind…it’s my fault.

      3. Good to know, thanks. Maybe I should just delete that old blog…

        No worries about getting behind! It’s not like this blog is breaking news… (though hopefully it’s more enjoyable than reading the news…)

      4. badfinger20 (Max)

        I really enjoy your blog. I like how you stay focused on the goal you have. What are you gonna do when you “catch up” to the number 1’s? You gotta keep going…we won’t let you stop! lol.

      5. Thanks! So, I’ve thought about this… by the time I get to the 500th number one I’ll have been doing it for around 4 years. It think we’re on around 1400 #1s in total, but obviously that number is always rising, so… I’ll basically never finish! I wonder what will end first: the charts, me, or the human race…….?

      6. badfinger20 (Max)

        Hmmm…probably a close call the way the world is going! Once you get up so far you will be able to slow down I would think…you could review some great number 2 songs! Sometimes they are better.

      7. I did a week of random number twos, which was fun and I’ll do that again soon. I’m trying to mix it up a bit with remembering old stars, top 10s from artists, cover versions etc… I’m in no rush to reach the current day, when every second #1 is by Ed Sheeran or Drake (oh God, I sound like an old man…)

      8. badfinger20 (Max)

        Yea I’ll start learning when you get in the present.. I hate to see the 70s end…I grew up in the 80s…and that is why my blog has turned into an underground 80s for a right now…hearing bands I wish I would not have missed.

      9. badfinger20 (Max)

        That sounds great…I do love the early eighties…it’s when the middle comes in is when I run and hide. The early eighties were still the seventies in a way…around 84 is when it turned into the full blown 80s to me.

      10. I had the same complaint. In the Reader, you come up as “…what you did in hongkong…” Those things are usually tied to your Gravatar. Your icon is tied to that and it will reflect what website you put into that. You might want to sign back in and correct the website you have tied to your icon.

        By the way, what DID you do in Hongkong???

      11. badfinger20 (Max)

        It died…it was old and passed away! I have another though that is in better shape so I am using that one now.

      12. badfinger20 (Max)

        Yep mine died…but it was from work. I have another just like it. I had to build a few things back but I’m back up.

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