Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Backfired" by Debbie Harry

Song#:  0716
Date:  08/15/1981
Debut:  75
Peak:  43
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock, Dance

Pop Bits:  Coming off back-to-back #1's, Blondie chose to take some time off. But Debbie Harry continued to work and the result was her first solo album "KooKoo." Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (of Chic, who just had success with Diana Ross' "Diana" LP), the album took Harry in a rock/dance direction with six of the ten tracks co-written by Rodgers and Edwards. This first single couldn't reach the Top 40 and the album petered out at #25, even though it did reach gold status. Reviews were not great and the low-charting results were surprising. Harry would have a few more solo singles reach the chart, but this would be the highest peaking of them all.

ReduxReview:  The pairing of Harry with Rodgers/Edwards seemed to be a great idea, however I have no idea what they were going for here. It sounds like they tried to mash together "Rapture" with Diana Ross' "Upside Down" and it just doesn't work. Harry sounds stiff as a board and this Rodgers/Edwards song is surprisingly uninspired. It's a cringe-worthy listen especially when knowing the excellent previous work of all involved.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  Swiss artist H.R. Geiger designed the cover for "KooKoo." Geiger is know for his sci-fi/fantasy/horror designs some of which have graced other album covers (ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery" in 1973) and on film (he's an visual effects Oscar winner for 1979's "Alien"). The "KooKoo" cover, which featured a rendering of Harry with large metal skewers going through her face, was considered too disturbing in some places and public ads (such as in the London Underground) were not allowed. The video for this first single was also directed by Geiger as was the video for another song on the album "Now I Know You Know."



  1. Debbie Harry's solo work was pretty terrible - love her voice but very little without the band.

    1. It was and I just don't know why. She could have had about any writer/producer/collaborator, but somehow she ended up with messy LPs. She should have had a big solo career.