There are some performers who are still effortlessly cool even as they get older. The kind that could even rock a zimmer frame or make a colostomy bag a fierce accessory. Debbie Harry is one of those people. Since the late ‘70s, as the lead singer of Blondie she has sung some of the greatest tunes that have ever been.
She was the first person to rap on a song that got into the top 40. She got it on with a stormtrooper in the video for ‘The Tide is High’. She was the oldest woman ever to have a number one single, a record she’ll hold until Madonna can finally produce a follow-up to ‘Hung Up’ or ‘4 Minutes’ (fingers crossed, guys). Basically, she is the original blonde diva.
But can you name any Blondie song after ‘Maria’? I doubt it. And that’s a real shame, because you are missing out on one of the greatest forgotten singles of all time, 2003’s ‘Good Boys’, which got to the lofty chart position of number 12. It’s signature Blondie, all synths and guitar, and totally and utterly gay at its heart, sounding like the best Scissor Sisters song that never was, a slightly less poppers-drenched ‘Filthy Gorgeous’. It is an ode to bad boys, and one far better than Alexandra Burke’s attempt at the same message. It also features Harry doing a rap so blatantly stolen from Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ that it’s outrageous.
Also, just take a look at that video! Directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who would go on to direct the ‘Telephone’ and ‘Paparazzi’ videos for Gaga, it’s a piece of silent movie punk genius, with Debbie Harry giving circus ringmaster realness where you just know she knows how to tame any lion just with a look. It also features the lead singer of Blondie with (shocker) dark hair, giving her a look that’s half Joan Jett and half-music teacher MILF. With that song and that video, the fact that this isn’t a gay bar staple is an outrage.
If it had been a Sugababes song (and it fits in perfectly with songs like ‘Hole in the Head’) this would have been rightly seen as a pop classic. However, instead it was made by a band on their second or third comeback. And in a year of so many fresh-faced singers giving us classic songs (2003, let us not forget, was the year of the Neptunes, Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ and Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya!’), it’s no wonder the genius of ‘Good Boys’ was forgotten.
However, this song should really be remembered as a pop comeback to rival Cher’s ‘Believe’ or Kylie’s ‘Spinning Around’, even if unlike Kylie they didn’t have a whole album of other great songs and a signature pair of gold hotpants to follow through after this song. Although personally even as a very gay man I still believe Debbie Harry would rock a pair of lamé hot pants, even at the age of 68.