An Album A Day #4: Blondie's EAT TO THE BEAT [1979]

HERC SR. got this one from Columbia House, the way he acquired most of his albums from the mid-to-late Seventies. Maybe it was the Selection of The Month and he wanted it or maybe he forgot to send back the monthly card and it was sent automatically.  Either way, HERC loved it from the very first listen and it remains one of his go-to listens.

The album's opening track "Dreaming" was also the first single, released in September 1979 - a month ahead of the album.  A favorite of HERC's since he first heard it on WLRW way back then, the track features rapid-fire drum fills from Clem Burke who continues to tour with the band today.  The b-side was "Sound-A-Sleep".  Thirty years later after it's original release, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs reverentially covered "Dreaming" on Under The Covers Vol. 2.

"The Hardest Part" was released as the second single here in the States in January 1980, with "Sound-A-Sleep" again appearing on the b-side.  HERC didn't see the video until a few years after MTV debuted but it is his favorite image of Debbie Harry - he was never a favorite of the bleach blond hairdo.  The song itself is the soundtrack to the opening scene of one of HERC's unproduced screenplays.  No Doubt's "Hellagood" always reminds HERC of  "The Hardest Part".

Across the pond, "Union City Blue" was the second single.  Another interesting thing about the Eat To The Beat album that HERC didn't find out until years later was that a video was shot for every track on the album and released on VHS in 1980, the very first video album.  Another album track "Living In The Real World" was the b-side to "Union City Blue".

Probably the most disco track on the album and that's not a bad thing, "Atomic" was the third single, released in April 1980.  The single version was remixed and edited down from the original album track, omitting the introduction and going straight to the rhythm.  The album track "Die Young Stay Pretty" was the single's b-side.  In 1995, a New Disco Mix of "Atomic" was released and it is this version that HERC digs like no other - it sounds so good in the Blueberry.  

Plans for Eat To The Beat's fourth and final single ("Slow Motion") were cancelled when Blondie's American Gigolo soundtrack contribution "Call Me" proved to be a huge success, eventually becoming the number one single of 1980 after it's release in February of that year.  For his master plan to score a Valentine in 1980, HERC bought three copies of the single, which came in a pink picture sleeve and wrote his phone number on the sleeves.  He gave them to three girls and wouldn't you know it, all three girls called: Robin, Yolanda and Lalani.  They all told him they just wanted to be friends.  Still, "Call Me" remains one of HERC's favorite songs.  "Slow Motion"?  Not so much.


Eat To The Beat was reissued in 2001 with four live tracks, including the group's covers of David Bowie's "Heroes" and Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire".  In 2007, the bonus tracks were stripped and a DVD of the original 1980 video album (original coverart pictured above) made it's debut in digital format.  HERC now owns five different versions of the Eat To The Beat album and can't wait to see  and hear what the next one will be like.

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