Blonde Ambition

Blonde Ambition

Chris Stein of Blondie unveils his unpublished photographs, charting the success of one of the world’s most memorable bands

It’s 40 years since Blondie formed and we are still fascinated by the group that brought us hits including cult hits Heart of Glass, Call Me, and Rip Her to Shreds; who fearlessly fused the genres of punk, disco, pop and hip-hop and who went on to sell nearly 40 million albums worldwide.

So it’s timely that Somerset House is now hosting Chris Stein/ Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk; an exhibition charting the band’s ascent from the underground New York club scene at CBGBs and Chris and Deborah Harry’s Bowery loft (affectionately dubbed ‘the hellhole’) to global superstardom, critical acclaim and sell out tours.

There are over 50 images on display – all photographed by musician and Blondie member, Stein himself – capturing everything from live performances to private moments on tour. And it’s these candid shots that give us an insight into the workings of the band during the height of their fame, how they spent their days (performing, hanging out at Warhol’s Factory and pool parties at the Beverly Hills Hotel) and who they spent them with (Iggy Pop, The Ramones, David Bowie and Joan Jett). A slice of musical history you cannot afford to miss.

The Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk exhibition is at Somerset House, 5 November 5 - January 25, free admission.

  • Words: Catriona Taylor

  • Photography: Chris Stein