Bloomsbury is extremely proud to announce the fourteenth of fourteen new 33 1/3 volumes…coming to a bookstore (and kindle/iPad) near you in: Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016 and Fall 2016. It was extremely difficult to select these titles from a pool of over 400 brilliant proposals so we hope you enjoy! To highlight each new title and the author behind it, we’ll announce one book each day over the next two weeks.
Parallel Lines – Blondie
By Kembrew McLeod
Coming Fall 2016!
Blondie’s Parallel Lines mixed punk, disco and radio-friendly FM rock with nostalgic influences from 1960s girl groups, AM pop and surf rock. By embracing the diversity of New York City’s varied music scenes, this 1978 album embodied the social conflicts that played out between fans of disco, pop, punk and mainstream rock.
Bubblegum music maven Mike Chapman produced Parallel Lines, which was the first massive hit by a group that emerged from the CBGBs punk scene. It kept one foot planted firmly in the past while remaining quite forward-looking, an impulse that can be heard in the album’s electronic dance hit “Heart of Glass.” This track anticipated a wide range of genre fusions, from Blondie’s later flirtations with rap and reggae to the border-crossing musical gumbos that dominate today’s dance floors and indie rock clubs. Debbie Harry’s campy glamor and sassy snarl shook up the rock ‘n’ roll boy’s club during a growing backlash against the women’s and gay liberation movements, a backlash that helped fuel the vitriolic “disco sucks” campaign. Despite disco’s roots in a largely Latino, black and gay underground scene, punk is more often celebrated by journalists and scholars as the quintessential subculture.
Kembrew McLeod’s critical account of Blondie’s rise also doubles as an alternative history of 1970s American popular music. It challenges the conventional wisdom that dismissed disco as fluffy (and implicitly feminine) prefab schlock, while at the same time recuperating punk’s much less hip bubblegum influences.
A bit about the author: Kembrew McLeod is a writer, filmmaker and Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He has published and produced several books and documentaries about music, popular culture and copyright law—including Pranksters and Freedom of Expression®, which received the American Library Association’s Oboler book award. Copyright Criminals aired on PBS’s Emmy Award-winning documentary series Independent Lens, and McLeod’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, Slate, Salon, SPIN and Rolling Stone.
You can find Kembrew here and on twitter here.